I'm just going to preface this by saying one thing:
I have never been one of those, "I can't be friends with girls...all of my friends are guys." kind of girls. The people in my life that I admire the most. The ones I look up to. The ones I spill all of my weird and crazy ideas and thoughts on...all of them are women.
I think it's important for women to develop relationships with one another.
There is a such a support system that can be formed between women, and I think this realization was the inspiration for this list.
Actually, the main reason I decided to write this list is because I'm tired of seeing "inspirational" Marilyn Monroe quotes plastered all over the place. Don't get me wrong, Marilyn was an icon. She was gorgeous. She was......lucky in her acting endeavors (because let's face it...she was a terrible actress), but she was beautiful and she was famous and she was mysterious and now... we have a generation of ill informed young women who are looking to her as a role model. Gag me with a fucking spoon.
Ladies, young ladies, who are reading this...Marilyn Monroe is a Hollywood icon, but the persona, and all that "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" bullshit.
I hate to break it to you girls, but it was all an act.
My challenge to the young women of our world is this:
Look for women who changed the world through their actions. Actions that were guided by nothing except their love for humanity. Look at our vast history, research women of our past and for the love of everything good in the world...Find inspiration. In case you don't know where to begin. I will enlighten you with my Top Five Badass Women Of The World list.
Also, if you like Marilyn Monroe and you have all of her movies and you dress up as her for Halloween and you are just offended and aghast that I've said what I've said.
You probably need this list more than anyone, and I'm sorry for your poor decisions you've made in the past regarding female role-models/icons...but I'm not wrong about this. Trust me.
#5 - Anne Frank
When I think of iconic women...women I look to for inspiration...I think of this young lady:
Not going into her rather boring back history...I will cut to the chase.
Anne and her family were forced into hiding when the Nazi's overtook Holland in 1940.
To escape being arrested by the Nazi's, Anne Frank, her family and another family (The Van Pels) hid in an attic in the middle of Amsterdam in 1942.
Obviously, there was very little for her to do, thus, she wrote. She documented her time spent in the attic with her family. Although, things were difficult (Shit...she was hiding in a fucking attic with eight other people for 2 years) she wrote about how thankful she felt to be alive. She wrote about keeping a positive attitude in such weary times:
"I long to ride a bike, dance, whistle, look at the world, feel young and know that I'm free, and yet I can't let it show. Just imagine what would happen if all eight of us were to feel sorry for ourselves or walk around with the discontent clearly visible on our faces. Where would that get us?"
(December 24, 1943) - Anne Frank
If that doesn't make you look at your life, and be content with all of the good fortune you have...then you need a lobotomy, or to live locked up in an attic for a few years and then sent to a concentration camp.
Anyway, eventually the Nazi's recieved a tip that helped them find the two families. Anne, her family and her friends were put on the last train to Auschwitz. Anne died in the concentration camp.
Damn you, Nazi assholes!
Anne contracted Typhoid fever, and died one month before the camps were liberated. Her father was the only one to survive the camps.
He returned to the attic where they spent two years of their lives, and found his lovely daughter's journal.
Because of Anne's eternal sunshine in a dimly lit world...she is badass woman number 5.
#4 - Katharine Hepburn
Now...Ms. Hepburn makes this list because she was a lot like me. She had her own opinions, she said them and she really didn't give a rat's ass what other people thought about her.
Katharine's mother was a suffragette, instilling virtues of independence and helped to cultivate Katharine's free spirit.
As a young girl, Katharine delighted in sports. She embraced her beauty and femininity, but also helped pave the wave for young women of her time. The thing I like most about Katharine Hepburn is, while she was a very succesful movie star...her career began on stage.
Ms. Hepburn had a lowly beginning and (without the help of green room couches) carved a name for herself in the film world and our history.
Now, I'm not going to sit here and blow smoke up your ass and say that every, single film she did was wonderful...because it wasn't.
However, she is a four time Oscar winning actress, and she didn't preen and pout for the press. She kept her two lives very separate.
For not being a sell-out.
For being a true pursuer of women's rights.
For reminding me that it's okay to say things and do things that not everyone will agree with, but being more enriched for doing them.
For saying things like this:
"Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don't do that by sitting around wondering about yourself."
- Katharine Hepburn
Ms. Hepburn earns the position of Badass Woman number 4.
#3 - Mother Teresa
To me, there is nothing more beautiful in this world than a woman who will give up all selfish endeavors for the sole purpose of enriching the lives of others.
Now, I don't know much about Mother Teresa's early life, but it's a shining example that you don't have to know about, or understand where people come from for them to make a difference in the lives of others.
When she was 18, she felt the calling to serve her life as a Nun. She packed up her shit, moved to Ireland and recieved Nun-training. (I'm sure there is a formal word for this process, but that is a minor detail)
After a few months in Ireland, she traveled to India and took the sacred vows of Nun-hood. In her early years, Mother Teresa was a teacher, which is another reason she made the badass list. Not only was she a teacher, she was a teacher in the ghettos of India. That's some scary ass shit. Surviving that is enough to put her on my list of badass women.
As her life continued, "Momma T" felt a great need to help the less fortunate. Not just in her immediate area, but all around the world. She started a new order called, "The Missionaries of Charity". The goal of this charity was to help the people that the world overlooked, or were too afraid to help. Mother Teresa strolled into indigenous villages in Africa that were crippled with AIDS outbreaks like a boss. Images that we see on the internet, television and magazines of children who haven't a hope in the world; Images that make us cringe, feel empathy and then look away as quickly as possible... Mother Teresa lived that shit. She made it her life's work; to help those people.
