June 8, 2012 by Vicki
I really want to say thank you to everyone who has chosen to follow/like/comment on BoudicaBooks. I’m overjoyed that so many people enjoy reading and thinking about these books that are so close to my heart. Speaking of issues close to my heart, I have been wondering about what makes a female hero. I know the characters we have reviewed are heroic. Yet, I can’t help feeling that a female hero is different than a male hero. Maybe, because with male heroes, you don’t have to specify that they are males. You just state “hero” and everyone assumes that the person in question is male. The term “heroine” to me suggests the person whom the “hero” must rescue at the end of the story. I want to talk about the women who rescued themselves or others; the female heroes.
My personal female heroes are Queen Elizabeth 1, Emily Carr and my mom. Queen Elizabeth 1 showed exceptional intelligence surviving the rule of Queen Mary. Queen Mary feared thatElizabethwould betray her and seize the crown.Elizabeth, however, always managed to allay the Queen’s fear and survived one of the bloodiest times in English history. In order to maintain her own independence and power, Queen Elizabeth 1 married herself toEngland. As Queen,Elizabethbrought about an era of creativity, intelligence and beauty. In a time of extreme patriarchy, she led a devoted nation and eased them into a more modern era.
Emily Carr packed herself, her dogs and her art supplies into a canoe and went into deep Northern Ontario to pursue her art. She went against the wishes of her family and the dictates of society. She sought her own bliss and fulfillment instead of bending to the mores of the day. Her paintings helped define the Canadian artistic style away from the straight lines of the British. She also held a great regard for the Native populations with which she visited and tried to represent their lifestyle as fully as she could. I am aware that there are many issues surrounding those representations. I can’t help admiring her for trying to preserve a culture she saw crumbling around her.
My last personal female hero is my mom. She is one of the most independent and intelligent woman that I know. While all of her family lived in Hamilton, she raised me as a single mother in Sault Ste Marie. My mom had loved the North since she was a small child. Living in Northern Ontario had been her dream. Yet, to ensure that I would have a better education, my mom moved us back to Hamilton. She was determined that I would have a University education and she threw everything behind me to make sure that it became a reality. Now, I am grown and on my own, she continues to fight to live her life the way she wants with no apologies. She battles the assumptions of our society about older single females on a daily basis. She, however, will never back down from her right to her own life.
These women all share intelligence, determination, courage and the will to use their abilities to accomplish their goals. They all had to fight against society, in one form or another, in order to accomplish their goals. Finally, they all had a large impact on other people. Queen Elizabeth ruledEngland. Emily Carr helped changed the Canadian art scene. My mom gave me the education I needed to be able to live a critical life. I suppose my mom is not a large scale hero like Queen Elizabeth, but she will always be a hero to me. My definition of a female hero then is a woman who is intelligent, determined and courageous in the pursuit of her goals who will not back down in the face of society’s derision.
Who are your female heroes and why? They can be historic or fictional, family or friend. Who are the females who most impacted and guided your life? Who created your understanding of what it means to be a woman and a hero? I hope that all women have female heroes. We need heroes to inspire us and encourage us.