In a previous post (Take the pay cheque and shut up) I talked about the need to stop getting worked up about first-world problems. About a year ago, I read the book A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini as well as his other book, the Kite Runner. As part of my own desire to make a small difference to the world, I immediately found a Swedish group who work in Afghanistan (Svenska Afghanistankommittén | Swedish Committee for Afghanistan) and started sponsoring their work.
As it always happens with my brain, this nugget of a thought went on a tangent. While I was thinking about how Khaled wrote such an insightful book about women, which inspired me to join Svenska Afghanistankommittén, I was simultaneously watching an old episode of Alias with Jennifer Garner. This led to the next thought. What women, instead of men, inspire me? I made a quick list and realized that many of my heroines are kick-ass movie or TV show women who starred in films within the martial arts genre. It comes from an honest place, I love movies and I did Aikido for a long time. For example, Uma Thurman in Kill Bill I, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Eliza Dushku [I have a girl crush on Faith...] in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. And although the China O’Brien movies were just plain awful, I also used to love watching Cynthia Rothrock back in the early days of my martial arts training. So this thought led to me to the next thought…who in real life has inspired me, or inspires me now? Again, my mind immediately settled on some women in entertainment: Katherine Hepburn, Susan Sarandon, and Meryl Streep.
Now, before anyone gets their knickers in a twist because I have not (today) listed any amazing female writers, musicians, artists, scientists, politicians, philosophers, muses, and other equally fascinating women that have graced our planet, this post is meant to be about Super Heroines, instead of Super Heroes. I therefore allow myself the luxury of focusing on women in film and TV, although it is also the strong personalities that draw me to these women.
Katherine, Susan and Meryl have all played strong female roles. The same applies to the actresses who played kick-ass girls. I am pretty sure they all worked their buttocks off to make the martial arts as realistic as possible, but in general it is the actor’s life outside of their art and their activities that inspire me the most. For example, Angelina and her humanitarian work, Susan for her political activism, Meryl for being the spokesperson for the National Women’s History Museum, and Eliza for her work helping the survivors of war (including former child soldiers) in Northern Uganda. These are only a couple of examples because I have to get back to work.
Happy new year to everyone. Start it off with the only resolution that counts. Think about women (or men!) who inspire you, real or imagined. Then resolve to make the world better.