I have a love for history and science, and with that, I’ve come to hear about and admire many influential women from eras past who have been ladies of elegance and grace, but also strong women of intellect, courage and virtue. Through studying many influential women, many have proven that being a lady and embracing more traditional femininity is not mutually exclusive with pursuing high-powered fulfilling careers, and having many unique and fascinating life experiences. Even though one cannot deny that the world was not as open to women as it is today, many have broken down the boundaries holding them back, and keeping their womanhood and lady like virtues. Women who inspire me, such as Abigail Adams, who while a devoted and loyal housewife to her husband through his long absences pursuing his career in politics, was also highly intellectual and was an equal in her marriage and sought after for advice, and even debates with her husband John Adams! Or think of women such as Gertrude Bell, who played a very influential role in the Middle East helping stabilize Iraq after WWI and traveled to the Middle East in her youth and developed a love for the language and culture and even worked with T. E. Lawrence, or Josephine Baker, who worked in public health fighting disease in the New York Slums at the turn of the century, or countless other women such as Marie Curie, Margaret Mead, etc… in science.
All of these historical women have contributed much in their respective fields and inspired many young girls today, but none had to be the vulgar radical feminist to achieve any of their great works! Even though many in the feminist movement will cling to these women as an excuse to further their own radical agenda, the fact is, all of them were ladies, and acted as ladies. They did not need to march down the street with “pussy hats”, dress provocatively to feel liberated, wear pants and act like men to prove that they’re equal to a man, and have many of their male colleagues respect them. Yes, these women did have to overcome a lot of discriminatory obstacles to achieve the prominence and distinction they did, but they earned it through the merit of their work, and determination, not by resenting men and throwing off their womanhood! They could be both a feminine woman, and a woman of intellect. I am personally inspired by many of these women and the great achievements of their lives, but I also want to make another point too.
We as women, should not just depend on being inspired by women alone to aspire to greatness. It is uplifting to hear of other women of great prominence, but let’s go beyond the narrow view that we as women, can only be truly inspired by women. The PC liberals, who purport to want everyone to be looked upon fairly and equally, hypocritically assert that one only can really look at their own kind for inspiration. Their argument being that, for example, young girls who don’t see women historical figures won’t believe they can achieve greatness too, or that a black child only seeing white people in history will feel inadequate and not “reach for the stars” too. They also purport that we need to import more historical figures to “replace” the white men, or fill some enlightenment quota for social justice. This is flawed, however. Are we really so narrow minded to only feel that people like you, in your own tribe so to speak, can inspire you? That just because someone who made inspirational achievements in their life isn’t your same gender, or race or anything else, their achievements are somehow lessened, or only inspirational for their own group? I mean, come on! When I look at what makes a person inspirational to me, I look first and foremost at what they actually did not who they are superficially, like white or black, man or woman etc…
Yes, women and minority historical figures are unique in that they did have more obstacles, but you can equally be inspired by a white man if you look at what they did, not who they are on the outside. In a truly enlightened world, a woman can be just as inspired and admire a man’s achievements equally and feel like she can also strive for greatness like him as well, or a black person be inspired by a white person’s achievements, not just write them off on account of them not being like you. I thought that’s what equality is, judging people based on their actions, not their looks or things they can’t control, like gender or race. Writing someone off as inconsequential, or not a role model for you simply because of those factors is discrimination just as much as barring those people from the past from achieving what they did based on race or gender. You don’t need to have a person look like you to be able to appreciate and be inspired by what they did to further humanity. Minorities don’t need only minority role models, and women can admire a man just as much as a woman for greatness. When I judge who inspires me, I look at their achievements, man or woman, regardless of race or nationality. Sure, a person can overcome more odds than others and be inspirational for that too, but if you’re there to be inspired by the achievements they made in their field, judge the achievements they made in their field, not in their race or gender! Can we all just be inspired by whoever is worthy of our inspiration? I’m inspired by women like Abigail Adams, and Gertrude Bell, but also by men like Charles Darwin, and T. E. Lawrence. Writing off white men in history solely because of race and gender is equally as bigoted as writing off women and minorities in history because of their race and gender. Let’s not overthink the issue. Inspiration, like fair treatment for all, should know no bounds… Who inspires you?