Maya Angelou said, “I think a hero is anyone with an intent to make this a better world for all people.” Have you ever looked up heroine quotes? The paucity of examples is absolutely infuriating. Of the few samples we find the cinematic reality of female detectives, wonder woman and then we have the down-to-earth Harriet Beecher Stowe “To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization.”
Are women not heroes? What does one call a Mother who nurses a sick child back to health? Is she not a hero in that child’s eyes? What does one call a woman who follows her passion in the face of war, like Rachel Corrie? Is she not a hero? What do you call a woman who is clearly different, diagnosed as autistic, but carries on her life of creating beautiful, soulful art? Is she not a hero? How do we define and synthesize being a woman and a hero? Are the only examples either in history, in the movies, or martyrs?
When I go back over the heroines in the fables I love: the seven swans sewing sister, or the girl who confronted Baba Yaga. Each one has little hope, and yet still trusts that they will be okay. They endure even when the odds of their succeeding seem dim. The sewing sister is almost burned at the stake for