Two uncomfortable truths: New Merida looks a little whorey. Fewer people care about this than you would think.

Ugh. 

I sort of already hate myself from weighing in on this but people keep asking me to tweet about it and forward their petitions, and I really thought it would quiet down by now but it hasn’t, so I’m going to give my big, fat, stupid, irrelevant and probably wrong opinion on the changes Disney made from the original I-might-trust-her-to-babysit-my-kid-when-she’s-a-little-older Merida to get-the-fuck-away-from-my-husband Merida.

There are all sorts of calls to action to get Disney to admit that the new Merida looks a bit skanky and they’ve met with some success and that’s awesome.  Go team.  I hope you succeed.  But (in my opinion – stop yelling at me) the majority of people do not give a shit.  Mostly because we’re busy personally teaching our kids what strong women look like instead of letting Disney do it for us.  And in a way, Disney did us a favor here.  Did you have a talk with your kid about the new Merida? Because if you didn’t you missed a good opportunity to see where your kid stands on this, and to talk to them about over-sexualization.

I showed the new Merida to my eight-year-old and she assumed that it was Merida’s evil twin.  Which actually would make an awesome story, and personally I plan to tell stray children I see buying backpacks with the new Merida on them that the original Merida was eaten by the new Evil Merida because she was so hungry.  And they will probably believe it because seriously, look at her waist…the girl needs a damn sandwich.

Anyway, my incredibly dumb and probably ill-informed point is that it’s really uncomfortable to see a strong, child-like character get tarted up and flash bedroom eyes at you, but it’s equally sucky to rely on a giant corporation to teach your kids what strong women look like.  Strong women look like Amelia Earhart, Rosie the Riveter, Asmaa Mahfouz, or Elizabeth Smart. Or Wonder Woman, or Sally Ride or Sojourner Truth, or Amy Poehler, or Ada Lovelace, or Anne Frank.  Or your grandmother.

Or you.

I support and admire the men and women who speak out in the cause of feminism, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that there are so many amazing women who may never end up on a lunch box (Wonder Woman and Word Girl excluded) but who can make a great difference in the life and perceptions of our sons and daughters.

Okay.  Your turn.  Who’s your favorite female hero?

PS.  There aren’t any right or wrong answers here.  It’s totally okay to like pretty dresses and sexy princesses.  It’s totally okay not to.  No judgment.  Probably.

748 replies. read them below or add one

  1. Favorite female hero is Liz Lemon!! she handled all that craziness at her job with a sense of humor and a huge helping of wit- that’s what i look up to:)

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  2. My mother. Followed closely by me. Because I have been to hell and back and got stronger on the way. Not brag, not ego. Just fact.

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  3. You actually offer a well informed and arguable point.

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  4. Shoot. I was so hoping to be offended. Please try harder next time😉.

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  5. It was Strawberry Shortcake or Wonder Woman as a kid. What about Ms. Pacman – they can’t whore her up, can they? Challenge accepted?

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  6. My mom is my hero, always has been and always will be. She IS beautiful on the outside, but it is her strength, endurance and compassion which makes a beautiful person as a whole. She thought me that beauty comes from confidence and being grateful for what your body does, not what it looks likes.

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  7. Well, I like what you had to say about it. I think you are right. This is a great opportunity to teach our kids, girls and boys about awesome women coming in all shapes and sizes.

    And also? Boobs make archery more difficult.

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  8. Yes!

    Did you see this? http://www.jaimemoorephotography.com/2013/05/09/not-just-a-girl/. So good. And my friend on Facebook (mother of a son) made your point, too.

    And also, please, as a personal favor: it’s FEWER people, not less people. It’s the same in German, but not in English. Fewer is for things you can count on your fingers and less is for quantities that you count. Less Diet Coke, fewer taxidermied mice.

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  9. Ripley from the Alien canon. Maternal, ass kicking, no nonsense, strong.

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  10. And I’m not happy with the new Merida and neither is my 12-year-old daughter. She was a major fan of the original movie version and doesn’t like the new princess. Her response: “Are they trying to make her a caricature of a medieval cougar?” (and yes, she knows what all those words mean).

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  11. 11
    Shannon Ritter

    I’m not sure I have a favorite female hero – I think if I do, maybe it’s my 8 year old daughter. She’s awesome.

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  12. Other than you? I’d say my favourite female hero is the character Miss Celie in The Colour Purple. I’ve gone through two copies of that book already and can’t count how many times I’ve seen the movie.

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  13. My favorite female hero, not including family members, is you, Jenny.

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  14. I admire so many of my close female friends, especially the ones who have bad the courage to move and travel the world solo. They kick ass!

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  15. Sorry, should have said “less Diet Coke” (like the quantity) but “fewer Diet Cokes” (like bottles). Ack, thought I was being clear, but I was being clever and I’m never clear and clever simultaneously, and rarely either.

    (My editor set you up to this, didn’t she? :) Fixed. Thanks! ~ Jenny)

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  16. 17
    Jennifer W.

    Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.

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  17. Disney already dropped their plans for the new Merida design in face of all the fan backlash, so that’s something.

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  18. What I am frustrated by is anyone who has done even 10 seconds of research would see that Disney has already made tarted up Merida dolls already, some wearing even “prettier” dresses and some wearing frikkin’ crowns. They’ve also made the movie version of Merida dolls. It’s a single doll in a single merchandise line. People just need to stop and do some research and realize that Disney is going to do what ever it damn well pleases because it’s Disney and they can.

    Also my mom is awesome.

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  19. That’s a good question. My favorite female hero is my daughter!

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  20. 23
    mousebert

    So, hair on right side means Skank?

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  21. Ann Richards. Bless her.

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  22. 25
    Stephanie

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-trumble/ten-real-world-princesses_b_3275835.html Check this out! I can’t wait for my kids to get home from school. The are totally going to want Hillary Clinton printed for their wall!

