I Want my Children to be Inspired by these Women of 2012

Because I am inspired by these women.

It occurred to me last night, while I was watching the wonderful two piece band UN and thinking how much I would have liked my daughters to have seen them, that the year 2012 was marked by some pretty extraordinary women role models.

So here is a list of women I would like my daughters to find inspiration from, in no particular order.

1. Pussy Riot

Because they channel their rage at the political injustices in their country through their music and do it so people can’t ignore them and at great peril and consequence to themselves (as we have seen by the Russian government’s response).

Now, it might seem like an odd thing to wish for your daughters. And no, I would prefer my children to not be arrested and put in jail. Yet, if that is the consequence for speaking out, for not accepting what they believe is wrong and actually doing something about it, then I would be the proudest mom of my little jailbirds…

With the exception of the mothers of the Pussy Riot members that is. They should be extremely proud of their fearless and ferocious daughters.

s-MALALA-YOUSAFZAI-large6402. Malala Yousafzai

Again, this needs no introduction. I can’t even imagine the amount of courage it must have taken for this young girl to speak out and what her life will be like from this day forward.

Once again, I would like my daughters to be inspired by women who speak out against what is wrong, who do not let the skewed status quo lie.

Theresa-Spence-e1355849187808-300x1973. Theresa Spence

Hmmm. I am detecting a trend here… We just had a record dump of snow here in southern Quebec and Ontario. As I was huddled in my lovely fleece housecoat on the couch, a cup of tea and a smattering of Christmas decadence all around me,  my mind kept wandering to Ms. Spence starving in her teepee on Parliament Hill. Why is she doing this? Because this whole treating First Nations people like second-class citizens is unacceptable and we as a nation should be ashamed. We hear tidbits on the news of the abhorrent living conditions on the reserves. But we hear nothing about certain bills the government is passing that directly affect the First Nations population (and the rest of Canadians, by the way, especially when we are talking about Bill C-45 and the reduction of Federally Protected waterways).

Ms. Spence has rapidly become the figurehead (in a good way- not in the Queen way) for the #idlenomore movement. Here is a nice, comprehensive article explaining the idlenomore movement, just in case you haven’t heard of it before.

Once again, what I like about this movement, what makes it different from others, is that not only does it originate with youth and social media, but it also goes beyond political and socioeconomic issues and delves into the deeper questions of what gives meaning to our lives? How do we want to be in the world? These are the questions that will inform how we approach government and legislation.

4. Françoise Davidprofil-fd1-230x230

Because she showed us that it is possible to be a politician and not be smarmy. Really. That is why she is on the list. Because during the debates she was the dark horse for Quebec Solidaire, a party that most consider to be built on leftist pipe dreams (having said that, I voted for them. I figure a political platform should be the expression of a vision of society, how this party thinks society should look like not what they think the people with money want them to do. Their vision came the closest to mine.)

She was cool, collected, truthful, intelligent and never once descended to the level of personal attacks.

She managed to win her seat (the second for her party and as of this November is now the sole leader, as Amir Khadir- also an excellent role model– stepped down).

Tavi5. Tavi Gevinson

Let us leave politics, shall we, and move to Tavi, sixteen-year old fashion guru, blogger and founder and editor of Rookie mag, an online magazine with tell-it-like-it-is articles, advice columns, extremely awesome style, playlists, etc.

I like Tavi because her magazine shows that girl culture can still be uniquely girl without being bitchy and asinine. But I don’t want to describe it through negatives. She is simply writing and gathering about things she likes. And what she likes is well, cool.

Also, she has articles that give advice like this one, from an article entitled Body Conscious by Amy Rose:

10. Feminism is meant to make us feel BETTER about our bodies, not worse.
If you identify as a feminist, you may know about the body-acceptance movement, which is all about loving and celebrating your physical person, no matter what size or shape your body is. For those of us who fervently believe in this idea, myself included, it can lead to moments of intense self-criticism, because HOW could you be feeling insecure and still believe passionately in the movement? When this happens to me, my thinking goes like this: “I SAY that everyone is beautiful as they are, so how come I can apply those feelings to everyone except myself? How come I’m still ragging on myself for not looking Photoshopped? Why are there Lean Cuisines in my freezer? I AM A FRAUD! A SHAM, I TELL YOU!!!”

Smart, funny, truthful, unabashed about sex and love, I fervently wish I was as cool and self-confident as Ms. Gevinson when I was sixteen. Hell, I wish I was that at age 38. She is most definitely an inspiration for all women.

I am sure I missed a whole lot of other remarkable women who shone this year. Please comment and school me on them!

In the mean time, Happy New Year Everyone and may 2013 be your year of to shine!

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