My initial plan, when I first started this blog, was to post every Monday and Thursday. This would give me plenty of time to write and edit. But after reading two post drafts already done, I’m just not feeling either one. So instead of posting something that I’ve gone over a million times, I’m writing a new post today and hoping it doesn’t feel rushed.
Yesterday was International Women’s Day, a day to acknowledge all women world-wide. I kept trying to think of something to post as a Facebook status that conveyed how I felt on this day, but nothing came to mind. Then I was struck this morning with a thought, “Why don’t I write about three women on television who inspired me?” So that’s what I’m doing.
I want to start off with the first woman of comedy (in my mind), Lucille Ball. When talking about I Love Lucy I notice that either people love or despise the show. Which makes no sense to me why anyone would despise it, but there are people who do. I Love Lucy was more to me than just a show about an “annoying” redhead. It was a show that introduced me to a woman who not only was hilarious but who literally ran the show! Such a thing was not common during this time period. Yes, she was in a partnership with her husband Desi Arnaz, but it was a true partnership. From every thing I’ve read or seen about Desi and Lucy, Desi respected Lucy and never stood in her way. In fact Lucy actually fought CBS network to have Desi play her husband on the show. The network felt that Americans would not believe that Lucy would be married to a foreigner. The couple took their show on the road, in a vaudeville act, to prove to CBS that America wouldn’t care.
I learned from Lucy that women could be funny. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of funny women during this time, but Lucille Ball is my queen of comedy. While some would say she made women look bad, I would have to disagree. Yes, the character was a whiny troublemaking shopaholic, but you need to remember the time period and realize this was common. However it also showed a woman who wanted to do more in life and tried anything she could to achieve any dream she had. Granted, she screwed it up most of the time but she still tried. Also there was a classic episode where Fred and Ricky basically say that Lucy and Ethel couldn’t complain about being housewives, it was easier than their jobs. So the couples swap jobs for the day and all acknowledge in the end each other’s work is hard. This is a show in the 1950’s sticking up for housewives world-wide and proving they do a lot. Which, unfortunately, is still a debate to this day. I will always love Lucille Ball and respect all that she did for women in comedy.
Next on my list is the character of Julia Sugarbaker, from Designing Women. Julia was a force to be reckoned with. In the show she owned her own business and employed mainly women. She stood up for herself, her fellow women and all Southerners. There are so many powerful quotes that I could share with you from the show but this is one of my favorites:
(During the great debate between men and women)
JULIA: “………..in general it has been the men who have done the raping and the robbing and the killing and the war-mongering for the last two thousand years…. and it’s been the men who have done the pillaging and the beheading and the subjugating of whole races into slavery. It has been the men who have done the law making and the money-making and the most of the mischief-making! So if the world isn’t quite what you had in mind you have only yourselves to thank!!”
Now that may come off as a little “man hating” but she was merely pointing out that men want to complain about the way the world is but they only have themselves to blame. Julia taught me that I could be a strong woman and stick up for myself and others. I’d like to think that I am that type of woman today, which I also have my parents to thank for that. Even though Julia Sugarbaker was just a character, she was a well written character and played by the talented actress, Dixie Carter. Julia was a character of inspiration, fictional or not, as long as she inspired I think that’s what matters.
Last of all I want to mention Buffy, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (obviously.) When the show was born I was a teenager and a fan of the movie made beforehand. I watched the show expecting it to be a lot like the movie and it wasn’t…it was so much more! There are so many things I could write about, when it comes to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but that would have to be over a course of multiple posts. What I want to talk about in this post, specifically, is the inspiration to teen girls that Buffy was and still is. The character was responsible for saving the world. She was not the first female superhero but she’s one of the most important.
Buffy was a teen, like I was, and she was going through all the typically teen problems but she also fought demons and other supernatural creatures. She saved her class constantly and one of the most touching moments was when her classmates finally acknowledged that.
Jonathan: We have one more award to give out. Is Buffy Summers here tonight? Did she, um…
[the crowd turns and finds her. She looks nervous at the attention]
Jonathan: This is actually a new category. First time ever. I guess there were a lot of write-in ballots, and, um, well, t-the prom committee asked me to read this. “We’re not good friends. Most of us never found the time to get to know you, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t noticed you. We don’t talk about it much, but it’s no secret that Sunnydale High isn’t really like other high schools. A lot of weird stuff happens here.”
Student #1: Zombies!
Student #2: Hyena people!
Student #3: Snyder!
Jonathan: “But whenever there was a problem or something creepy happened, you seemed to show up and stop it. Most of the people here have been saved by you or helped by you at one time or another. We’re proud to say that the class of ’99 has the lowest mortality rate of any graduating class in Sunnydale history, and we know at least part of that is because of you. So the senior class offers its thanks and gives you, uh, uh, this.”
[Jonathan produces a gold, glittering, miniature umbrella with a small metal plaque attached to the shaft]
Jonathan: It’s from all of us, and it has written here, “Buffy Summers, Class Protector”.
She was a protector. Despite all the problems she may have gone through, she still saved lives. Buffy wasn’t the sidekick, she was the hero and I feel that was and still is an important message to girls and women. We can be the heroes. We can be the protectors.
I have women in my life who are Lucilles, Julias, and Buffys. There are women out there that I don’t know who are like these three women and so much more. I want them all to know that I love that you make others laugh, I love that you aren’t afraid to stand up for what is right and I love that you are trying to save the world any way that you can.