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no female role models or heroines!

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:29 am
by KyleM
I have recently realized that while I certainly can list some women I admire for their talents, I don't actually have any deep feelings for female role models. For instance, I can point to Sheryl Crow because she writes, sings, plays and produces her own music, and she's also looking great at over 40. I can list a bunch of women who have singing voices I love. But when it comes to deep admiration, I seem biased toward men. Johnny Depp is somebody I deeply admire because he lives his own life. I can point to Apolo Anton Ohno for his dedication and expertise in speed skating and the amazing job he's doing learning to dance (on TV, which I stumbled on accidentally)... and there are others, both famous and not. Is this because I am female and attraction to men is what I am accustomed and drawn to? Is the sexual zing factor big enough to outshadow all the women role models who must be out there for me? I am putting together a scrapbook of people and things that have captured my fancy over the last few years, and so far it's all guy related. Even the paintings and writings I like were done by men (except for Mary Oliver poems). Perhaps this is a reflection of the bias of culture as well... women being ignored in the history books and such. Is this bias true for any of you reading this?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:57 am
by Unity
Kyle, do tell me about your scrapbook and why you decided to make it? I'll give your question some thought, Ive never thought about it before.

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 9:04 am
by mango
Here's a wonderful female role model that I just read about this morning: ... _learner_2 What an inspirational story!

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 3:10 pm
by twisterintexas
I do not have those biases myself. Maybe you're looking in the wrong place? I honestly don't think anyone who makes a living in the entertainment industry can be considered a role model, except perhaps for those who are trying to "make it" in the entertainment industry themselves. Are you aspiring to be an entertainer/artist? I think that magazines, websites, etc. which chronicle celebrities' lives tend to cater towards female audiences. Hence, articles about men and their lives are more widely written. Also, the publishing/entertainment industry is dominated by men, so maybe there's skewed reporting just by default. For real inspiration, I look at women in history - those who document as well as those who helped to write it. I have two role models. One is Dr. Angie Debo, a historian from Oklahoma whose writings helped to make the discipline of Native American Studies. She overcame a lot of professional obstacles to persue her own path. Then there's Dorothea Lange, a photographer with the FSA who documented many of the migrants during the Great Plains' Dust Bowl period. I also look up to Patricia Nelson Limerick, one of the preeminent scholars of American West history. Helen Keller, Eleanore Roosevelt, Rose Wilder, Mother Jones, Maya Angelou, etc, just to name ladies whose names are more recongnizable. I also admire men in history - Frederick Douglass is my all-time hero.

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 4:20 pm
by MDG
Kyle, I just listened to an account of the acting life of Ingrid Bergman, on the Turner channel. It struck me that she gave women an excellent example of how to be a lady, while dealing with the questions of life. Yes, she was 'acting' and just reading scripts, but they gave her scripts that were believable, for her style. Still, her personal life was very difficult, in her day. She gave up the U.S.A., fame and fortune to follow and be with the man she raise children with him...although she was already married when she met him. When the standards changed, she eventually returned, and was acclaimed once more. I think her greatest achievment was not in 'acting', but in the beautiful way she depicted the true nature of accomplished, strong womanhood...forever tender and kind. I wish women today could see Ingrid's films. She showed us the best we can be. Perhaps the women of today, the ones that could be our heroes, are somewhat altered by the demands of, say, the entertainment industy...and perhaps by the world of 'business'. 'Image' is quite demanding. I read that both Bogie and Bacall were afflicted with the need to speak in a low voice. Bacall was never so beautiful, to me, in 'The Mirror has Many Faces'. It takes great guts to appear on camera as yourself, no longer so 'lovely'. Her lines called for her to admit that it was a great experience to have once been beautiful. Took my breath away, not only with the truth of it, but with the truth of Bacall's own feelings. Maybe that's what comes across, the truth of one's own life. Jane Goodall seems to have always appeared to be a quiet little mouse of a lady. Do you know what she is doing now? She is telling us 'Four Reasons for Hope' in a confusing world. If we read the life of Audrey Hepburn, we realize that when she took starving children in her arms, her tenderness and caring was very, very real. Audrey had been there, and she had been guided by her baroness mother to always put others first...herself second. Audrey was pure 'class'. There are many more, of course, but they may be getting ignored in this world of 'baring the breast' for attention. Men, too. I was once stunned by the magnetism I felt I saw in one 'celebrity', only to learn later that he bats women around. Sigh! What a waste! Great topic! Mahara

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 7:35 pm
by Tricia56
I admire Lisa Ling - she goes to some very dangerous places to do stories for National Geographic Exployer. Mother Teresa - gave her whole life to help others. I am sure there are tons of other female heros out there - in the past - males have gotten most of the attention. It is great that that is changing.

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:01 pm
by scottjs
Tricia, I agree. I love Lisa Ling!!! Her stories are great!! There are a lot of females I admire!!! Some are obscure, some are famous, some are liveing some are dead!!! My interest is flight/outer space!! Just a few names are Sally Ride, Christia McCullia(Female teacher died in space? a whole list of female astronauts. But also test pilots in the early years of flight!! I greatly admire Jackie Cochrin(Who started the WAC during World War 2). And of course Amelia Earhart!! I hope you can find some great women in your own interests!!! They are there, but more obscure then men in a lot of cases unfortunately!!!

