No one can make you feel inferior without your consent
I, like many others, think Eleanor Roosevelt is one of the premier inspirational women. She was an amazing lady, the first First Lady who actually did something with that role besides throw dinner parties. There are a plethora of things to admire about her, foremost amongst which is her appointment post-First Ladydom by Truman as the Chairperson on the United Nation’s Commission on Human Rights where she was instrumental in drafting the first ‘Magna Carta of human rights’ as she called it. This was a time, after her husband was dead, she could have rightly chosen to just retire quietly and go about her business but she didn’t.
Like all humans and public figures alike, she is complex, she refused to run for any sort of an office and was an avid opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). I always find this curious and often can’t reconcile this with what else I know about her, but then I never had a conversation with her and I didn’t grow up in the turn of the 20th century.
Amazingly, and perhaps apocryphally, she considered herself ‘ugly’ and was very shy. If you read about Eleanor a common theme is that she felt less than in many ways (for instance her son reported she never ran for public office, despite many offers to do so, because she was frightened) and was horrified when she discovered that her husband was having a long-term affair saying ‘The bottom dropped out of my own particular world’
Yet despite this or maybe perhaps because of this, she still pursued many self-less endeavours for no (apparent) sense of self-aggrandizement. I find this laudable, instead of wallowing in self-pity or ennui Mrs. Roosevelt tried, in her own way, to make the world a better place.
It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.
Like her music, penchant for plastic surgery or not, the woman is a tough lady. Growing up in Sevierville, Tennessee in close to absolute poverty, Dolly Parton began to sing. Lots of girls of her generation began to sing (Tammy Wynette,etc) but Dolly at a young age insisted on having the rights to the songs she wrote, then she went on to invest her money wisely.
Dolly is a philanthropist, she gives back to Tennessee from opening her theme-park Dollywood which amongst other things gave jobs to many people in impoverished Sevier county to her advocation of Education and efforts to help save the Bald Eagle. She hasn’t just taken the money and run; she has given back to a community that means something go her.
What I find stupendous about Dolly though, in addition to her philanthropy and business acumen, is that she has created her own image, an image that in fact allows her to be completely private. Her husband runs an asphalt business in Nashville and has never been photographed as her husband, she wears so much make up and wigs that she can merely take them off and walk out into the world and no one knows who she is. That is smart.
I will not allow you to compromise my dignity by continuing to allow you to yell at me
Mary Anne Handel
Most of you won’t know Mary Anne Handel, she was a genetics professor at the University of Tennessee when I was an undergraduate. She is one of the most dignified woman I ever met. Later in my life I was a laboratory technician on the same floor as Prof. Handel’s lab. She often took the time to come and talk to me and she always treated me with dignity and respect (which wasn’t necessarily a given when you were a lab tech).
A close friend of mine worked for her and recounted a conversation to me when someone was a bit heated over a scientific discussion with Mary Ann. Her response (quote above) is one of THE most appropriate responses to being yelled at, ever. This dignity, confidence and calmness is what I will always aspire to.
And sometimes Clarence asks me what I would have done if he had died…I tell him of how I would want to die, but that the anguish and the want of death would fade like the stars at dawn, and that things would be much as they are now. Perhaps. Except maybe I wouldn’t have named our son Elvis.
Although not a real woman but a prostitute played by Patricia Arquette in True Romance (1993), Alabama was one of the first ladies in any film that I had seen that was tough.
In the film, through some sort of the usual complications seen in films, Ms. Whitman is being beat-up by a gangster (thug) who is trying to get her to tell him where her boyfriend hid the (stolen) cocaine. In this violent scene, Alabama (unlike many female film characters pre-1990s) fights back! She fights back even though she is loosing and crying and you are convinced she is going to give-up, but she doesn’t she fights back and (barely) wins. Then she puts on her unsensible shoes, make up to cover the bruises and goes about fighting the gangsters in the best way she can. Tough – perseverance – you gotta admire that.
and driving her man off into the sunset, priceless.