I have included several quotes from this essay because the subject and the story felt very real to me. I can’t help but wonder how many women of my era physically injured themselves trying to hide the blessing of physical strength (or height) in an effort to fit in, become invisible or simple live through a difficult period while hoping things would improve on the other side.
I found myself both impressed by the author’s ability to flaunt her physical strength and skill, regardless public opinion, and envious of the opportunities and community structure available to her, thereby making this flaunting possible (not easy, just possible).
I truly hope the trend toward strong female characters (both physically and intellectually) in movies and literature (of all kinds and for all ages) not only continues but helps provide the widespread cultural change that will allow more young women to be both strong and unafraid of being seen as strong.
“The power of mass media pales in comparison to the power of high school gossip.”
“As the story went, I fought him off, not because he was weak, but because I was a freak. I was stronger than I was supposed to be…I was not really a girl—but could never be elevated to the power of a guy—so I was somewhere in between: a genderless monster….It was that I sometimes walked down streets, or went to a movie alone. Occasionally, I stopped and helped someone who was stuck by the side of the road. I acted as if nothing had changed since we were all boys and girls playing four-square on the playground, all equal in power. I had not grown up. I had not learned how to be constantly, subconsciously, submissive and afraid. I was not a woman.”
“I was downright, happily, self-confidently crazy. I was a girl in high school, and although I did not assume I would always win, I knew I always had a fighting chance.”
–Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food