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:17 pm
by KyleM
wow, lots of great replies and examples. I don't know some of the names mentioned, but a few of your answers reminded me that I tend to admire women who have gone against the grain and risked being themselves in a system that tells them not to be. Women with traits to admire, I can list plenty. Women I literally get excited about and actually might want to "be" - which is the criteria I am using for 'role model' - not many, if any. Urzula, I decided that rather than have little piles of quotes and photos and meaningful scraps laying around, I'd keep them in one place so I could go right to it and remember what has caused certain strong feelings in me. So, I gather art from the internet (photos of book covers, people, etc.) and print them out, then print my own poetry or prose in a fancy or cool font and combine everything to make creative layouts for each topic. Mango, your link reminded me that my mom, at age 78, is a true role model: she just got her college degree last year. And she is so busy with community projects - I want to be like her in my 70s. Twister, yes, to answer your question - I am a musician, writer and artist myself, so I guess I tend to admire those talents strongly. By role model I guess I mean somebody who perserveres and maximizes one's success, or who marches to their own beat and is successful despite pressures from the culture. I do admire many of the women you mentioned, too, but they don't make me say to myself "I want to be her" (even though I might want some of her qualities). Mahara, you make a good point - perhaps the women in entertainment are too forced into a certain mold and cannot stand out like the men. Same old sexist #%@! (I know who you are talking about, the celeb who thought it was ok to knock a woman around a bit - Mr. Connery, eh?) scott and Tricia, I will look up Lisa Ling. You reminded me, though, I do admire Annie Lebovitz, the photographer. Now, she is somebody I might want to be.

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:52 pm
by scottjs
Hi there Kyle. Annie should have also been on my list!!! I love her photos!!! I have also met a few women from the World War Two female Baseball Leagues! (The real life a League of their own--) So funny and inspiring!!! And there is a female explorer that really did a amazing thing. She lives in Austrila and walked from Alice to Ocean!! (Thats also the name of her book) If I recall correctly her name is Robin Davidson. It took about six months for her to walk across the Great Sandy Desert with her Camels and her dog. I like this topic.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 12:58 am
by MDG
Yup. Poor ol' Sean apparently is no better than he should be. I think I was sitting in one of his favorite restaurants in Nassau, when I learned that. Sure glad he didn't walk in when we were there...though we did see Ed Begley in another supper place. I've been impressed by Robert Kennedy, jr's environmental lawyering, and his great speaking ability. Ed is very supportive of Robert, while NOT grabbing the limelight. I am glad to see that. Dianna did some very fine things that I would be proud to emulate. Her way of befriending the little person, the sick and the hurt, was second none. There was something about her funeral that I will never forget. Millions came from behind the closed doors of their homes that day, to honor her. They knew. And Elizabeth II. As a very young woman she dedicated her life to the people, and she has kept her word, against incredible odds. She has found ways to do better than any of her predecessors, and with grace. I feel she is the greatest monarch that ever lived...for her ability to remain true to the people when all around her is crumbling. I saw her bow to Dianna's passing coffin, and she lowered the flag over Buckingham palace, the first time in history for the death of a commoner. Elizabeth defied all convention and advisors. She understood. There was once a story about the goodness of a man who kept a pocketful of peppermints to give to strangers who needed them. A poor man, he always gave more than what was expected to folks who needed a hand. Once he was very late for dinner with his warm and loving family. He had found some people with car trouble, and not only did he help organize the solution, he drove them home, miles out of his way. The lady who wrote the story, told many small tales of her father's goodness/thoughtfulness. He was her hero, beloved in her family, and a fine example for us all. I know a little lady who has always shared her food and her home with everyone who needed it, often without even thanks or a return gesture. This is just Anna's way. Silvana, another small lady, taught me the Taiwanese love of visitors, that a visitor honors you with their time and attention. In Taiwan, if you are standing on a corner by yourself, waiting for the light to change, others will come and stand beside you, just so you won't be alone. I would be proud to be like these fine people. M.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 6:30 am
by alwen
One of my female role models is Victorian travel writer Mary Kingsley, author of Travels in West Africa. After both of her parents died within six weeks of each other, she went to west Africa to finish research for her father's last book. I find her writing quirky, personal, and entertaining. After she travelled all over west Africa mostly unchaperoned, she wrote her book and then lectured on it. It has been reprinted, but if you can't find a copy, it's available at Project Gutenberg here: Travels in West Africa Here I quote her preface to give an idea of her writing style. (The long dense paragraphs are pretty characteristic of 1890's writing.)
TO THE READER.--What this book wants is not a simple Preface but an apology, and a very brilliant and convincing one at that. Recognising this fully, and feeling quite incompetent to write such a masterpiece, I have asked several literary friends to write one for me, but they have kindly but firmly declined, stating that it is impossible satisfactorily to apologise for my liberties with Lindley Murray and the Queen's English. I am therefore left to make a feeble apology for this book myself, and all I can personally say is that it would have been much worse than it is had it not been for Dr. Henry Guillemard, who has not edited it, or of course the whole affair would have been better, but who has most kindly gone through the proof sheets, lassoing prepositions which were straying outside their sentence stockade, taking my eye off the water cask and fixing it on the scenery where I meant it to be, saying firmly in pencil on margins "No you don't," when I was committing some more than usually heinous literary crime, and so on. In cases where his activities in these things may seem to the reader to have been wanting, I beg to state that they really were not. It is I who have declined to ascend to a higher level of lucidity and correctness of diction than I am fitted for. I cannot forbear from mentioning my gratitude to Mr. George Macmillan for his patience and kindness with me,--a mere jungle of information on West Africa. Whether you my reader will share my gratitude is, I fear, doubtful, for if it had not been for him I should never have attempted to write a book at all, and in order to excuse his having induced me to try I beg to state that I have written only on things that I know from personal experience and very careful observation. . . .
And I purely love this paragraph on mosquitoes:
I am escorted on to the broad verandah of Hatton and Cookson's factory, and I sit down under a lamp, prepared to contemplate, until dinner time, the wild beauty of the scene. This idea does not get carried out; in the twinkling of an eye I am stung all round the neck, and recognise there are lots too many mosquitoes and sandflies in the scenery to permit of contemplation of any kind. Never have I seen sandflies and mosquitoes in such appalling quantities. With a wild ping of joy the latter made for me, and I retired promptly into a dark corner of the verandah, swearing horribly, but internally, and fought them. Mr. Hudson, Agent-general, and Mr. Cockshut, Agent for the Ogowe, walk up and down the beach in front, doubtless talking cargo, apparently unconscious of mosquitoes; but by and by, while we are having dinner, they get their share. I behave exquisitely, and am quite lost in admiration of my own conduct, and busily deciding in my own mind whether I shall wear one of those plain ring haloes, or a solid plate one, a la Cimabue, when Mr. Hudson says in a voice full of reproach to Mr. Cockshut, "You have got mosquitoes here, Mr. Cockshut." Poor Mr. Cockshut doesn't deny it; he has got four on his forehead and his hands are sprinkled with them, but he says: "There are none at Njole," which we all feel is an absurdly lame excuse, for Njole is some ninety miles above Lembarene, where we now are. Mr. Hudson says this to him, tersely, and feeling he has utterly crushed Mr. Cockshut, turns on me, and utterly failing to recognise me as a suffering saint, says point blank and savagely, "You don't seem to feel these things, Miss Kingsley." Not feel them, indeed! Why, I could cry over them. Well! that's all the thanks one gets for trying not to be a nuisance in this world.
Okay, so maybe it takes a weird mind to fall over laughing over the plain ring halo or the solid plate one, but that's the kind of mind I'm stuck with!

PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 8:10 am
by KyleM
In Taiwan, if you are standing on a corner by yourself, waiting for the light to change, others will come and stand beside you, just so you won't be alone.
Mahara, that made me get teary eyed, almost! How sweet. Alwen, her writing does seem quite lively and amusing. I think I would go batty trying to get through the density, though - maybe some publisher could split up her paragraphs a bit for us lightweights! Scott, have you read much about Helen Thayer? Now there's an adventurous lady as well. In terms of inspiring sheer awe, I remember 21 year old sailor Ellen MacArthur, the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe singlehandedly - and the fastest woman to ever have done so. Yikes, I don't know what DNA can allow somebody to face the stormy open oceans like that alone. Just the thought of it sends terror through me. Much more than climbing or other extreme sports. ... 70,00.html

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 8:02 am
by victoria3
One woman I admire is Beryl Markham ... she grew up in Africa and had quite an adventurous life, was one of the first women to fly planes ... I love her beautifully written autobiography "West With the Night"

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 7:36 pm
by MDG
Oh, writers! Agatha, of course, and Barbara, also of course...people who touch the hearts of many by opening their own. One paragraph of Agatha's, a description of an old house as a person, made me sit bolt upright in bed, gasping. You know how you felt reading the great Babara Sher, especially the first time. And those who have beautiful ideas to share, like our good Tui, and many more. And those who take amazing pictures that tell stories, like some I know. ( ) :wink: And those who simply TELL wonderful stories. And librarians. I DO like librarians...they know everything! And they guide anyone who bothers to ask. Teachers and humanitarians, every one. M.

PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 1:28 pm
by SarahC
I'm a great admirer of the Victorian explorer and Buddhist writer, Alexandra David-Néel. The first European woman to make her way into Tibet (part of the time disguised as a man) and study in the monasteries. I think I can relate to that - doing something not only adventurous but forbidden - from always feeling held back by expectations of what's 'appropriate' for me - but then haven't women always had that problem! And Sacajawea, Lewis and Clark's Indian guide, without whom I'm guessing they never would have made it to the Pacific. Oh, and Kyle, here's an amazing lady who lived not a million miles away from where you are...Kitty Maynard: Usually gets more or less ignored as part of her husband's story, of course. (I have huge admiration for anyone who made it along the Oregon Trail...they were made of tough stuff!)