mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS, AT THE intersection OF triumph & tragedy

Women Heroes & Role Models

For some reason I'm stuck on the subject of Women's Adventures. Maybe because I'm drawing such a blank. Tuesday I was thinking about movies, but now I'm pondering the shortage of female heroes altogether.

My formula: There is something that has to be done, involving a huge amount of personal risk. But the woman needs to battle her personal demons before she can accomplish the task at hand. In other words, she overcomes X, to accomplish Y. Tragic and comic variations can apply.

The textbook list. Women have our mothers and grandmothers. The Blessed Virgin. Joan of Arc. Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan. Susan B Anthony. Florence Nightingale. Mother Teresa. Amelia Earhart. Link.

Google gives me a list from 1999 — Ms Foundation Female Role Models. I'd have to add Oprah Winfrey.

Rootsweb has lists of notable female ancestors in various categories. Lots of unknowns, probably worth exploring.

Joseph Campbell Foundation has a forum thread on whether the woman's "hero journey" is different from a man's.

I enjoyed the book "Great Dames" by Marie Brenner and went through a phase of buying it for all my women friends. The author explores such interesting women as Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Pamela Harriman. From Publishers Weekly: "What these women have in common, Brenner argues, is an ability to maintain a public life, to guard the image they created no matter what suffering might have been borne in silence."

I don't know where I'm going with this.


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