Ode to the Female Badass.
March 8, 2016
It’s International Women’s Day today and I felt it necessary to write a blog post about the women of my life and dedicate it to those who I’ve yet to meet. Throughout my life female badasses have dominated both my writing and my personal experiences, so I’m no stranger to the idea that women should be honored and recognized for their capabilities.
Having always been surrounded by strong female role models, I am not someone who wonders why we don’t have an International Men’s Day. Instead, I’m someone who believes that women should be highlighted as equals, and an international holiday that reminds us of that is nothing to be scared of, unless of course the idea of a powerful woman scares you. And if that’s the case, then you definitely need to sort out your values, buddy-o.
I grew up in a very close family that was instantly shattered by divorce when I was eleven. I grew up under two older sisters who have both dealt with their (un)fair share of domestic abuse, and a mother who managed to swim against the tide of an unfaithful husband. They haven’t emerged from their battles unscathed. And some battles are still being fought. But I grew up learning from them, understanding adversities that I knew, as a man, I would never face. I had always longed for an older brother, but as I matured, I realized that no older brother would ever be as strong or as brave as the women who raised me.
Because of this, I never grew up thinking that women were in some way less than anything. Instead, I saw them as more of everything. More willing to compromise. More courageous. More honest. More willing to speak up. More willing to take action. I connected with my female teachers far more than my male teachers, because, over the course of my life, the best lessons were taught to me by fearless women.
From my middle sister, I learned about humility and putting others before yourself. I learned that the truth is the most important ingredient in a family recipe and sometimes indulging in your vices ain’t nobody’s business but yours. Plus, cheap beer and a little country music never hurt anybody.
From my oldest sister, I learned about adventure and not caring about what others thought of your choices. She taught me to never compromise, to block out the noise and listen solely to the songs your heart sings. And always listen to the yodeling from the mountains, because home is what you make of it.
And from my mother I learned about table manners and different cultures and the consequences of holding grudges. She taught me about forgiveness and respect, about cooking amazing food, dancing to Viennese waltzes and how to keep a tight grip on family traditions. She taught me that my dreams are always worth a damn, even when the rest of the world or other family members doubt them. Not only did she encourage my creativity, but she embraced her own and has been kicking ass with her design work ever since. And more than anything, she always showed up, even when she was busy, even when she didn’t want to see the play or the concert, she exemplified the fact that you always show up. And you always finish what you start.
The women of my life injected me with an unending respect for women in general. And when I watch TV shows or movies or read novels that don’t have female characters that resemble those women, then it’s easy for me to tune out. Because, in my opinion, that’s not reality. I will always choose Catwoman over Batman, Buffy over Angel, Xena over Hercules, Hermione over Harry. Because even with their flaws, the majority of strong female characters aren’t just fictitious creations to me–they’re honest representations of the women I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.
Hopefully when my readers acquaint themselves with the female characters of my books, stories and plays, they’ll understand that my perspective has been the same since I was young and it will continue throughout my adulthood. I know full well that women don’t need men to save them, nor should they be bound to specific gender roles.
They always say writers should write what they know. When it comes to female badasses, I’ve never known anything else.
Happy International Women’s Day ladies and gents. But mostly ladies. 😉