Beatrix Potter (1866-1943)
I know, I know--she may not look like a Badass at all; it's all about her heart! I watched the movie "Miss Potter", starring Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor, and because of this movie I learned about the Life of this great artist, animal lover, story-teller, and environmental conservationist. She was really quite something in her day, persevering in showing her written works (with original art) at different publishing houses (in a completely male-dominated business world) until someone agreed to publish--and so Peter Rabbit was introduced to the world! She was single for many years, choosing to not marry when she was younger (despite great society and familial pressure). She simply wasn't interested in any of the men presented to her--brava!! She chose to marry later in Life, listening to the dictates of her heart, vs. giving in to any perceived notions of what a woman should do or be.
Beatrix was pretty sharp in terms of business, and made and patented her own Peter Rabbit doll. She did a lot of great things for the environment as well, making a concerted effort to buy the farmland around her country home, and acting as steward for it until it could be maintained by a conservancy. She cared about protecting the land from ruination by business development--I tell you, this woman was ahead of her time (Thank You for your example), and the lands are still preserved to this day and beyond.
Another Badass chick from our collective past is Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994). She was a famous track athlete and Olympian, but she was so much more than that. Wilma was born with polio as a baby, and the doctors said she would never walk--but her mother and family did not give up hope. They massaged her legs regularly and traveled far for physical therapy (though the family was poor).
She got to a point where she could walk using a leg brace, progressing to playing basketball with her brothers, and eventually needed no support or extra help with her mobility at all I love this quote from Wilma: "The doctors told me that I would never walk, but my mother told me I would--and I believed my mother." She discovered and trained in track running, and (among other great achievements) was the first African American woman to win 3 gold medals in one Olympics (1960, Track and Field)! If nothing else, she is a great example of never letting another tell you of what you are capable. The power of the mind is great indeed!
"Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us."--Wilma Rudolph
Malala Yousafzai (July 12, 1997-present day)
O.K.--this girl is a bona fide real thing. Anyone who starts writing for a blog, which leads to publicly speaking about the need for necessary freedoms and education for all women (while living in Pakistan under Taliban rule), gets shot in the head during an assassination attempt by the Taliban and lives to not only tell about it but also have one of the largest and most forgiving hearts I've ever witnessed...wow. Oh, and she is only 16.
Who is this young superkickassearthangel? In a speech at the United Nations on her 16th birthday, she called on world leaders to provide “free, compulsory education” for every child. "The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born ... I am not against anyone, neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I'm here to speak up for the right of education for every child. I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all terrorists and extremists." Again...wow. This level of badassary leaves me a bit speechless. Oh, and she's 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner--go Malala!!
Ashol-Pan--this girl is something else, and I LOVE IT! As reported in the article: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26969150
Ashol-Pan is the only girl to be apprenticed to train and work with these eagles in 2,000 years. She's the daughter of a celebrated hunter in the community, and the Asher Svidensky's pictures of her working with her raptor companion are a thing of beauty. Please go check it out at the link above.
How exciting: "The generation that will decide what will happen with every tradition that Mongolia contains is this generation," says Svidensky, who showed Ashol-Pan's family the photographs on his laptop. "Everything there is going to change and is going to be redefined - and the possibilities are amazing."
The times are changing, my friends! Get your feet moving and step to the beat of this new rhythm!
One of my favorite qualities that I think make up a true Badass, is laying everything down on the line for a selfless and worthy cause or conviction. Julia 'Butterfly' Hill did just this when she climbed into an old-growth tree (named Luna), and stayed up there for 738 days, in order to ensure that it was not cut down by commercial loggers who were clear-cutting in the area. Truly walking (or tree-sitting) her talk!
She lived on a small platform and endured freezing temperatures and high winds, among other dangers (including various scary methods of intimidation by angry loggers). Supplies were occasionally hoisted up to her on ropes that she would lower to various supporters on the ground. In 1999, Pacific Lumber Company finally agreed to preserve Luna and a surrounding area of trees, and with that, Julia came down and continues to lend her voice, heart and spirit to environmental and other social change causes.
Sure, a lot of women may not like Angelina Jolie, due to the 'fact' that she may have contributed to the breakup of one of America's favorite celebrity couples (at the time). But I believe that there's much to that story that cannot be known, and frankly, why should people care? It's none of our business anyway!
