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Female Role Models- How to Be Your Ideal Woman

Updated on November 17, 2019
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Heather has a Bachelor's Degree in English from Moravian College and has been freelance writing for more than 14 years.

Throughout history being a feminist and a woman was considered a toxic combination meant to destroy male dominant society. A woman, the right one, can be President or Ruler of Everything. Don't roll your eyes too much, boys. Women can rule the world just as much you can. (This is not feminist rhetoric. Just my opinion.)

What's it take to be a woman? Looks? Confidence? Success? A supportive family? Self reliance? Decide for yourselves, girls, before it's too late. Being a woman takes more than the right genetic make-up. It's about how you carry yourself and your choices. If you don't make rational decisions, you're sunk.

Not every woman is some fragile package or a delicate flower meant to handle with care. We can be tough in order to fight our battles and our enemies. We can also be vulnerable when the moment calls for it. We're human after all, not Cyborgs from the Terminator movies for goodness sakes.

Every woman sometimes needs a little inspiration to make their day-to-day battles worth the effort in the form of a book, an idea or a person. Each woman has a different preference to what inspires them, and I'm no different. Here's some examples of six movie actresses from movies past that inspire me to continue fighting in a world where men still think they reign supreme. (They should know better.)

Elizabeth Taylor- An actress that evolved from child stardom in National Velvet to a controversial sex symbol in Butterfield 8 and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Taylor's personal life also caused enough attention as her films as well. Her ability to take professional and personal risks in all of her choices was inspiring to learn about. She would make any timid woman willing to burn the rule book and create her own set of rules from scratch. Despite her willingness for risk, success wasn't always part of the plan, especially in the romance department. She was married and burned more times than any woman could count. Taylor's greatest love was multiple screen partner and legendary actor Richard Burton. Their chemistry was timeless, even in a spotty Cleopatra. Watching a Taylor film gave a woman any incentive to rebel against society convention for better or worse.

Katharine Hepburn- Her movies usually depicted her as a take charge kind of woman that took no guff from anyone, not even her love interests. Every man she was paired with was held accountable for their actions whether they betrayed her legally and emotionally. A prime example of this would be 1968's The Lion in Winter where she played a spurned queen to Peter O'Toole's cunning King. She matched him word for venomous word as he fought to keep her locked away in order for him to be with a woman much younger than her. The battle of words came full circle at the end when they hurt everyone around them more than they did each other. The movie itself was battle of wits that was more enjoyable for the audience than the characters. A sunnier example of Hepburn's talents would be Desk Set where she battled Spencer Tracy at the office and at home. Their arguments were enjoyable because it was uncertain as to who really came out on top.

Lauren Bacall- Bacall's movies showed her as a movie of strong convictions and allowed her to duel with the likes of Humphrey Bogart in To Have and Have Not. She made Bogart's character work for her attention as well as her affection. Watching their romantic battle can make any bad break up forgettable. Bacall's confidence onscreen and off-screen allowed girls to strut their stuff without looking like a cheap party girl. Every woman has always needed a strong female role model to fall back on when their confidence has been blown to bits. Bacall helped to bring that out in every woman that has seen that movie. Watching Bacall spar with her leading men made me think I can conquer the world and a man without even blinking.

Audrey Hepburn- A fashion icon as well as an acting one. Hepburn's talent radiated onscreen as an ingenue in Roman Holiday to seasoned vet in Charade. Her beauty helped make Hepburn fly under the radar and suprised her movie characters' suitors. Gregory Peck and Cary Grant were helpless to her charms in each movie. She inspired me to attempt to be more graceful in my actions and my thoughts. Unfortunately, my fashion sense isn't quite on par with hers in those movies. I'll take what I can get though. Another memorable Hepburn film was the whimsical Sabrina about a poor girl caught between the affections of two wealthy brothers. Both Humphrey Bogart and William Holden were not immune to anything Hepburn's Sabrina offered them. One smile and they were done for. Like the rest of the world was.

Ava Gardner- Gardner, known as Frank Sinatra's ex wife, was a woman of strong sexuality that grabbed men right where they wanted them. In The Night of the Iguana, Gardner portrayed a earthy woman focused on keeping her business intact. What she didn't expect was Richard Burton's flawed man of the cloth to return with a bus full of passengers. She didn't expect to fight for his affections with the prim Deborah Kerr. Instead of getting into a catfight, Gardner allowed her character to keep her cool and ended up getting her man anyway. Watching Iguana can inspire any woman to not allow a man to push her to the brink of madness. Avoid turning into a desperate harpy and still get the guy. What a feat. Gardner made it possible for that to happen without appearing as half of a soap opera type catfight. Cheers.

Marilyn Monroe- Despite Monroe's stereotypical bimbo image in her films, her films became classics because of it. She was the naively youthful childlike creature who lit up the screen whenever she arrived. In Some Like it Hot, Monroe's presence helped add an extra madcap quality that gave Tony Curtis' character an incentive to become a better person. Another Monroe classic was How to Marry a Millionaire and her sweet clumsy character who ended up getting the guy despite her flaws. The enduring qualities of Monroe's film characters were the fact that they always found something positive in a bad situation. Disregard the fact that Monroe's tragic death seemed to contradict that, life was worth the effort despite the obstacles. Just remember that diamonds are a girl's best friend.

In the end, women have the ability to be more than arm candy. We can think and speak for ourselves, even when we embarass ourselves. Most person would probably have used different inspiration points to declare their independence, but call me old school for going this route. At different points in my life, those three ladies made me want to sit up and fight off society's stereotypes by watching their movies. Those movies made me turn off the television and live my life out in the open, not behind closed doors. The only way to live isn't hiding but surviving. Never giving up when the odds are against you. What's the fun in life wheneverything is handed to you anyways?


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