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Women Who Inspired Me This Women’s History Month

Someone, somewhere decided that March is officially Women’s History Month, possibly because March has a tendency to roar in like a lion and sneak out like a lamb. For me, March roared with girl power all month long. Here are a few reasons why!

Captain Marvel

International Women’s Day was easily the best marketing tool for a Marvel film about the most powerful, and first female, superhero. Carol Danvers hit screens on March 8th, a day when our social media feeds were already full of stories of bravery and strength and women lifting up women. Who knew that we needed Captain Marvel, a flawed and imperfectly emotional woman, to save the universe? Women did! I can’t wait to see what she does next now that she’s learned not to bury her feelings!

Emerald City Comic Con

The following week I attended Emerald City Comic Con, which normally isn’t a hotbed of female empowerment. But for me, things felt different this year. There was an uptick in artists with a strong female perspective. I’m going to dig into this Chelsea Cain story and figure out what ManEaters is all about. Seriously, you guys had me at Patriarchy Suggestion Box!

However, it was the ladies who came to speak and the ladies who came to listen to the panels that really got me this year. Here are a couple of things that hit me in the feels at Emerald City Comic Con this month.

The Women of Wynonna Earp

Ok, I’m not going to lie: I’ve never watched one episode of Wynonna Earp. But on Sunday at ECCC, I found myself with some time to kill and got caught up in the #FightforWynonna story. Waiting in line to see Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Katherine Barrell, or #DomKat or #WaHaught whichever you prefer, I was welcomed into the fandom and quickly got up to speed on all the drama.

The panel was great, but what intrigued me most was the audience. The women I met in line were so genuine and so willing to share what this show means to them and why it is necessary for it to be saved. There were stickers and organized clubs; honestly, these women seem ready for battle. Inside, I sat by two women who told me they had come from LA and volunteered at ECCC all morning just so they could attend this panel. For them, a couple that had been married for 27 years, this was one of the first shows they could relate to and see themselves in, and they’ve dedicated themselves to showing their appreciation as much as possible. Here’s something obvious… representation matters!!

I wanted to share a bit of Katherine Barrell talking about auditioning for the role of Nicole. I think you’ll see why it’s important.

I had auditioned for Nicole the day before. Never in a million years thought I was going to get it, because I, especially at that time of my life, I really hadn’t found my base as a woman. And what I mean by that is I hadn’t really found my strength very much. And so I never thought, or I could never see myself in a powerful role. I just never envisioned myself playing a part like that. I was still very much in what they had told me I was a theater school, which was like the ingenue-y la-la-la girl.

I couldn’t help but think about what girls could become if they found their base sooner and didn’t have those voices telling them how they should turn out. They’re doing something right on Wynonna Earp because the women of Wynonna are unapologetically real and full of fierce. If a television show can do that for so many, we should all watch it!

Mary McDonnell

There are so many reasons to love Mary. Whether you are a fan of hers from Battlestar GalacticaMajor Crimes or just a fan of her great acting, she’s a gem. Of course, she touched on her Oscar-nominated role as Stands with a Fist in Dances with Wolves and had some great stories about the Dalai Lama stalking her, but what I enjoyed most about Mary’s panel was the eloquent way she spoke of women and their power.

A fan asked the question: what advice do you have for women who are still trying to fight that glass ceiling? Her response:

Well, first of all, all of women are still trying to fight that glass ceiling. The biggest thing I can say to you, find your tribe. I just did a keynote address in Rhode Island to about a thousand women and one of the things I talked about was, I have been saved literally over and over and over again in my lifetime by what feels to me like tribes of women, and men too. I adore men. I’m just saying that for women, right now, in order to continue to keep going forward, because the resistance is going to be as equal to if not more than the movement, to me, the most frightening thing to the established negative parts of the patriarchy is the idea of women in power. So we’re pushing it now collectively and every individual woman, especially a young, obviously beautiful, ready to go, woman like yourself, find your tribe of women that you can always connect to. Get online to find the women you want to read. Find the women you want to follow on Twitter, who inspire you every day, who keep you going and keep you thinking and you will, you’ll move forward, but you won’t have to do it alone.

My take? Our tribes give us our strength. There is a power in knowing people have your back and you’re not alone, or that people believe in you. Believe in women and build them up so they can get strong roles in the real world and not just the fictional one.

Anyway, ECCC was great and I have to give a shout-out to the woman who cosplayed as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, wherever she is. Talk about dressing up as your favorite superhero!!

Women of Television

Back in the real world, or in my living room anyway, I’ve been blown away with what women are doing on television. On Wednesday, Jane the Virgin returned and I’m pretty sure Gina Rodriguez secured her Emmy with a single shot, seven-page, self-directed monologue that was 10 minutes of some of the greatest television ever. Working her way through her feelings and how to deal with her recently “alive” dead husband and her resulting breakdown was pure Jane and pure magic.

On Thursday, Grey’s Anatomy aired an episode that required a trigger warning from showrunner Krista Vernoff. It was an emotional and gut-wrenching hour devoted to the aftermath of rape and the re-traumatization of having to report injuries and be treated for their physical and emotional wounds. After a masterful scene in which female doctors mechanically processed a rape kit in a silent room with nothing but the sound of a beating heart, the victim was wheeled down a hallway lined with women who were there to make sure she didn’t feel alone as she went into surgery. Written by women, produced by women, directed by women and acted beautifully by women, this was one of Grey’s Anatomy’s finest moments.

Michelle Obama

As if all that wasn’t enough, I spent last Sunday listening to Michelle Obama talk about her life growing up with less and how she became one of the most admired women in America. She talked about her supportive husband and family and the importance of women sharing their stories and using their experiences to build up others.

Final Thoughts

This has truly been a month of women’s stories, whether on the big screen, the little screen, or in an auditorium full of fans. Get out there and listen to them because they all have such important things to say, and we’ve got to start raising our girls to take on the world and make sure they’re ready!

To wrap things up, here’s one more little note from Mary McDonnell that stuck with me. I think it says a lot about where we’re headed:

It’s about the feminine on our planet, moving forward, coming out, being respected. The feminine being respected inside men, inside women, inside children, inside of nature. This is a moment when it’s rising up.

Who are some of the women who inspire you the most, whether it be in your everyday life or in the world of pop culture? Let me know in the comments below!

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