Great Hera!

An ode to real-life su­per­heroines

Augustman - - Minority Report -

IT’S IN­TER­NA­TIONAL WOMEN’S DAY this month, so I am tak­ing the op­por­tu­nity to recog­nise two women who have made a tremen­dous im­pact on my life. The first is Rosa Parks. I came across the Amer­i­can civil rights ac­tivist when I was re­search­ing for a writ­ten as­sign­ment back when I was in school.

It sounds in­cred­i­bly chau­vin­is­tic, but as a teenager who had grown up in a pa­tri­ar­chal so­ci­ety, I was blown away that a woman could be so in­flu­en­tial. At that point, per­haps thanks in part to the me­dia, I saw men in po­si­tions of power ev­ery­where I looked. Most politi­cians were male. Most movie leads were male. Heck, even most re­li­gious lead­ers were male.

So when I read about how Parks would rather be ar­rested than be forced to give up her seat to a white pas­sen­ger in a bus in Mont­gomery, Alabama, I went on to re­search other in­cred­i­ble women who didn’t take s*** from any­one.

I read about Amelia Earhart, the badass who flew solo across the At­lantic in 1932. I read about Bil­lie Jean King, the ten­nis ace who beat Bobby Riggs in the “Bat­tle of the Sexes” af­ter he taunted fe­male ten­nis play­ers. I read about Be­nazir Bhutto, the first fe­male prime min­is­ter of a Mus­lim na­tion who helped move Pak­istan from a dic­ta­tor­ship to a democ­racy.

I was al­ways taught to re­spect the fairer sex, but these sto­ries in­stilled a deeper sense of ad­mi­ra­tion in me. It made me be­lieve that women are just as ca­pa­ble as men, and it all started with Rosa Parks.

She once said, “I have learnt over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this di­min­ishes fear; know­ing what must be done does away with fear.” It re­mains one of the best pieces of ad­vice I have read.

The sec­ond woman is my own mother. To me she is an in­cred­i­ble hu­man be­ing. She’s out of the house by 6am to work at a full-time job, and still comes home to pre­pare din­ner ev­ery day. She barely gets time to her­self and yet, she never so much as mut­ters a word of com­plaint.

When I was about nine, my mum taught me a life les­son that will for­ever be etched in my mind. It was my school’s an­nual sports day and in typ­i­cal fash­ion, she was there to cheer me on. I was pretty con­fi­dent that I’d do well in my event so I wasn’t sur­prised when I was in the lead close to the fin­ish line. But me­tres from glory I tripped over my own feet and crum­pled on the track. Half-sob­bing from the pain and em­bar­rass­ment, I crossed the fin­ish line with my head hung low, de­feated. My mum came over to check on me but I just walked off to the grand­stand with­out say­ing a thing. Later on, af­ter a few other events had taken place, she came back to me, grabbed me by the hand, and said “fol­low me”. Be­fore I could ob­ject, she had dragged me back on the track for a par­ent-son three­legged race.

I was still protest­ing when the air-horn went off, but she had al­ready lifted me and started rac­ing to­wards the fin­ish line. To my sur­prise we came in third, and I couldn’t help but have a smile plas­tered across my face as I walked up to re­ceive the tro­phy.

That day I learnt my mother knew just what I needed. She wasn’t go­ing to let my own moan­ing get in the way of it. So to all the women out there, know that you are just as pow­er­ful as men, if not more.

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