Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Remembering My Greatest Heroines

From my childhood to my teens, I was a television junkie. Thankfully, it wasn’t the only interest in my life like it is for kids today (I have always loved books and art too), but there was something about the re-runs of Wonder Woman and Charlie’s Angels on summer days when the weather was too unbearable outside.

Wonder Woman was this tall, gorgeous woman from another planet who was as strong as Superman and could transform into her alter-ego by turning around in a circle. When I was very little, I apparently tried to copy this move to see if my clothes would change to become the famed ‘super heroine.’ I never did. But I never forgot how inspired I was by women in the media who seemed to be breaking down boundaries between the genders. They were beautiful, but they were also strong and could stand up to anyone or anything to save other people’s lives. They were women and proud of it! Somehow, my developing brain grasped the notion that women could be strong, self-sufficient, and fearless… AND be genuine, loving, and gorgeous, all at the same time.

As I grew, television became more and more underwhelming, in my humble opinion. I turned more of my attention to heroines in the books I loved most, like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice. The main characters in these books were very different, but what both of them had in common was their desire to be respected for who they really were. I appreciated their struggles, because they were realistic and easy for me to relate to.

Of course, I always knew that the greatest heroine of my life is my Mother, who came from a small South Indian village to the United States to realize her dreams. No, she doesn’t have a secret identity and superhuman strength, but she has bravery, compassion, and intelligence, which are all qualities I admire most.

Which women (real or imaginary) have inspired you the most?

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