Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Posted by Christine Wells
Don't you love it when a girl gets nasty? Buffy, Sidney in Alias, Charlie's Angels, Wonder Woman. We love women who can defend themselves, whether it's from the Big Bad or against more human instruments of evil. Perhaps it's because women have traditionally been seen as passive victims--when a sister goes out there and kicks butt, we all cheer.
I, on the other hand, would never pass muster as a member of the Scooby gang. Sorry, Banditas, it's true confession time! A few years ago, I went camping with my boyfriend, my best friend Vikki and her boyfriend on Moreton, which is a sand island off the east coast of Australia. After a glorious afternoon sipping mango daiquiris on the beach, it started to rain. We managed a makeshift dinner and retired early to our tents, hoping the hole the dog had chewed in ours wouldn't let too much water in.
That night, a stranger came into our camp site. No, not the tall dark and handsome type of stranger, the tall dark and scary kind. There were people looking for him, he said. They were going to kill him and could he hide out with us until daylight? Short answer? Uh, no, I don't think so. The boys managed to persuade him to get out of the tent, but they couldn't make him leave the campsite.
Meanwhile, Vik and I stayed in her tent, scared out of our wits. The place was pretty isolated, and cell phone reception wasn't the best. The guy seemed like he might be on drugs and his wild talk of someone wanting to kill him didn't reassure us. I said to Vik, "Do we have anything we can hit him with if he gets violent?" Vikki held up a tin of baked beans with her usual eyebrow quirk. We both giggled nervously. And, I'm sad to report, we left our men to deal with it. They eventually got through to the police and kept an eye on the guy for the hour or more it took for the police SUV to arrive.
But when women show strength, it's not always in the physical sense, is it? What about the sheer courage it takes to love someone and believe in them and hold on to your integrity despite the temptations that lie in your path? What about Jane Eyre? Maddy-Girl of Flowers from the Storm? Soraya in Claiming the Courtesan? Even Lizzie in Pride and Prejudice showed inner strength in going against her mother's wishes and refusing to marry Mr. Collins. There is a lot to be said for a woman who can use wit, faith or integrity as their weapon instead of their fists.
So what about you? Do you like quiet strength or is the kick-ass heroine more your style? And when was the last time you kicked butt?