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  23. My female role models lately are my peers who have said “fuck you!” to corporate America and started their own businesses. That includes women like you, Jenny. You quit your job to follow your dream. That’s pretty kick-ass!

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  24. Honeybadger – I’m pretty sure that video was of a female in the video and she doesn’t give a sh*t! A big fan of any strong female roles – Hermione and Ginny Weasley, A Jolie’s character in Hackers, Wonder Woman, etc.

    Updated news: No worries – Disney has already pulled the new Merida so we don’t have to get upset over it anymore. They agree it was a stupid idea anyway.

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  25. BRAVO!! Enough with letting others/companies raise our children… take a little damn responsibility for your own kids and teach them yourselves. ITS CALLED “BEING A PARENT”…

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  26. 29
    Matthew E

    Recently I’ve heard about swashbuckler Julie d’Aubigny and WWII spy Nancy Wake (a.k.a. the White Mouse). I don’t know if they’re my heroes or not, but the evidence certainly suggests they were awesome.

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  27. My (professional) hero at the moment is a woman named Barbara Fister. She’s a librarian at Gustavus Adolphus College, and she is the shiznit. She doesn’t just bring up uncomfortable truths about academia, the shouts them.

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  28. You and Amanda Palmer are my female heroes.

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  29. Temple Grandin. Odds all against her in a neurotypical world, and she went ahead and changed it anyway. Worlds most successful cowgirl animal behavioralist? Darn tootin’.

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  30. 33
    Bethany Ward

    Disney quietly replaced new Merida with original Merida on their Princess website, today. There’s still merch out there with slutty-face on there and Disney hasn’t made a future looking statement but it seems the petitions at least got their attention! I love your point about at least talking to your kids about it to see what they think!:)

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  31. You! You are my favorite Female Hero! Brave enough to share some of your deepest fears, self doubt. Strong enough to take on Will Wheaton. Passionate enough to help others (xmas donation that snow balled, red dress). When your doll comes out – I want the version with the hair rollers! (and giant metal chicken accessory)

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  32. I’m not sure who my favorite female hero is but I can say that I love that my Big Kid’s favorite Disney Princess is Pocahontas.

    I’d like to commend Hailey for realizing the evil twin-ness of modified Merida.

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  33. Maybe I’m a little odd on this one but: the Duchess of Alba – that woman rocks, I would love to sit down and have tea with her and Dame Maggie Smith. I would love to hear the stories they could tell.

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  34. Go you. Thanks for the reminder that we can’t ultimately shelter our children from the world. It’s better these issues arise while they’re with us (rather than after they go into the world) so that we can take it as an opportunity to share our views and values. Parenting, ultimately, is up to the parents, including teaching our children how to deal with unpleasantries big and small.

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  35. Tina Fey, Wonder Woman and Jenny Lawson. I don’t have children but if I did, these are the bad asses that would appear on their lunch boxes, back packs, t-shirts and temporary tattoos.

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  36. You are my hero. And Amanda Fucking Palmer. You keep excellent company.

    Great points, BTW.

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  37. It took me a long time to realize that the movie Labyrinth was the only good example in my childhood of a strong unattached female lead character standing up for herself and winning the day that I had as a child. So I would have to say Sarah.

    (YOU HAVE NO POWER OVER ME. Sorry. Having a flashback. ~Jenny)

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  38. I’ve never really given it any thought, I guess if I had to pick anyone, it would be my grandmother. Her husband (my grandfather who died when I was a kid) lost all their money, they had to move to the wrong side of the tracks. My grandmother worked six days a week to support her family and it wasn’t easy, while her husband gambled it away. My grandmother is my hero. I wish she was still here.

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  39. I won’t say this consumed my life, but the reason it bothered me, and the reason I signed the petition, isn’t because I expect Disney to raise my kid but because there is already a surplus of idiotic vampy trampy woman-as-vapid-guy-receptacle images out there, including quite a few aimed at little girls. And yes, those images matter and yes, they do influence, and quite often to a greater degree than anything your boring mom and/or dad and/or other mom might tell you verbally. Image is everything, ’cause we’re a sight-oriented critter. Monkey see, monkey do.

    And basically I don’t think I should have to lock my child away from the world just so that I can outweigh all the stupid influences she’d otherwise be getting. I’m one person. There are 6,999,999,998 other people out there and many of them do not like people such as my daughter and myself who were born with innies instead of outies. If one mom could outweigh all of that scariness, we wouldn’t still need feminism.

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  40. 43
    Scarlett Angell

    Molly Brown, Eleanor Roosevelt, Joy Angell (my grandmother), Julie Angell (My sister)…Anne Richards, Molly Ivins…so many really…

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  41. Buffy Summers. River Song. River Tam. Zoe Wasburn. Rose Tyler. Aemilia Pond. River Tam. Katniss. Daenerys. The list goes on and on and on.

    In real life? My female heroes are my mother, my aunts, my Grandmother, my friends, my sister, YOU, and you know what? ME!

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  42. I have to say I have a couple of women I admire much, of course my ma, but other than her, Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Alisa Valdes, Amy Poehler and well, you. You are all very funny and talented women who make me laugh. Qualities I admire and look up to. :)

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  43. 46
    DragonTears

    Velma, Mystery Inc would totally have fallen apart without her. But the New Scooby Doo has her fawning all over Shaggy… I seriously kind of fucking hate that… a lot. So classic Velma.

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  44. Awesome viewpoint, and one I hadn’t thought of!
    You know, I’d have to say my hero today is one of my close female friends. She has been through a lot, including a recent unexpected death in her immediate family, and has handled it all with grace and dignity. She has taught me so much.

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  45. I know a ton of people will say it but honestly? You. And Allie. You both are strong, talk about the issues and problems you have but maintain your sense of humor and make me realize I can be stronger than I think I can. Thank you.

