Here’s something I’m really passionate about. Raising strong kids, giving them strong names, fostering strong values, etc. Face it, the world is a rough place, and you’re going to need to be strong to survive.
Though I’m not always one to like to play the victim, I can tell you from personal experience that (sometimes) the world is going to be about .3% harder on you if you’re a girl.
It’s a pretty wide spread stereotype that women are weak, and flighty, and blah blah bullshit bullshit bullshit…
That right there is why I contribute most of my tenacity and hard ass demeanor to the fact that my parents raised me on stories of bad ass women. I contribute the rest of it to my abrasive personality and slightly obnoxious temper.
Even at the ripe old age of 3, I distinctly remember my ideal of a princess was more like the kind you might read about in Tolkien versus a Disney Movie. (That being said, I’m still in love with the story of Sleeping Beauty. I’m not sorry.)
All of this rambling is leading up to the fact that I want to share with you, in no particular order, the 5 women that inspire me to kick life’s ass everyday.
Also, these are the tales that I’ll one day raise my daughter on (you know, if I ever have one)…
- Audrey Hepburn
Everyone knows her as beautiful and talented. What is often skimmed over is her bad-assery that began at a very young age. It is said that as a young woman she worked with the Dutch resistance during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Driven by her own suffering during the famine that ensued as a result of the occupation, Audrey later devoted her life to humanitarian relief efforts. Because of her tireless work with UNICEF, Audrey would all in all be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. She left behind a legacy of not only grace and talent, but of brazen tenacity and self sacrifice.
2. Eowyn of Rohan
Orphaned at the age of 7 when her father was killed fighting Orcs, and her mother inevitably died of a broken heart, it is written that she always longed to go to battle and fight for her people. Though pulled towards the war by her heart strings, she dutifully stayed behind to care for her sick and mind-warped uncle, and lead her people. That is, until the Battle of Pelennor Fields, when she hid her female identity, donned some armor, and rode in to a sea of Orcs accompanied by a Hobbit. After witnessing her uncle Theoden injured by the Witch-King of Angmar, she confronts him with the promise that if her beloved uncle goes down, the Witch-King is going with him. The Witch-King boasts of an old prophecy promising that he would not fall “by the hand of a man”. To which Eowyn replies by ripping off her helmet and uttering the infamous words, “But no living man I am! You look upon a woman.”. She then proceeds to slay the Witch-King with a tad bit of help from her trusty Hobbit sidekick. That’s one kick ass princess.
3. Clara Barton
Finding her calling early in life while tending to her brother after an accident, Clara Barton began her relief work by distributing needed items to the Union army during the Civil War. But not one to be left on the sidelines, Clara quickly set her sights on being an independent nurse in the midst of combat. Her blatant disregard for her own safety earned Clara the nickname “Angel of the Battlefield”. Once the war had ended, she devoted her time to locating and reuniting missing soldiers and their families. Later traveling to Europe to serve on battle fields abroad with the International Red Cross, Clara soon returned to the US and began the American Red Cross. She spent the remainder of her life in disaster relief work and speaking about her experiences in battle.
4. Joan of Arc
Born to poor farmers in France during the Hundred Years War, Joan’s start to life was a humble one. But as she grew, life would take a sharp turn out in to left field. After many divine visions of St. Catherine and St. Michael the Archangel, himself, Joan believed she was instructed to seek counsel with the King of France and offer her services in ridding the nation of the British Army. After grueling interrogations and eventually bypassing the fact that everyone thought she was out of her damn mind, King Charles VII told her to go for it. (Though it was pretty historically documented that he, too, thought she was insane). After a series of battles, during one of which Joan was shot in the shoulder, French troops managed to take control of English fortifications in Orleans under Joan’s command. This allowed for Charles to take the throne and be crowned. Barely a year later she was captured, and accused of heresy by both the English and French. Her trials started out public, but were later made private as she inevitably made a fool of her accusers. After a long imprisonment in a military prison (during which she was threatened with torture), she was inevitably found guilty of heresy, and of all things, dressing like a man. Joan was publicly burnt at the stake at the age of 19. Her final request being that they hold the crucifix higher so that she could see it over the flames. She was later cleared of her charges, and canonized a Saint by the Catholic Church. She’s now know as the Patroness Saint of France and soldiers.
5. Malala Yousafzai
Malala is know best for metaphorically telling the Taliban to kiss her ass. As young girl she became an advocate for female education in Pakistan. Malala responded to the attacks by the Taliban on girls schools by slumping quietly in to a dark corner. Just kidding, actually she made a public speech entitled “How Dare the Taliban Take Away my Basic Right to Education”, and began blogging for the BBC to speak out against Taliban rule. This earned her an execution order, and she was subsequently shot in the head by a Taliban gunman while riding a bus home from school. Much to the Taliban’s dismay, she survived (with the help of a craniotomy and medically induced coma). This tussle with death made her only more passionate and loud about her cause. She later went on to open a school for Syrian Refugee girls, and continues her lobbying for the sake of education, despite the constant threats issued by the Taliban.
So now I ask you to join me in raising your metaphorical glasses to these 5 kick ass women.
Comment below with your stories of inspirational bad asses, and remember to subscribe for more midnight blabbering brought to you by me and my insomnia.
Want more completely uneducated parenting advice? Check out How I’m Raising My Son To Not Inherit My Anxiety