Wednesday, March 2, 2011

FFB: A Feminist Icon

Hello, all!

So, it's the big day. The FFB blogging event (Feminist Fashion Bloggers). And I still have no idea who to write about.

Not for lack of icons-- or feminists-- we've been studying the 20s and 30s in AP US History at the moment, and there is no lack of strong women that changed the world in history. The problem for me is narrowing it down to one woman who inspires me. I keep coming back to the same ideas though: my "feminist" icons might not be feminists at all. They were strong, individual women with goals. They made a difference in the world despite limitations or expectations, and in whatever way, they made their voice matter.

Since we're currently studying the 1930s, I was thinking about Eleanor Roosevelt. Or maybe even Amelia Earhart... Margaret Sanger... there are so many to choose from. But as always, my mind strays towards the kind of woman I admire: authors. (Well, and fictional characters, heroines... but that would need its own post altogether.)

Namely, two authors-- Rachel Carson and J. K. Rowling. You should recognize at least one of those names, and if it's the former, you are officially awesome and we should be friends. J.K. Rowling would be a fun icon, but Rachel Carson... well, she changed the world. And if you don't know her, you should know about her.

I did a paper on Rachel Carson in 8th grade, which is why her name always comes to mind. She was an author-- an environmentalist, actually. She wrote a book, Silent Spring, that opened people's eyes to the problems that pesticides cause, the damage they inflict on ecosystems. She went to college, something unusual for her time; she studied marine biology and worked for the government. When she noticed that something was wrong, and voiced her opinions-- she was ridiculed. The media, the chemical industry, and even the government was cruel but she was strong. Her words sparked something in the people that read them-- a response. A reaction, and a desire to do something. Rachel Carson was more-or-less the beginning of the modern environmentalist movement, having convinced Congress to pass legislature that regulated pesticide use for the environment and for the inhabitants of the earth.

Again, I don't think she was a feminist. But her words and her life were dedicated to the pursuit of a worthy cause, which is something that the feminist movement has been doing for a long time. Any person-- male or female-- that has ever fought passionately for their beliefs, especially when faced with severe opposition, is an icon in my book. Rachel Carson just happens to be a female.

For me personally, though, Rachel Carson is an icon. She was a writer, as I still hope to be one day. But more than that, it was her words that made a difference in the world, and my ultimate dream is to be an environmental lawyer, and if I can achieve that... I'll be walking in her footsteps, in a way. Using my words to enact change, to fight for my beliefs and to fight for the environment. A cause I think is always worth the fight.

So, I leave you with one of her quotes.

"If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life."

(That quote is from here. Information about Rachel Carson can be found here.)

A bientot!