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  46. 49
    Jessica S.

    Marie Curie has been my hero since I was 12 and did a presentation on her for science class. I have read and re-read her biography (written by her daughter) in French and in English, and once, finding myself alone in Paris for a few days, spent one day on a self-directed Marie Curie Tour of Paris. If I had a daughter, I’d teach her about Mme Curie as a role model rather than a cartoon. Thanks for posting this, Jenny!

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  47. Dear Jenny,

    I’d be one of those who don’t give a shit. But if lil’ miss THANG were real? My hubs would be all over that shit. He’s got a thing for red heads. And apparently catroons with big noggins and teeny tiny waists. I can’t bring myself to break the news that she’s a motherfucking Disney Character, however…

    To all the peeps who are protesting/petitioning…may the force be with you. Lord knows we shouldn’t have any more skank-assed ho’s as Disney Characters. I mean…Snow While? Puh-lease.

    Love, Carm

    P.S. My fave female super-hero – or “hero” would be…

    JENNIFER ARCHIBALD LAWSON – obvi…

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  48. for real life issues: Mom
    for everything else: Lara Croft

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  49. It’s hard to decide; there’s so many to choose from…
    I think the biggest female hero I have is/was my great-grandmother. Short, squat, gray, with a foul mouth and a lead foot, I saw her calm crying infants, gently care for patients, call out a misbehaving man who stood 15 inches taller than herself, and fry potatoes while smoking, drinking, and talking on the phone (all at the same freaking time). I saw that woman ride the biggest roller coasters, bake the best pies, tell the best stories, and be there supporting you when you learned this biggest life lessons. If I end up halfway like her, I’ll be happy!

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  50. Wonder Woman was my favorite as a kid, but more because I had a crush on her than because she was a hero. Now people I look up to are fat activists like Ragen Chastain, or Joy Nash, and also the sex positive Lacey Green. Also, I want to be Gabourey Sidibe’s best friend.

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  51. I liked the new Merida but then I’m 28 yrs old. For little girls, maybe it isn’t appropriate. Halloween costume 2013? Hell yes… I agree with you about the corporation thing. I am not a mom, but when I am, I’m going to try my damnedest to be the one having the conversations about “strong women” and role models… whether boy or girl child. It’s a pipe dream now, but it’s my goal for motherhood.

    Favorite Hero: Wonder Woman. She was intelligent, beautiful and strong.
    Real Woman Favorite Hero: I am blanking. That makes me sad. Maybe Amelia Earhart or Sappho. Bitches had moxie.

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  52. aaahhhhh i could not agree with you more. Disney ain’t never gonna be no harbinger of feminism and i thought Brave was lame at best even before they tarted up Merida and made her an official Disney Princess. AS EXPECTED.
    too many women who are heroes to list… but i’ll say that for recent kids’ movies, Dreamworks gets it way more right than Pixar/Disney for representing girls. I vote for Astrid (How To Train Your Dragon) and Vannellope in Wreck-It Ralph.

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  53. Honestly, one of my favorite heroes is Jenny Lawson. You’ve shown me through your blog and book that being quirky and geeky are completely awesome and not a reason to feel awkward in your own skin. And also, because you know that your family is perfectly imperfect and make us all feel like part of your family by sharing your stories with us.

    Thank YOU, Ms. Jenny!

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  54. Serious answer? Sandra Day O’Connor, because I started my law career something like 40 years after her, and it still sucked to be a woman in the “old boys’ club.” I can’t even imagine how she did it.

    Less serious answer? Katniss Everdeen, because she can shoot arrows and kick ass and restore political balance in a post-apocalyptic world, even if the last book was a bit of a letdown.

    Also (serious answer)? You, because, well, of everything.

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  55. Margaret Sanger for sure. Where would we be without the Pill and Planned Parenthood? We wouldn’t be headed to the white house in 2016 that’s for sure.

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  56. Rose Valland. She’s a heroine and an ass-kicker and we don’t talk about her nearly enough. Girlfriend was a spy in an occupied French museum in WWII and managed to collect enough information to save 20,000 works of art from destruction by the Nazis and then return them to their owners. Go read about her. Go. Now. http://www.monumentsmenfoundation.org/bio.php?id=296

    (How have I never heard of her? Clearly I need to read more. ~ Jenny)

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  57. Temperance Brennan! Both in book form and TV form. Emily Deschanel (sp!) as well, just for playing a socially awkward, strong, beautiful woman who kicks ass and doesn’t care about taking names.

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  58. Growing up I didn’t really have any female heroes. I always looked up to my grandmother though.

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  59. Blurg. I didn’t even know this was a thing. Isn’t Disney’s whole deal about making it perfect?? Perfect princess, perfect prince, perfect endings. I don’t see the BFD, but I asked my two boys, ages 7 & 9, their opinion and they picked original Merida, because new Merida looked like an alien or a vampire.

    Any woman is heroine material.

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  60. Okay, i totally want a Marie Curie lunch box! Thanks for sharing Stephanie!

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  61. Let’s see, so many, and in no particular order…. Rosa Parks, Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth I,

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  62. Sailor Moon was my favorite super hero growing up. Don’t judge me.

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  63. I heard, and I am not trying to stir the hornets nest here, but I heard that the New Merida’s clothes are Ambercrombie and Fitch.

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  64. My daughter’s last three teachers have been amazing, and they’re all women. Our vet really intrigues my daughter too and yup, she’s a she too.

    My wife and I point out that all of these successful women were just like she is right now. They were all in fourth grade studying their state capitals and playing softball or practicing violin in school, and they all wanted to play outside but had to do homework sometimes instead. I’m off track, but the point was that there are great women in our daughter’s life and always have been. She needn’t look any further than her own mother who works full time and keeps the rest of us in line so the household doesn’t fall into shambles.

