As a kid, I wanted to be the Super Hero, not the girl who got caught falling from a building. I wanted muscles and fight scenes and to believe I had the strength and the power to save the world. I ran around the yard with a towel pinned to my shoulders, pretending to fly, just like my brother. I wrestled with the boys. I rode bikes. I grass stained and ripped my tights every week after Sunday School. I wanted to be fast and strong and go on the adventures. I LOVED LOVED LOVED the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. LOVED. And I was sad that I could never be Superman. My brother could, but I couldn't. And I was really sad when there were enough Ninja Turtles for each of the boys to play but my friend Jacque and I had to both be April.
Fast forward to 2014 and that feisty little girl is dancing happy dances on the reg, leaving theaters going, "I want to be Katniss!" or "I want to be Tris!" Like so many, I rejoiced when it was love between two sisters that could bring healing at the end of Frozen and I rejoice every time I watch Orphan Black and Tatiana Maslany plays a plethora of incredibly interesting, complex, smart, tough women (and let's not forget the other smart, tough women in that show: Maria Doyle Kennedy, Evelyne Brochu, Inga Cadranel).
This is important to me. The majority of media created still has a much larger assortment of men on screen than of women. So often there are a host of male characters filling in a range of body types and ages, playing all sorts of jobs, attitudes, education levels and walks of life, while there regularly is one main female character who is hopefully really awesome. Then we get her cute/quirky best friend and a wise older woman who graces us for one, perhaps two scenes.
We're telling ourselves, our children, our leaders, over and over again, that there are lots of options of how to be a man, of what you can do with your life as a man or how you can dress/look as a man but as a woman you need to be either sexy or funny (generally be ready to take your clothes off) and then not know what to do with your life until you are a wise grandmother.
This is a gross over generalization, I know. But it's hard not to let those thoughts seep into one's brain after watching themes play out over and over again. Even as a tough girl, it's sometimes hard to believe I can be strong, to believe I can be feisty and dynamic and have messy hair sometimes. So THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to the amazing men and women who are writing/financing/producing/playing/directing/watching/affirming strong, inspiring heroines these days. You guys are all awesome.
And of course, to Zack and Demetrius, who've given me chances to play tough girls on the big screen, you are both heroes of mine.