Real life (s)heroes: Women who Inspire
Recently, there's been a shift to amplify women in powerful roles. Whether its sports, movies, TV, or business, more and more women are now in positions that showcase their strengths. These roles they play, whether fictional or not, have become a source of inspiration and empowerment for the younger generation coming up behind them.
These "sheroes" are showing young girls that they can do and be anything they want. Here now are a few of the women currently making a positive impact.
Gal Gadot - This actress beat out countless others for the coveted role of Wonder Woman. This was the first time the iconic character was going to be on the big screen. Gal had her work cut out for her. There were countless naysayers that said she wasn't right for the part. She proved everyone wrong and Wonder Woman went on to be one of the highest grossing movies of all time. But Gal is more than that. A former solider in the Israeli army, Gadot doesn't let the fame go to her head. Instead, she uses her role to inspire others to be the best they can be...that's what Wonder Woman is all about isn't it? Gal has even dressed in costume to visit children's hospitals so these kids have an opportunity to see their
(s)hero up close.
Ronda Rousey - Rousey came into the public view at a time where women in fighting was basically frowned upon. UFC big boss Dana White has even been quoted as saying "Women will never fight in UFC." He retracted his words after signing Rousey. Winner of a bronze medal in Judo during the Olympics, Rousey had gone on to become one of the most dominant fighters in MMA. When she became the first UFC women's bantamweight champion she really started turning heads...literally and figuratively. Rousey went on to an impressive undefeated streak, dispatching her opponents often in the 1st round and under 30 seconds with a devastating armbar. Rousey went on to compete in the WWE where she once again rose to the occasion. When everyone said she couldn't do it, Ronda proved them wrong. She was recently inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame (the first for a woman!) where she encouraged her fans to go after what they wanted. Ronda is using her platform in the public eye to make a difference and show people you can do anything you can set your mind to. I was privileged to see her get inducted into the HOF and the response from the young ladies in the crowd was remarkable. Rousey is a true (s)hero inspiring many.
The Women of the WWE - Professional wrestling has long been a man's sport. If women were given the opportunity to wrestle it was either very short, or it was a demeaning gimmick match. In the past few years there has been a movement that has seen the women take the stage as their own. They've refused to sit by the sidelines when they knew they could perform just as well, or even better, than the men. The WWE has dubbed it an "evolution" rebranding their "divas" as "superstars." Now, athletes like Becky Lynch; Asuka; Naomi; and countless others are able to showcase their talents in front of millions of people all around the world. A match in Abu Dhabi made history when for the first time women wrestled. As Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss, donned in full body suits out of respect for the culture, performed in the ring a chant of "this is hope" broke out in the arena.
Alexa Bliss has also gone out of her way to support her young fans who are struggling with body image issues. A survivor of an eating disorder herself, Bliss (aka Lexi Kaufman) took a troubled girl by the hand at comic con and told her to never let anyone define her worth. She didn't have to do that, it wasn't scripted, but she wanted to genuinely help this girl. It was a rare moment in an industry that often likes to keep their "badguys" bad. Kaufman is a known "heel" as her character Alexa Bliss, but that doesn't stop her from addressing her fans, of which she has millions.
Charlotte Flair (aka Ashley Fleir) and Bayley (Pamela Martinez) are 2 of the most popular female athletes in the world. Some have said Charlotte could rival the incredible Hulk Hogan in terms of popularity. She is a driven, talented athlete who always gives back to her fans. You'll see her Instagram feed loaded with pics of kids in "Charlotte Flair" merchandise or who have drawn pictures of her. Bayley as well has a hug fan following. Known as "the hugger" she's attracted a very young fan base who loves to dress up as their favorite superstar.
Outside the ring these women seem like genuine, sweet ladies. But one has to remember they are also human. These ladies, Gal and Ronda included, all took on these roles out of a passion for their chosen craft. Now, they are "role models" for millions of fans all over the world. That's a lot of pressure, especially in today's digital age where these women's every move is scrutinized.
Remembering that these women are just people with extraordinary jobs, I find myself concerned with the magnifying glass they're under and I hope they have someplace to turn when it all gets too heavy (maybe that's why Ronda Rousey lives on a farm!)
So cheers to these women who are leaders in their fields!