who run the world? girls. badass women and why they're badass

This morning, walking from my car to a Starbucks, I was stopped and harassed three times in 6 minutes.  While it should be virtually irrelevant what I was wearing, I'll mention it anyways. Black pants, slip-on Vans and a mock turtleneck shirt (because I’ll be damned if someone tries to convince me mock turtleneck shirts aren't cool.) The first time I was stopped was by a man who asked me if me and my "fine ass" wanted to "hop in his car and drive away". I ignored him easily enough. The second was by another man who made me aware that my blonde hair reminded him of a woman in his past who loved having sex with him. Now I realize it's easier just to keep my head down. The third was by (you guessed it) a man who called me a bitch when I didn't tell him my name. 8:13 to 8:19 in the morning. It took all of six minutes for me to feel pretty shitty about being a woman.

Unfortunately, I am not alone in feeling less than simply because I have boobs and a vagina. I'm not the first woman to be casually told girls don't deserve to be paid as much as men because we "don't work as hard." I am not, and will not be, the only woman to ever feel like defending herself against these unwanted advances will get her killed. This idea isn't new but it sure is getting fucking old.

In lieu of what is quite an obvious solution to the problem of gender inequality (ex. start acknowledging that women are also humans) I have compiled a list of incredible women and reminders why we're totally badass for the next day it's hard for me to get excited about just walking outside to get a cup of coffee.

1. “A study by Zenger and Folkman seems to demonstrate pretty strongly that women are seen as better leaders than men by those around them.  And there are other studies indicating that companies that have a higher representation of women in management ranks are more profitable and have higher employee productivity. And yet – I’ve noted this statistic before, but I’ll say it again in this context: only 33 of the Fortune 1,000 are headed by women.”

 2. J.K. Rowling, queen of virtually everything, wrote the best selling book franchise of all time. And, additionally, created one of the most inspiring characters of our generation. Hermione, not Harry. Because, duh. 

3. Beyoncé. Beyoncé Beyoncé Beyoncé Beyoncé. I would list all of her accomplishments. But none of us have that kind of time. Except, of course, Beyoncé.

4. Here’s a video showcasing, Simone Biles, who needs no introduction. "At just 19, she's already made history. Not only is Biles the first female gymnast to win three world all-around titles in a row, she's also the first African-American gymnast to become the world all-around champion." 

5. Emmeline Pankhurst co-founded the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1903 with a clear agenda focused on direct action to win women the vote. 'Deeds not words, was to be our permanent motto’, she would later say. These words soon rang true. It was at Holloway Prison that Emmeline Pankhurst would stage her first hunger strike, withstanding violence and abuse to enable all women the right to vote. She is also responsible for this bad ass quote, "Trust in God - she will provide.”

6. Malala Yousafzai. A young woman who, on October 9, 2012, was shot in the head three times when a gunman boarded Malala's school bus in Pakistan. Her crime? Speaking out about education for girls. While that is enough bravery for one lifetime, she then went on to continue to educate us all on equal rights. Oh yeah, at age 17 she also became the youngest person in history to receive a Nobel Peace Prize.

7. Frida Kahlo. To understand Frida is to understand her pain. That doesn’t make her a victim of her own suffering - quite the contrary. The many outwood traumas that plagued her life - including a horrific bus accident leaving her crippled and unable to conceive - gave her the tools in which to paint her inner truth. Her husband Diego Rivera once talked about Frida’s art as 'paintings that exalted the feminine qualities of endurance and truth, reality, cruelty, and suffering.' He would go on to conclude: 'Never before has a woman put such agonized poetry on canvas.' 'I paint my own reality', Frida Kahlo once said. Her paintings are fearless because they paint the conflicting duality of female experience. In some respects, Frida's art is both the rose petal and the thorn.

These women are merely a drop in the bucket of incredible forces. They start a list that is lengthy but nowhere near complete.

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Alex Harper