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Repost: When I grow up, I want to be just like… May 4, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in feminism, societal commentary.
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Note: In honor of Star Wars Day, I thought this was rather appropriate.  And of course, May the Fourth be with you!

I had several interviews for undergrad colleges. I remember all of them fairly well, especially the one I didn’t like. The reason I didn’t like this particular interview was because the guy interviewing me asked me who my hero was.
I hadn’t thought about it a lot, and the first plausible person I thought of was Stephen Hawking. (Einstein is a bit too cliche.) My reasoning was that he was a very smart man who was able to explain complicated topics to laymen. The guy actually argued with me and made me defend my reasons, although I suspected he didn’t believe them. (I won’t get into what he said, but it wasn’t very nice.)

Truth be told, however, I had decided long ago that my real hero in life is Princess Leia. I really don’t want to think about what this guy would have said if I had mentioned a fictional character from a sci-fi cult classic. It’s even a little odd to admit this now, when I’m a mom with kids.

I was two years old when Star Wars came out. Because this was before the age when everyone owned a VCR, it was a big deal to replay Star Wars on TV. When I was five, I saw it for the first time.

When Princess Leia picked up that blaster on the Death Star and started shooting storm troopers, she rocked my world. I don’t know if George Lucas meant to, but he turned me into a feminist. In my childhood, she was the one “role model” I had who was strong, kind, and sexy. She could look dignified as a princess but shoot at storm troupers. She could pretend to be a bounty hunter but feel love for Han. She could be dressed in rather revealing clothing and still choke Jabba. And no one ever tried to tell her that she couldn’t or shouldn’t be doing these things.

I realize that in my marginally boring real life, the things I’m doing aren’t nearly as dramatic or captivating. (I’m sure my kids wish they were…) It really helps, though to imagine that there could a woman to face challenges head on and to work toward achieving her goal. No, I’m not going to single-handedly eliminate the source of evil in the universe, but I can do my part to be part of the rebellion. I like having a role model who wasn’t afraid in the face of overwhelming opposition.

And as far as Stephen Hawking goes, I still admire anyone who can explain physics to a non-physicist and they can at least feel like they get it. Those sorts of skills are useful, too…but they aren’t quite as motivational as blasting away storm troupers.

Of course, now there’s Sam Carter, who can blow away space aliens, tops Stephen Hawking in physics, and whose hair always looks cooler than the funky hair buns ever did.

I hope that in my life, I can face up to challenges the way any of these folks do…fictional or not.

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Comments»

1. FrauTech - May 4, 2011

Neil Degrasse Tyson!

I never thought about Leia as a feminist hero but I’ll eat up anything remotely star wars related.

I’d have to really think about heroes though, that’s a toughy. Maybe my parents or something incredibly cheesey and mundane.

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2. I might be *gasp* a role model « FCIWYPSC - March 15, 2012

[…] those books when I was that age (of course, I could very well be wrong – although I had some unusual role models).  On the other hand, I figure that if there are bright girls out there who are eschewing math and […]

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