Friday, April 11, 2008

My Weekend Crush

This week, in between my Tina Fey fanaticism, I was watching PBS and caught an “American Masters” on Amelia Earhart. So much about Amelia is wrapped in myth. The mysterious disappearance of one of the world’s greatest adventurers is the stuff legends are made of. But Amelia is more than just a legend, a cautionary tale about those who follow Icarus’ fateful flight. Amelia was a woman, an extraordinary woman, who made her mark on a decidedly man’s world. She was a woman who dared to not only take to, but own the skies with her simple assertion that “a pilot is a pilot.” She wore pants. She wore ties. She was married but was opposed to its “medieval code” and saw it instead more as a partnership with dual control. Oh, and she kept her own name. In 1931. Aviatrix. Author. Lecturer. Celebrity. Feminist. That she vanished into thin air in 1937 is the story everyone knows. That she helped to change how we think about what a woman is and can do is the story everyone should know. As she said herself:
“One of my favorite phobias is that girls, especially those whose tastes aren’t routine, often don’t get a fair break... It has come down through the generations, an inheritance of age-old customs which produced the corollary that women are bred to timidity.”

There was nothing timid about Amelia Earhart. Even though no one expected it from a woman, everyone -- men, women and children -- couldn’t help but be in awe of her accomplishments. Happy weekend, all.

8 comments:

Slym said...

Amelia Rocks!

TheWeyrd1 said...

NICE break from your Tina Fey obsession. I think the quote you highlighted speaks to more than general feminism. I'm just saying! By the way, thanks for your help on my mystery.

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

I watched the same PBS show Monday night. I've had an interest in Earhart since I was a kid, probably because my mother often used her disappearance/presumed death as a cautionary tale. Caution toward what exactly, I can't say.
Anyway, given Nolan's (the navigator) alcoholism, the lack of a radio operator onboard, and Earhart opting to try and hit such a narrow, isolated strip in the vastness of the Pacific, I think of this almost as a suicide. But then, couldn't that be said of all explorers who push themselves and pay with their lives?
I don't know. Earhart's legend will endure, at least with me, until something of her plane is found.

slacker said...

The quote also speaks of a time not long after coverture, where women and their property all became the property of the husband. I didn't see the show, unfortunately.

Wendy, R.N. said...

I, too, watched the same program. She was awesome.

Now, back to Tina.....

She is on the cover of Marie Claire for May. And she is interviewed by Amy Poehler. Just sos you knows.

Faithful reader,

Nurse Wendy

Anonymous said...

Finally:) No Tina Fey (with respect ;))

Becky said...

Wonderful, important post, thank you Ms Snarker.
I grew up in an Australian Air Force family in the 1970s, where womens' roles were to breed, cook and clean, and the men did all the cool stuff. I was terrified of growing up into that world, but two women appeared to inspire me, who were as far from that reality as possible. One of those women was the fabulous Amelia Earhart. My absolute idol (and a terribly snappy dresser, in those military pants and ties). The other was Suzi Quatro, but that's a story for another time :)

ShamelessAddict said...

Did you see Hillary Swank is going to play her in a biopic and Mira Nair is directing? Should be interesting. I agree, she was fascinating, and of course overlooked as nothing more than the "chick that disappeared."