    Maybe we’re shitty parents, but my daughter has never giving two craps about Disney princesses in her life. People who even noticed the differences in the two dolls or drawings or whatever they are should probably find a hobby. My daughter saw the movie, I never have. I asked her to tell me the differences she noticed int he two above Merida characters and she said the one with the bow and arrow looks “kinder” and prettier. I don’t know what that means. Maybe the newer version isn’t as hot as everyone thinks.

    Preach on madame Bloggess.

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  65. What a great, fantastic, sensible perspective. I love when people choose to teach vs. rant about a topic. Your daughter is incredibly lucky to have you. This is one more way that your actions show me that you love being a mom and made that choice understanding you would have a lot of work to do (and couldn’t leave that work to others).

    My female hero… Catwoman!

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  66. I’m glad you wrote about this, but I think more people cared than you think – AV Club says Disney is pulling the makeover: http://www.avclub.com/articles/disney-quietly-nixes-its-gussied-up-version-of-mer,97793/

    (They quietly took the new Merida off their website but it’s suspected she’ll still show up on merchandise. She’s still all sparkly and tarty on the Target website. ~ Jenny)

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  67. You. Seriously. I was trying hard to think of who that might be (because there is actually a huge shortage of heroes in my life) but then it occurred to me that you come closest to filling that role. Sorry. No pressure.

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  68. I’m going to say Susan Niebur, @whymommy.

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  69. Helen (effin’) Keller.

    NOT a movie star or cartoon. And she didn’t give a damn what she looked like nor did anyone else for that matter.

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  70. Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones. Not only is she the mother of Dragons, she doesn’t take shit from anyone around her!

    Like

  71. My mom, my Gram, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (although my mom and gram could very easily been slayers too now that I think about it…)

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  72. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hands down. Funny and smart is a sexy ass combination. And as for taking anyone’s shit, I doubt it. Come to think of it that sounds a lot like you as well Jenny. That must be why you are up there on that list too.

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  73. There are a lot of great women in this world that I admire, but I have to say that right now, Allie Brosh and yourself are my favs. You both have taken a lot of crap in your lives in the form of depression/ill health and are still mostly functional, very inspirational, successful women. I applaud you both for that. When things in my life go to pieces I think about you and Allie. Y’all remind me that even the most broken person is capable of greatness. (Not that y’all are broken. You’re just…aw hell, you know what I mean. You and Allie rock. The End.)

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  74. I’m kinda looking forward to the “Slutty Merida” Halloween costume—it will go great in my closet, right next to “slutty unicorn” and “slutty tootsie roll”.

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  75. I concur with the Buffy comment. My favorite interview moment in history is when Joss Whedon was asked why he keeps making strong female characters. His response? “Because you’re still asking me that question”.

    We’ve come along way, ladies. And part of that is realizing that we can kick ass like the old Merida, and still LOOK like the new one if we want to. “I want to be a f**cking feminist and wear a f**cking peter pan collar. So what?” -Zooey Dechanel

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  76. My wife is a special education teacher in an inner city school, she has dedicated her life to teaching the kids society has already given up on. It is a job that gives her great joy,but just as much, if not more pain both mental and physical. Its a job with very few thanks and even fewer resources. Yet she always approaches her work with professionalism,passion and dignity. Think that qualifies for hero status.

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  77. My daughter is only 10 months old, but every day, I get her ready to go to school, go to work, and then, at the end of a long day, I come home to her (and her dad) and we play. Because that’s what strong women do. (I hope that’s how she eventually sees it, anyway.) My grandmother, who raised my dad as a single parent, taught me that.

    The Merida thing is a bit overblown. But, on the other hand, what the hell were the execs at Disney thinking when they started down the path of tarting up a character whose entire point was to not be that way?

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  78. Courtney Love! Just kidding…. My mom! She is brave and strong and when she was in the mist of chemotherapy treatments she didn’t complain once! She is pretty amazing and a breast cancer survivor!

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  79. My mom! Totally and always, 100%. She has always taught by example… and though sometimes they were bad examples, like don’t lose too much of yourself in a relationship, but mostly they were good examples, like how to fix stuff and get things done instead of waiting for a man to do it for you, how to love your kids without spoiling the snot out of them, how to make delicious food, and how to move on when life gets hard — although after my dad died, I think we took turns leading by example on that one.

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  80. New Merida made me mad, mostly because as a girl with insane curly red hair I take offense to her suddenly very styled mane.

    As for teaching daughters about real inspirational women, I assume you’ve seen this? http://www.jaimemoorephotography.com/2013/05/09/not-just-a-girl/
    Brilliant.

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  81. I hate that they did this, but I agree with you that it’s our responsibility as parents to teach our kids about these sorts of things. OH, and I love Rosa Parks! I’d have sat right beside her on that damn bus!

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  82. When I was a kid, my hero was Menolly the Harper from Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series.

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  83. Yes. YES. thank you. The Abercrombie and Fitch uproar has me saying the same thing. If we are waiting for retailers to make us feel good about ourselves, we are going to be waiting a LONG. DAMN. TIME.

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  84. You are one of my personal heroes. If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of being introduced to a group of women (and a few brave men) who listen to me when I am in dire need of listening too. The Lawsbians have saved me many many times. So thank you.

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  85. Jo March FTW. Ok, or Katniss….Maybe Beatrice from “Divergent” or if we’re being ridiculously honest, which I assume we are…Cat from “The Night Huntress” series.

    I know, I know….but the books are fucking awesome and she is too.

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  86. I really don’t see that much of a difference, tbh.

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  87. Since I play ice hockey (goalie) I’d have to say Manon Rheaume and Angela Ruggiero are some of my heros. The nice thing is my 10 year old daughter sees me playing and for the first time this year asked if she could play too. One of her favorite celebritys is Tina Fey and she has on more than one occasion said she’d like to be a comedy writer.