It was all she knew, and it was all she did. I leave you with this beautiful quote:
"It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving."
- Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa, a living saint and a total badass woman.
#2 - Marie Curie
A list like this wouldn't be complete without Marie Curie. Marie Curie was born into a poor family in Poland. Despite the fact that her family was poor, she and her siblings were all well spoken and well educated. In a time when women were supposed to yield an interest in domestic subjects, music and literature; Marie Curie said, "F that! I want to learn science things!"
Well, she probably didn't say it like that, but she might have...you never know.
Marie packed up her shit, (what is it about these amazing women and their willingness to just pick up and move?) moved to Paris and worked as a governess. Given her families poor finances, she had to work her way through college. Not only was she playing nurse-maid and educator to priviledged snot nose children, and working her way through school...SHE HAD TO LEARN HOW TO SPEAK FRENCH. People, this was before the day of Rosetta Stone.
Anyway, since she was pretty busy with school, and being an all around badass woman...she didn't have time to date. She threw herself into her studies, and after recieving a Physics degree and graduating at the top of her class. Guess what?! This woman decides to go for another degree in Mathematics. Now, today...that sounds like small potatoes, but you have to remember, this was back in the 1880's. Women were practically condemned to lead the lives handed to them by the Patriarchal arrangement of things. Polish women were pretty much given zero opportunity to do anything with their lives...unless you're a badass, like Marie Curie.
Anyway, after getting her second degree she went to work in a laboratory where, after all of her years of abstaining from love in lieu of her education, a chemist, named Pierre, fell hopelessly in love with her. Now, like most heroic "I don't need a man to better my own life" women, she refused his advances. Apparently, Pierre took on the whole "No means, yes" way of thinking, and like Pepe Le Pew and the feral cat he chased all over the place... he eventually won her over.
They lived their lives working together, and would become inseperable until poor Pierre's untimely death.
Marie, now in the glow of love, delved into physics and discovered two new elements: Polonium (which she named after her home country...awww, how nostalgic) and Radium.
Marie pioneered the use of radium to eridicate diseased cells inside of bodies. She was, in fact, such a badass that she didn't even patent her discovery to make money on it!
Claiming that it was too valuable to not be available to those who needed it.
So, here she is, going along wonderfully; discovering new elements, falling in love, popping out babies...just having a grand time. Like most cases, when things are going swimmingly well, catastrophe strikes.; her husband was killed in a road accident, leaving her to man the laboratory by herself and raise her children alone.
Of course, like any other woman in a male dominated society she suffered ridicule and spite. In a way to give her male counterparts the proverbial stiff middle finger, she began dedicating her time at the beginning of the first World War to ensure that X-ray machines were installed in hospitals. By the end of the war, over a million male soldiers had been examined and helped by her x-ray machines.
At the end of her life, Marie died of cancer caused by a side effect of her life's work. Not only did she discover elements, bust through the door of education for women in her home country, set educational standards for women of her time, raise two children alone and publish a book... she died at the hands of her life's work, and it's because of this (and so many other reasons), that Marie Curie is my badass woman number 2.
Now, I know what you're wondering, "Who could possibly be more badass than Marie Curie?!"
#1 - Joan of Arc
Now, this is a badass woman.
This was a woman who was led by her religious convictions until she was burned at the stake at the age of 19. It is documented that Joan began hearing the voice of God at an early age. (12, I think.)
During Joan's childhood, her country was a divided one. King Henry V seized this opportunity, rode in, invaded the shit out of France and deafeated the Royal Army.
When Joan was 17 years old, she approached the French leader, Charles de Ponthieu, who frankly, didn't quite have his shit all together.
He was overwhelmed by her conviction, her eloquence and her bravery. So he did what any logical thinking national leader would do...he gave Joan her own fucking army!
Not only did she get some of France's shit back...she did it in a year. The French gave her Royal status...and boom! Viva La France! The French had an insurgence of national pride.
Joan was a badass woman, but as it was in those days, anytime a woman was good at something the men hymhawed and harrumphed until it was declared that she must be practicing witchcraft.
What a bunch of assholes!
Before Joan of Arc was the leader of her badass,victorious army, she was a village peasant...thus, the clergy members leading her trial were dumb enough to make it open to the public. She was asked:
"Do you know if you are in the grace of God?"
Answer: "If I am not, may God place me there; if I am, may God so keep me. I should be the saddest in all the world if I knew that I were not in the grace of God. But if I were in a state of sin, do you think the Voice would come to me? " - Joan of Arc
Thus, the clergy realized she was smarter than the average bear, and closed her trial to the public. Her trial was continued behind closed doors, and as expected, she was declared a witch and burned at the stake. With her heroic hands tied, her bold body bound and her righteous mouth gagged...this woman, who spoke with such conviction and changed the fate of her country, was lit on fire by a bunch of chauvinistic, asshole clergy men. Welcome to the history of womanhood! (and you think you've got it bad.)
It is documented that somewhere in the range of 10,000 people were present at her execution in support of the life she lived and the changes she made for her country. Her ashes were scattered in The Siene river. Had Joan been less sure of her convictions, and lied at her trial, she would have lived to see the day (26 years later) when an inquest was held, she was declared innocent and Joan of Arc was presented with martyr status. (Isn't it always the way of it when you put a man in charge of things...too little, too late)
She is still the patron Saint of France.
Joan of Arc...now that, was a badass woman.
The most Badass of all.