Looking back, I guess I should have realized, with favorite books like A Proud Taste Of Scarlet And Miniver and the complete Nancy Drew series that I had my mission in life. This may sound silly today, but as a little girl, I dreamed of winning Miss USA or Miss Universe. Now before you go making your assumptions about my mom putting me in some sort of Toddlers and Tiaras thing let me assure you nothing could be further from the truth. But as a girl, I was fascinated by the outfits, the poise, the beauty and the talent. For me, though, I always picked my winners from the interview portion.
Why am I talking about this? Because I was thinking…if I ever got up there and I was asked my question I know what I’d want it to be. “If you could pick one cause that you feel passionately about in this world that you’d like to try to fix and that you think could have a lasting impact on the world around you what would it be?” My answer: Self Esteem in women.
My favorite female historical character is Eleanor of Aquitaine. She isn’t very well known, but she is considered to be the grandmother of Europe. Almost every monarchy in Europe have blood ties to her line. She was the first queen to be married to two kings. The king of France & the king of England. She was smart, tough and feisty. In fact, after her second husband, Henry II cheated on her she was able to get her sons to turn on him, wage war…and he almost lost his land! My kind of woman. Here is a clip from The Lion In Winter where she and Henry, her husband are talking. By this time he’d locked her away in a distant castle where he felt she could do no more damage…
Perfect casting done…with Katharine Hepburn playing her role. She was the mother of Richard the Lionheart and King John. Most people have heard of them. She intrigued me by being so strong and powerful and sure of herself in an age where women were regarded as nothing more than chattel!
Times have changed these days. We have women’s lib! We can vote. We can own land. We can do so much…and yet women of today seem to struggle every day with the person they see in the mirror. Too many women gain their self worth from if they’re married…then who they’ve married. Sometimes it’s the job they hold. Or whether or not they have children. Women stay in bad relationships because they’re afraid they deserve nothing better. Or that they won’t be able to make it on their own. But what message does this send their children?
Women are strong! Powerful! They give birth to children. They make homes. They enstill values in their children. They’re tough, but they can temper that with understanding and compassion. They show their strength every day in what they’re willing to do or to sacrifice for their children! But somehow, it rarely translates to being willing to do the same for themselves!
Over the years I’ve developed friendships…and in my own little way, I’ve tried to be a friend. I’ve listened. I’ve encouraged people to go for their dreams. To explore their talents. To believe in themselves. I’ve helped a couple friends learn to fight for themselves and to stand on their own two feet….and I’ve prayed that they’ve passed that newfound passion for life to their daughters. I figure if I can help just one person…and they help one more…maybe we’ll have that chance!
Yeah, people blame magazines and skinny supermodels for women’s poor self image. But I think it goes deeper than that! I also think that if we can’t find a way to love ourselves enough to be willing to fight for ourselves, to stand up for ourselves…the cycle will continue to repeat itself. What can you do to empower someone? What issue in this world would you love to find a way to fix or to change? How would you go about it? Who do you look up to? Who is your favorite historical character and why?