Unless you have been under a rock over the past few days, I am sure that you have heard, read, or seen articles about the Katniss character in the Hunger Games. Even the New York Times has chimed in their two cents as to how this role is a radical departure from other feminine heroes seen on the big screen. And though I think this character is a fantastic role model for young ladies out there, there is someone else who struck a chord with me yesterday.
In one way or another, even without realizing it, we all play into the patriarchy system. We all in some way scrutinize and degrade women within our society. I was really impressed with Ashley Judd and her feminist essay surrounding the controversy of her “slightly puffy face.” It is a must read for anyone who is looking for a reality check on how we all (myself included) treat women. Check it out.
Both examples made me wonder what really makes a female hero. Here are my thoughts for those out there looking to become one:
Inner Strength: Despite adversity, a hero will find the inner strength to continue on. Failure is not an option and she is willing to handle the psychological and emotional strains that leader must endure.
When you have been faced with struggles in your life, how did you overcome them? Where did you find your inner strength?
Skilled: To become a hero, a person must be skilled or have expertise in an area (or areas) that will allow her to thrive and propel forward during a time of struggle.
What expertise do you bring to the table? Has that knowledge ever helped you out of a bind? Make a list of things you think you’re great at. Then least out as many scenarios as you can think of where each of those strengths would could assist you.
Risk: Heroes know that in order to break beyond the norm, one must take risks; break the rules and be vulnerable. Only on the edge do great things happen.
How often do you step outside of your comfort zone within a given day? When you do so, what happens? Have you ever had an opportunity come your way because you took a risk you wouldn’t normally take? Try taking a small risk each day and begin breaking out of your shell.
Be Honest: One of the most overlooked aspects of heroism is honesty. People want to be inspired. However, they also want to be able to relate to a hero; to know that that person could be someone you know or even you someday. By being honest, a hero allows herself to be vulnerable. And trust me, there is nothing weak about vulnerability.
Think of a time when you allowed yourself to be completely open and honest; a time when you allowed for your vulnerability to shine through. Was it a good thing or a bad thing? What was the outcome? What stops you now from being more open and honest not only with others, but with yourself as well?
Heroism comes in many forms. However, I would love to see and hear of more women stepping out of their comfort zones and being themselves. If you know of any great examples, feel free to share them here. We can all learn from those who are brave enough to kick ass on a daily basis.