As a boy, It is hard to have a female hero.

M & J

It’s not hard to respect females, or to admire them- but a role model? Moreover, a savior? I don’t remember many Disney movies where the princess came to rescue the prince…

Maybe I’m way off base in thinking that society makes it difficult for a man to admit athletic influence coming from Cheryl Miller instead of her brother Reggie. Maybe it was my upbringing. I don’t even know if my parents have heroes, male or female. I know my dad likes Joan Jett, Tina Turner and Heart- but I’m not sure he ever wanted to be like them. I came by all my so-called heroes on my own.

I read an article today about the top 10 most powerful women in America. Even the concept of putting together an article like that felt strange… like it was as much a “we beat the odds” piece as a typical list of influential and interesting businesspeople.

I remember Barack Obama back in 2008, spoke of Hilary Clinton’s legitimate candidacy for president as a source of inspiration he would use to encourage his two daughters. Can I do the same for my sons? Would he have amended that statement if he had sons?

On September 26, Wangari Maathai succumbed to cancer. She was my hero. In fact, on a list on non-familial people I frequently aspire to steal hints on how to live a better life from, she was the only female. I need to teach my children about this woman- and pay no mind to the fact I have two boys. They need to know who she is, and that being more like her, regardless of gender, is something that no person should ever hesitate to embrace. RIP Wangari Maathai, a true hero to women, Africa, nature, politics, me, and hopefully someday, both of you.



One comment

  1. I wish more people were like you. You’re right, we don’t teach men to admire women, but we teach women to admire men. I think we all might be better off if we take our inspiration where we can find it. It’s too precious to limit to a specific gender. Thanks for the inspirational post.

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