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  88. 91
    Jennifer D

    Have you seen this? Because it’s freaking awesome…

    http://www.jaimemoorephotography.com/2013/05/09/not-just-a-girl/

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  89. My daughter is 4. Her dentist asked her who her favorite princess was. She gave him a confused look and answered, “Me!”

    She knows “princesses” as an abstract concept, but hasn’t seen most of the movies. Disney isn’t doing themselves any favors by locking the movies “in the vault” so even used DVDs are $40 and up, honestly – I’m not paying that much money for any DVD that doesn’t have a family member acting in it.

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  90. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Pretty? Yes. Strong? Yes, but not always. And that’s the kicker. That’s why she has her friends. (Also? Pretty much any female character created or written for by Joss Whedon.)

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  91. My female hero in fiction is definitely Dagny Tagget from Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’. She was fiercely independent and stood up for what she believed in. She stepped over her own family’s toes to do the right thing and see her vision through. She kicked some ass.

    In real life, my grandmother hands down. I would honestly probably ended up a drug addict or prostitute if it hadn’t been for her. She also showed incredible bravery as a young woman by moving to the US from England after WWII with a new born baby and travelling by train across the country to meet up with her newish hubby, my granddad. I’m honored to have been named after her and I live everyday thinking ‘WWGD?’ because I want to make her proud.

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  92. The princessization of our girls makes me sad. But there is SO much else to teach our kids about…why it’s wrong that kids go hungry…why sometimes babies die…those two salamanders in the pond weren’t “fighting.” Teaching ALL our kids, no matter their gender, to give a shit about the world, and to convince them that, mostly, probably, the life they lead is so priviledged that 90 percent of the kids in the world can’t even imagine it, THAT is what is important. Merida is a little lesson. And little lessons matter. But the big lessons are the ones we need to concentrate on.

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  93. Ellen Degeneres. I know she’s not a fictional character or cartoon (though she did play the role of a cartoon fish), but seriously, she’s my hero. She’s strong, courageous, funny, compassionate, and kind.

    You’re pretty high on the list, too, Jenny.:)

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  94. Oh! Not sure if you saw this but I think it fits right in. I love it. http://www.jaimemoorephotography.com/2013/05/09/not-just-a-girl/

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  95. River Song! Hands down my newest most favorite female.:)

    My kids are older and I raised very strong women. Not sure how I did it but I did! And that makes me happy.

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  96. As a Wiccan, I have to remind my god-daughter that Disney does not even know what a real witch looks like. And a witch is the ultimate in what a powerful woman can be–once you take away the evil that some people think that all witches engage in. Honest, most witches are really nice people, a little heavy on the tree and cat hugging, but really nice.

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  97. I don’t understand why people have their panties in a bunch over this… I see no leg… No cleavage… Just a cartoon version of this character. There are going to be differences between the cartoon versions and the Pixar versions… And not to mention… Look at all the other Disney princesses.. They show a lot more skin than this… Are people throwing a tizzy over them too? I think it’s really dumb… My kids watch the Disney princess movies and don’t dress slutty have a sexist view on them at all. These movies are just make believe fantasy stories for children and the adults I believe are the ones planting the seed to point out what things may or may not look like. Do you think that most kids notice or even care?! Mine don’t. People need to get over themselves and find another soap box to stand on.😉

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  98. I may be the outlier, but my only issue wit the new picture is how pointy her feet are. They look so uncomfortable, and no woman likes to be uncomfortable.

    My female hero is my mom. But if I couldn’t choose her, than Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas (founder of Orangutan foundation international)

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  99. 102
    Catrina_woman (@sccvespa)

    Joan of Arc, Rosa Luxemburg and Grace Hopper, who developed the first compiled computer language AND has a Navy destroyer named after her. (how fucking awesome is that?).

    I have never liked Disney from even a young age because they always seemed to infantilize and sexualize girls and women. Yes, my daughter went through the Disney Princess stage and grew out of it eventually. She’s now a strong 20 year old who comes from a long line of very strong women (my great-grandmother was one of the Silent Sentinels..) so yes, the example you set is more important than the propaganda Disney feeds.

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  100. 103
    Aramis Troche

    Seconded, Hermione Granger. Adding Luna Lovegood. She has my favorite kind of quiet courage that cuts through bullshit and says, “This is the right thing, so let’s just do it, okay?”

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  101. Amelie, or more accurately, Amélie Poulain. She’s an Hero for living life, for fixing wrongs, for putting people in touch with their needs and desires. She’s broken as well, which makes her all the stronger. She’s clever, imaginative, resourceful, and a little wicked. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0211915/

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  102. Hands down, Rosa Parks. I shudder to think what Disney would do with her!

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  103. I had a few personal heroes when I was growing up. They included women like Jane Goodall and Amelia Earhart. But one of my favorite made up heroines was Catwoman. And before anybody tries to make the claim that she’s a villain, let me head this off right now by saying: Read. The. Comics. Catwoman, while not being a superhero, was generally a neutral character. She wasn’t all bad or all good. She was human. She made choices, both good and bad. But when the time came to make important decisions, like whether or not to help a woman or child in need rather than steal a precious cat-themed artifact, she always chose to help (and then go back and steal the artifact later). Sure, she was oversexualized, that was the sad fate of women in comic books until very recently. But she didn’t take shit, she stood up for herself and others, and instead of doing things because people just expected her to, she put thought into her choices and did what she thought was right or important. To me, personally, that ranks her above most female superheroes who really only do the right thing because that’s what they’re just expected to do.

    Plus, she had a thing for cats. And so do I. If they ever wrote a comic about Catwoman in her elderly years she’d probably still be awesome. Snapping her whip at the help and watching them clean out the ten litterboxes lined up in her garage… Or she’d be on Hoarders. Either one..

