Tuesday 8 March 2011

International Women's Day

According to the official website, "International Women's Day has been observed since in the early 1900's, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies." It seems almost fitting to be celebrating it this year, what with the tide of radical change that is currently sweeping parts of the world, and with the massive expansion of new technologies that circumvent traditional industrial processes. Indeed, it's an exciting time for writers in general as the boom in independent publishing allows us to get our work in front of a wider audience than ever before. As a woman writer, I'm downright excited about what the future holds.

So I'd like to take a little time, and pay tribute to a few of my favourite women.

My mother
Yep. She has to come first. She's my biggest fan and my most ardent supporter. Yes, she may be biased, but I would venture to say that if my mother didn't enjoy my work, she'd be the first to say so. She doesn't pull her punches, and she's reason why I say what I think.

Sarah Connor, Princess Leia and Ellen Ripley
All fictional, but they proved girls didn't have to be the simpering victims portrayed in slasher films or Disney movies. Leia in particular needs a mention as she gets to look glamourous AND take the honour as the only character in the Star Wars universe capable of dispensing with Jabba the Hutt. Ripley gets a mention as being the first female character to carry an action series in an era dominated by Stallone, and Schwarzenegger etc.

Enid Blyton, Margaret Atwood and JK Rowling
Enid Blyton's books were some of the first novels I ever read, and I still adore her Adventure series even now. Yes, it's all ginger beer and picnics, but it's a snapshot of a bygone age, when innocence was prized and kids could play outside without fear of abduction (or worse). Margaret Atwood has made great in-roads in getting women accepted as writers of fiction other than chick-lit or romance, with her forays into dystopian futures or epic storytelling. JK Rowling may have gone off the boil in the later Harry Potter series but you have to credit the woman for getting kids reading again.

Kate Winslet, Dame Helen Mirren and Angelina Jolie
 I just love Kate. She always seems so nice in interviews - such a far cry from the attention-grabbing shenanigans you see over the pond. She can act, as well as proving girls with curves really do look better than her stick insect counterparts. Dame Helen Mirren gets a nod for proving older women can far outshine their younger rivals, while Jolie gets a mention not for her (laughable) acting skills or questionable methods for finding partners, but rather the fact she uses her star power to help affect change in areas that really need it. She donates a portion of her salary to charity, and is actively involved in various projects around the world.

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Emmeline Pankhurst and Vivienne Westwood
To the first woman to qualify as a doctor in the United Kingdom, a woman instrumental in securing the vote for British women, and the absolute genius who invented a look and style that resounds throughout pop culture to this day...I am so sorry that the best the UK can do these days is Katie f***ing Price.

Happy International Women's Day!


Sam said...

Brilliant post, Icy. I've heard of International Women's Day before from friends in Eastern Europe, but it doesn't seem to have made much impact over here so I'm really pleased you've written a post about it. :)

Icy Sedgwick said...

Well I'm very much in favour of equality (I won't say feminism, as that implies discrimination against men) but I wanted to champion some of the women who have made my existence what it is. Obviously there are many more but these, for the sake of brevity, are the ones I wanted to mention. Especially my mam!

Mari said...

Great post, Icy! It's very entertaining to see your opinion on each of these women. ;P I cannot agree more with you on Rowling. (and I have to admit I'm a Potter fan, even with all issues we can see in the series :P)

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