What we can turn our attention to, however, is the way that she is making a kick-ass, Badass contribution toward humanitarian causes, so much so that she has been awarded with numerous recognitions and humanitarian awards. She has worked as a UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) Goodwill Ambassador for years, and was promoted to the position of Special Envoy to High Commissioner Antonio Guterres in 2012. She's done a lot to support people in need of help the world over, from hands-on work with displaced refugees to starting a wildlife preserve to help the shrinking populations of populations of Asian black bears, Asian elephants, and Indochinese tigers. I would sprain a wrist trying to write all of it. I suggest reading more from her wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angelina_Jolie#Humanitarian_work
In fairly recent news, she also decided to do elective surgery for a double mastectomy, in order to avoid the risk of getting breast cancer. Her mother had had it, along with other family members (including her maternal aunt, who died from it), and after genetic testing for BRCA mutations decided what she needed to do in her heart and soul. No vanity or self-esteem issues getting in the way there! This is so impressive to me, primarily because she is known as a sex symbol, but Angelina clearly understands that being sexy comes from within.
From the website http://www.univer.omsk.su/gender/famous_fem.html: "Elizabeth Cady Stanton came to the women's right movement after being excluded from sessions during an anti-slavery convention because of her sex. She and Lucretia Mott decided that a women's rights convention was in order. Eight years later, in 1848, the first women's rights convention took place at Seneca Falls, New York. It was there that, using the Declaration of Independence as a guide, the Declaration of Sentiments was written. Stanton, with Susan B. Anthony, organized the Women's Loyal National League to fight slavery (1863) and founded the National Woman Suffrage Association (1869) of which Stanton served as president. Stanton was also the co-editor of The Revolution, a weekly woman's suffrage paper published by Anthony, and author of The Woman's Bible (1895) and an autobiography, Eighty Years and More (1898)."
I mean, just read the above paragraph over again and really let it sink in--Good Lord, the Badassery that was in that woman's left pinky finger was enough to light up the sky. Thanks to her and women like her, women began to have a voice for the first time in political and societal happenings in the U.S. We have to first have a voice before we can raise it! A big Thank You to her and many other suffragettes!
This woman gets an extra-big picture, because she's made an extra-big impact upon my Life. Maya Angelou recently passed away (R.I.P.), and while she will be missed by many, her wisdom and spirit live on. Ms. Angelou (I can't even conceive of referring to her simply as 'Maya'; she's like royalty, this woman) was so badass in her day, she...well, let's just say that on her wikipedia page lists her occupations: Poet, civil rights activist, dancer, film producer, television producer, playwright, film director, author, actress, and professor. Look at that list! If you're not familiar with her, go and look up some of her wisdoms, writings and interviews NOW. Open up a new browser tab and go for it. You're Welcome!
She taught me the importance of having and staying true to personal boundaries. To me, she exemplifies true strength, courage, wisdom, and love.
Here is another phenomenal Badass woman--Billie Jean King, who is not only one of the best tennis players and female athletes of all time (having won six Wimbledon singles championships and four U.S. Open titles), but also a great advocate for the rights of women and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. I personally L-O-V-E hearing about the infamous tennis match in the 70's against a very male-chauvinistic player named Bobby Riggs. The match was called the "Battle of the Sexes".
He had first challenged Billie Jean, and when she refused, Margaret Court agreed to play him (she was one of the top tennis players in the world at the time). He beat her; I mean pulverized her in a Mother's Day match, 6-2 and 6-1. After this smash victory, he was on the cover of Time and Sports Illustrated, and started openly mocking women. BJK stepped up and agreed to play him, and she knew full well what was at stake: "I thought it would set us back 50 years if I didn't win that match. It would ruin the women's tour and affect all women's self esteem." Bobby said things like, “I’ll tell you why I’ll win. She’s a woman and they don’t have the emotional stability", and “women belong in the bedroom and kitchen, in that order.” Ooh, this kind of stuff really burns me--what I would give to go back in time and be able to see the match!!
It was televised worldwide to an estimated audience of 90 million. She defeated him easily (having studied his game, she played to his weaknesses) at 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. YES!! She led and pioneered a change in how women were perceived in sports. People changed how they felt about the female constitution, in terms of competitive abilities. She also helped found a women’s players union, a women’s sports magazine, a nonprofit advocacy group for female athletes and a team tennis league. Thank you, for all that you are and all that you do Billie Jean King! You rule.