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  104. My two cents on Brave – is that I really love that Disney finally gave us a character who didn’t have to pine away and marry a prince in order to be a princess. She was born a princess. She’s already one, in all of her awesome tom-boy, arrow-shooting, single-girl ways, and good for her.
    My own role-model and hero was my grandma, who married later in life, to a divorced and older man (scandal!), and who at the time was also her boss! I always loved that about them. She encouraged me to go to college, to travel, to be independent; and she was just as strong at (almost) 93 as I could ever hope to be.

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  105. I have a 2.5 yr old daughter, and I am sure she doesn’t even know the difference yet on what is strong and what is skanky – unless her daycare covers this, I’m 99% sure they don’t *making a note to follow-up with the daycare. Mark my words, she will know by my example of what is strong, acceptable, and respectable – not Disney. Does it make me wonder why Disney would change the character? Well, not really – profit. It’s a parents responsibility to teach our children, not Disney. They aren’t really helping the whole, unrealistic expectations of body image, but either has Matel with Barbie. So to answer your question, I will be my daughters hero, as it should be.

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  106. The only reason I see why it’s fitting (and forgive me if someone already said this) is because ALL of the Disney princesses got makeovers. None of them look like they did in their respective movies. I don’t see why they couldn’t keep the original images for ALL of them, but whatever. I don’t run Disney.

    As for my 5 year old twins, they like original Merida because “she has a dark blue dress.” So yeah.

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  107. Sarah Connor when she’s cocking that shotgun with one arm and blasting the hell out of the Terminator. That was amazing.

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  108. For me, if I had to choose. It would be Aunt Diana. While fighting ovarian cancer for the third time, she kept her head up and spirits high and was so brave in the face of everything. She spread love and humor to everyone who met her until the day she died last year. I can honestly say that without having her as my second mom, I would not be who I am today.

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  109. Hillary Clinton. Sandra Day O’ Conner. Rosa Parks.

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  110. I’m pretty sure that Skanky Merida is just the tip of the iceberg. Yesterday I was googling a product I saw on TV to get rid of some skin tags on my neck. ON MY NECK. Nearly every review I found was girls using it to get rid of skin tags around the anus because they’re “unsightly”. I had a hard enough time keeping up with the proper hairstyle in high school (for the hair on my HEAD), so this just makes me want to cry.

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  111. Thanks for writing about this – you have great points! Brenda Chapman is pissed, too.

    My heroine is Ashley Judd!

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  112. When I was a kid, it was Wonder Woman and Princess Leia, but then I realized that Wonder Woman did everything for that mindless Steve Trevor who was always getting kidnapped. Yawn. So, Princess Leia is is. Her boyfriend gets frozen in carbonite – she goes to get him. She gets chained up by a big slug – she chokes him with said chain. Pretty dang empowering. Of course, there’s the whole kissing of the brother thing that I just choose to forget.

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  113. I loved the movie because it was so pro-girl. The stupid doll is just stupid. You’re dead on.

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  114. My mom. I ended up following in her footsteps and am a second generation nurse. I’m pretty happy with that. Also, I love Belle. Cause she’s a bookworm. I love that she can make books cool for kids and wish that got played up more.

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  115. Princess Leia!

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  116. You!

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  117. The movie was a bit of a letdown for me. I fret that Disney has dirtied Pixar’s magic water. The merchandising that floods the wake of “Brave” is irrelevant.

    Having read your opinion, I find I am with you on all of this.

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  118. Just loving that you have Ada Lovelace on your list…

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  119. I agree – Disney comes off looking like corporate a-holes who don’t care about kids. I still think it’s reprehensible, but at the same time, a teaching opportunity.
    My favorite? Coco Chanel. And Tina Fey. Although this changes quite frequently.

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  120. I agree with you that Disney/the television/hollywood shouldn’t be raising our kids, my opposition to the tarted up version is that it’s taking someone who was created specifically to address the lack of healthy, strong female role models in mass-media (Ripley, Brienne of Tarth, and Sarah Connor being some of the rare exceptions), and making her yet another waifishly thin pretty young thing. Mass media which women are subjected to from the time they’re children, telling them “THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT TO BE” and fostering all sorts of unhealthy ideas, mental disorders, and low self esteem on the next generation (and the current generations!!) of women.

    So bully for you for using this as a teaching moment for Hailey, and rock on Hailey for recognizing that this isn’t okay, and lets all try to make the world a little better by being our own awesome selves and not taking crap about it or trying to remake others into some impossible image that magazines, tv, movies, etc throw at us.

    As for heroes, my friend’s daughter, when asked who her favorite princess is, said “Princess Leia.”😀

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  121. Disney re-did all their princesses. They look all tarted up and crappy. Those of us who are huge Disney fans have been complaining for months about the new artwork. Cinderella’s hair is hideous! My daughter saw them and instantly said “that’s not the disney princesses, must be a rip-off”. So, voting with money (which means more than a petition), we won’t be buying any new merch. I was especially angry that the dress up dress looks nothing like the nice green dress in the movie, since my daughter won’t wear all the “itchy” crinoline and glitter ones they sell now- we were hoping it would be softer.
    Problem is, that tons of fans wrote that they thought it looked fine- Disney fan pages were full of happy fans that thought I was crazy.
    Oh, and to the commenter who liked dreamworks-
    Wreck It Ralph is a Disney movie- Vanellope is a Disney character.

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  122. Not to be a kiss-ass here, but YOU are my favorite Female hero. You speak openly and honestly about both your quirks,and flaws, AND your accomplishments. You call bullshit where you see it.

    Should I had ever had a desire to spawn, I would have read your book to her. Your blog and articles would have been her first taste of the internet.

    You’re a wonderful example of how we are all a little bent, and that’s okay. We’re beautiful because of it, and in SPITE of it.

