Wednesday, November 18, 2009


What does it mean to be a hero? And what does it mean to be a heroine? Why do we have two words to define us? Woman versus man... what are heroic acts that men value? Courage under fire. Courage against all odds. And women? We value all sorts of courageous acts. We protect those we love, would do anything to help them. To defend them. To keep them safe. We'd die for them. Where does Amelia fit into this? This is something I'm grappling with. I think of Muriel, her sister and how she lived her life. A model citizen, a teacher, a mother, a wife . . . and I think of Amelia. How she left all those strictures behind. Why is one choice more valued than the other? Because men define who we are. Men create the values for us. Men make us think that being heroic in daily life is less important. Am I a jaded feminist? I suppose so. I'm at home with being at home. But I'm also in awe of the choices Amelia made. How she bucked the common wisdom and dared to do more.

Amelia was a great proponent of women being as good as men at being whatever they wanted to be . . . doctors, pilots, you name it. It's what makes her so engaging even now. We want to understand what it took for her to be so convinced of your own abilities. We want to be that woman, we all want to be Amelia. Yet what of Muriel? She's as admirable in her own way. What if two roads diverged and you were tempted by both at once.

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