Feminist Role Models


Thinking of feminist role models was actually really challenging, but for all the right reasons. I'm surrounded by women who constantly inspire me, and really, all women are my role models, because lets be honest, we face a lot of shit. However, the women who inspire me the most are the ones that have gone above and beyond to speak out, often at their own expense, or who completely break the stereotype of acceptability for whatever reason. Whilst I could have written an extensive list of different women, I've listed 4 women who represent a different kind of inspiration to me.

Emma Watson- the one I've grown up with
An unsurprising choice in light of her UN speech introducing the heforshe campaign, but I've always taken a likening to Emma since being compared to her as a child (I think it was the eyebrows). She's an advocate for education which I really love as someone who wholeheartedly believes that knowledge equates to power. She stood up for Hermione's character stating how she admired that throughout Harry Potter, she never dumbed herself down as a female. Whilst she's arguably a little 'up there' to relate to, she has utilised her position in a positive way and I enjoy having someone similar in age who is interested in equality to follow.

Lara Croft- the one that shaped me as a child
Perhaps an odd (and maybe controversial) choice but one I've grown up aspiring to be like. I like how she's sporty and sexy. I grew up loving football and my favorite thing to do was play outside with all the boys. I was known as the "tomboy"; the one "who was actually good at guy things". When I wasn't outside playing football and being mocked for not playing with Polly Pockets and Barbies, there was something refreshing about playing as a woman on Tomb Raider. Lara Croft was responsible for my combat trousers but also the idea that in my head it was okay to be good and enjoy what boys did. I could be, dare I say it, attractive and sporty, and being good at football made me no less of a girl. Since becoming more interested in how inequality can affect children, I've found A Mighty Girl- a website where you can buy toys for 'smart, confident and courageous girls'- awesome! 

Cynthia Enloe- the one that has influenced me as a scholar
Cynthia is a feminist writer in International Relations who first raised feminism as a big issue to me in my field of research, and someone who made me realise why had feminism only been addressed in my degree at postgraduate level when it is such a developed area of research? Of course we all know inequality exists, but Cynthia made me aware of the inequality within my own research field of international security on a much bigger scale, and in ways I had never thought of. Her studies are really interesting- from a focus on different cultures re-instilling their subjugation to the invisibility of women to how bodies such as the military and the UN reinstill inequality through male dominance. She's also written a lot about ideas of masculinity and femininity- being judged as feminine based on a judgement of an issue or that an individual's own relationship to masculinity shapes what issues are important to them. She has made me realise just how important gender is within my own research discipline and how evolving such research is so important when I eventually pursue my PhD.

My Grandma- the one that reminds me I can when i feel i can't
A personal choice but one who defies the limitations expected of her as a female growing up. She did above and beyond what many thought impossible and ludicrous with the attitude of "can do". Excelling throughout school academically and in sports (and therefore has always been very supportive of me playing football), she worked for the secret services throughout WW2 surrounded by men who were paid significantly more due to their sex, using the Enigma machines that cracked German codes. However, working for the Government she subsequently got to travel the world after the war (I think my wanderlust can be partly blamed on her!) and she gained a lifetime of stories and experiences. She then went on to driving a car when it was thought quite frankly, ridiculous, and then became a teacher. She demonstrated a zest for life regardless of the limitations put on her.  

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Who are your feminist role models?

7 comments

  1. I love that you included Lara Croft. I still see comments/articles these days on whether liking traditionally "girly" or "feminine" things is compatible with being a feminist/modern woman, and it's crazy. I'm also interested in how inequality affects children - I always considered myself lucky that I had an older brother and an older sister, so our toys were a mix of Barbies, My Little Ponies, dinosaurs, action figures, etc. A Mighty Girl sounds awesome!

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    1. Thanks Elle! It's crazy there's still articles like that floating around. I was lucky too in that many of my toys were passed down from friends of the family so i got a good mix as well. Lego was one of my favorites. A Mighty Girl really is amazing!

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  2. This is such a incredibly written post, you're giving out such a beautiful message.
    I think my feminist role models would be Emma Watson - like yourself, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page.
    I can confirm that you do look like Emma Watson. Take it and run with it.

    Other Infinities

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    1. Thanks Grace for your kind words! I really like Ellen Page too, she's amazing :)

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  3. I love this! Definitely relate to Lara haha! xx

    www.roseandmuse.com
    www.roseandmuse.com

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  4. Brilliant post! Emma Watson is definitely one of mine as well. I'd say my biggest one is my oldest sister though, as she was the one who really introduced the rest of the family to feminism, and I know she feels so passionately about it.

    xx Mimmi, Muted Mornings

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