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  123. My grandmother is my hero. She overcame some incredible life obstacles; bucked societal expectations in order to be true to herself; dealt with discrimination; was a huge advocate for others; raised an incredibly loving family; and recently, at 91 years old, I watched her play skeeball with my 4 year old daughter at Chuck E. Cheese. She thinks she’s just normal but I know she’s amazing.

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  124. I’m not bothered by a female role model who looks sexy and embraces her sexuality. I’m bothered by MERIDA being skewed in that direction because that is basically the opposite of who she was. And there’s a major surplus of “sexy equals like, totally powerful” messages out there already. I love that Merida is a character girls can identify regardless of sexual orientation, because she isn’t crammed into the love interest omg you need a boy to be fulfilled narrative. Romance isn’t important to her and it shouldn’t have to be important to any girl if she doesn’t want it to be.

    But I think it’s important to recognize that as girls start to enter tween and teen hood, they be taught A. their bodies are okay and B. their sexuality is okay. I know it’s a crazy tangent at this point but I wish we could teach our kids how to be healthy without teaching them to be ashamed or to slut-shame.

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  125. 130
    barbara b

    My hero is Eleanor Roosevelt. And I’d give a thumbs-down to both versions of Merida. Did you see the movie? She sneaks her mom some potion/poison and watches gleefully as she goes through the excruciatingly painful and maybe deadly process of becoming a bear. I didn’t get the “brave” part of the story, except for her dad willing to go after a monster, who had already taken his leg, to save his family. The movie should have been called “Brat.”

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  126. Too many to name, I’m lucky to have a bunch of awesome female role models in my life. The first two that pop into my head are my Mom, she’s amazing and the one I don’t personally know (unfortunately) Betty White. That women doesn’t really care what people think she just does her thing. That is awesome.

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  127. Best female role model for young girls… the paperbag princess.

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  128. 133
    Poodles McGee

    I found these awesome photos on Tumblr the other day. A professional photographer did a series of photos of her daughter on her 5th birthday, cosplaying as Susan B. Anthony, Coco Chanel, Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller, Jane Goodall, and (my favorite) as herself.

    http://www.jaimemoorephotography.com/2013/05/09/not-just-a-girl/

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  129. 134
    Nuala Shields

    My maternal grandmother who traveled here alone as a young girl, leaving her entire life and family behind in rural Poland. My great aunt Kate who was driving her own car when most guys were still riding the trolley. My mom who grew up during the Great Depression and worked in a factory during WW2. My aunt Nell who in her 70’s bought a farm and had a canoe made so she could paddle it solo, and is now like 103. My friends who are survivors of violence. My two daughters who never cease to amaze me with their achievements, insight, and abilities. My gtranddaughters who at 6 and 2 respectively, are active, bright, and assertive girls who continue to remind me that there is hope for the world after all…

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  130. This one’s tricky. I asked my daughter to weigh in and she doesn’t like the new Merida, but wasn’t sure why. Then she ran to her room to show me her ‘new’ Merida doll (I’m maintaining my status as mom of the year here because I didn’t even know she HAD one.) She had changed the dress and her Merida is wearing a modest dress that makes it easier for her to shoot arrows in. My daughter didn’t like the old dress because ‘How is she going to shoot arrows with her dress falling off her shoulders?!?’ Grateful that my daughter is smarter than the execs at Disney, but not really surprised.😉

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  131. I’m a bit offended, but not in the direction you’d think. I’d rather women not be judged as “a little whorey” or “skanky” for wearing makeup and doing their hair. The problem with New Merida is that she was designed in explicit opposition to the character of Old Merida, in the wearisomely unsurprising direction of Moar Sexy, under the assumption that it was an improvement and would increase her appeal. But we can go to bat for Old Merida without condemning the women who look and dress like New Merida on purpose, under their own steam and for their own reasons.

    (Well said. ~ Jenny)

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  132. Tina Fey is totally my hero. I’ve loved her since the SNL days. Well, her and Daria.

    I agree and disagree with your point. I wasn’t offended by the change so much as disappointed. As Dana said, there are so many options already for skinny, half dressed princess characters. And the thing is, like it or not, most little girls will have some type of princess phase and it would be nice to have at least a few that don’t hold the stereotype. I don’t have a daughter, but I can see where this is all coming from because I feel like even having a son you run into a version of this. Violent characters, guns, etc. Muscle guys are dumb and real men are never sensitive and they don’t cry. And I’m going to have to deal with my son being involved in the media culture perpetuation of this in some manner whether I like it or not, unless I shelter him from it all. Of course we’ll be talking to him about it, but I guess my unfortunate point is what happens when it comes down to the toys we’ll be buying him and how that’s going to reinforce the belief that this is what little boys or girls want to have. I’m not articulating my point very well, but I guess I’m saying, nothing wrong with talking to your kids and also let the companies know that they’ve done something that stinks.

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  133. Don’t they do this with everything these days though? I mean, have you seen the new Strawberry Shortcake dolls? They were definitely not that “mature” when I had them as a kid

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  134. 139
    Sskipstress

    This week my female hero is the state trooper who did her job with an appropriate sense of humor amid the chaos at the procession/rally on Tuesday evening at the MN Capitol.

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  135. Rainbow Brite and She-Ra were my go-to childhood lady heroes. And the Care Bears, because it was hard to tell which ones were boys and which ones were girls anyway. Androgynous animals projecting harmony from belly tattoos… This could explain a lot about the way I turned out…

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  136. Temple Grandin…Different. Not less. She is the most amazing woman on the planet…and then my daughter, who is the most amazing young lady on the planet…and also has high functioning autism!!!

