Sitting here on International Women’s Day, 2015, wondering which woman to nominate as an inspiration or great influence on me, and realising that there are far too many to mention. In my life I’ve had the good fortune to meet all sorts of amazing women; the strong matriarchs in my family, other mothers at toddler group in the 80s who I now see active in all sorts of interesting places, my friends and their humour and strength when faced with the battles of everyday life, and my three amazing daughters who are so strong and so talented. I thank all of them for being there.
In terms of publicly known women I would have to nominate all the authors who I read avidly as soon as I understood what those scrawls were on the printed page; from Frances Hodgson Burnett to Joan Aiken to Hester Burton to KM Peyton to Ursula Le Guin and oh so many others, with their wonderfully brave heroines who I so desperately wanted to be. And then, Angela Carter, who I read in 1979 as a young mother in my late teens, and who made me feel that I was not mad or bad but just not acquiescent, and that there were people out there who thought it was ok for women to think dark thoughts and take action to break through the stereotypical ways that women were meant to behave. She was a great antidote to the other depressing books I read in my early teens about “Girls In Their Married Bliss” and living in L-shaped Rooms. Angela Carter breathed fire into my soul.
Then there are the political women, so many young fiery and feisty bloggers that I enjoy following on twitter, especially those with a sense of humour. It was Caitlin Moran who made me feel that it was ok to publicly call myself a feminist again, with her wit and enthusiasm for life. I’ve just been reading a blog post which mentioned Louise Michel, aka The Red Virgin, that I came across while reading all the tweets for #IWD2015. I have her autobiography somewhere on my shelves. It was bought for me by an ex-partner who (I think) was trying to be sarcastic, and I found it fascinating. One thing that the blogpost says about her is:
“she simply regarded men’s and women’s rights as equal and acted accordingly”
I think that sums up the sort of women I like to hang out with.