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  137. My 12-year-old daughter morphed into a sexpot (or caring about being looked at as what 12 year olds think a sexpot is) overnight. And why am I shocked? Because they are bombarded with messages. She is so very talented musically and intelligent and all she seems to care about these days is straightening her hair, borrowing our teen neighbor’s push-up bras and texting boys. I tell her about strong women and she rolls her eyes because I know nothing. I was blindsided by the whole thing but I’m on full alert now. Just wait.

    (I’m sure it’ll happen with Hailey sooner than I expect. I’ll just remind myself that expressing your sexuality is a normal, perfectly valid choice in life. And then I will lock her in the closet until she’s 21. ~ Jenny)

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  138. Hmmm, my baby girl went from a child-like innocent to a sexy woman, happens to most girls eventually. My beef with Disney is the dearth of good mamas for the female characters – Dumbo and Bambi had kick-ass mamas but they were fellas.

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  139. I don’t know–I liked Wonder Woman a lot when I was little–and also Supergirl and Aquaman’s wife Mera.

    When I was five, the first Barbie came out and I got my first one for my fifth birthday —and I was one of the few girls who got a Barbie (the one in the tiger bathing suit) right away–because we went to Presbyterian Church–and most of our neighbors were Catholic and the priest in their parish preached against Barbie–saying she gave little girls unrealistic expectations of what a woman looks like and would make them look down on their mothers.

    Most of their moms caved pretty quick tho. We all had Barbies within a few months and we played with them until we were too embarrassed because we were so big.

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  140. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t like the movie. I think if Disney/Pixar dropped the eye make-up, it would be better. She’s not exactly busty, but maybe her corset is a little tight in attempt to make up for that? Y’know, I’m a romance author and she’s a little gaudy for me. Give me your beaten, down-trodden, dressed in a hand-me-down sack pioneer woman any day. And add a tag when you take your kids to see a Disney movie: It’s just a movie. Take nothing away from it.

    But you know what? You’re right. I don’t really care. Star Trek is coming out this weekend. Now that’s entertainment news.

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  141. When I was a girl i was obsessed with Annie Oakley and I still love her. I never watched the old Hollywood movie though because she lost the gun contest in that even though she won in real life.

    My main heros though are my mom and grandmothers because they are all badass ladies who taught me to be strong.

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  142. Eleanor Roosevelt is my hero. “Do one thing every day that scares you” she said…and I do…and it is badass and awesome! Thank you for your perspective on this…it makes my heart sing:)

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  143. I think you’re a pretty incredible woman yourself. I’m also very lucky to have a strong, smart, courageous woman in my own life (a former professor of mine) who is an incredible role model to me and a very dear friend.

    And while we’re on the subject…

    Angelina Jolie is not BRAVE for having a double mastectomy. She is SMART for making an informed decision to be proactive about her health. An example of being BRAVE is my mother, who fought breast cancer for 8 years, died before either of her children hit puberty, and made every preparation she could to ensure that we would grow up being cared for, being loved, and being reminded of her. That woman was brave.

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  144. Every suffragette who fought for our right to vote, Margaret Sanger, and my mom who decided to celebrate her 80th birthday by hiking the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim in 13 hours (and my sister who gamely hiked with her– I just drove the car to pick them up on the other side).

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  145. Hands down… My Mom. I could never do what she did – especially not with the grace in which she did it.

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  146. When I was in high school (1986/87) one of my friend’s mother was in charge of our local school-related pagent (yes, I live in the south). She didn’t feel like she had enough contestants in the older age group…and as I had already volunteered to help (I dressed up like a clown to escort the little ones on and off the stage. Why has NO ONE figured out that clowns scare the shit out of kids?) Anyway, the friend’s mom enlisted me to participate…they loaned me a dress…I didn’t have to pay the entry fee. It’s the one and only pagent I’ve ever been in. I filled my paperwork out before hand and turned it in so the MC would have something to say about me. One of the blanks on the form was “Who is a woman you admire?” As the night wore on and other contestants did their turn, I noticed that 2 out of 3 girls answered that question with “Barbara Bush.” the others answered “My mother.” or, as this was the South, “My mama.” My answer was “Joan of Arc.”
    What can I say…I was a nerd and I’d recently been reading about Joan. I thought she kicked a lot more ass than the Silver Fox.

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  147. I think the new Merida looks like Victoria in Twilight 1 &2.
    My fave femme hero?
    Amanda Fucking Palmer, she is the embodiment of moxy.
    The Bloggess, for exposing all you quirks and foibles and causing me to ’bout wet my britches w/your humor!
    Oh, there are a few more but I’m tired and my brain is on pause.

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  148. OMG. First, your list, Jenny: YES!

    Second, some AWESOME additions in the comments – Kalinda! Daeneyrs! Temple Grandin! more! Helen Keller, mentioned by at least one other person, was also one of my childhood heroes.

    Third: my daughter, who is a most wonderful, giving, amazing (yeah yeah, yada yada yada – I know a lot of people feel that way about their own kids – but I have a collection of people who have come up to me to tell me what an angel she is in what she has done for others, so I get to say this:-) )

    Fourth? TOP OF THE LIST: YOU! (because you have done so much for others, just by being open, caring, allowing others to see inside you and share your pain – and joys – of daily living… for the Red Dress project; the Christmas Miracle; everything you post all the time. Thanks.

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  149. Eleanor Roosevelt “Do one thing every day that scares you” she once said…and I do. Thank you for your badass awesome perspective on this! You ROCK!

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  150. I think people and things are way too overly sexualized in today’s society. girls want to be viewed equal to men, but yet they wear short skirts and show off their cleavage. I am sorry, but that is not respectful. All it is saying, hey look at these, wanna f… Cover up ladies and be respected and you might actually be seen as someone who is smart, talented, funny rather than a sex object. This is something we definitely should not be allowing our kids to be part of.

    How about the Laura Ingalls and Amelia’s. How come we don’t have any of those kind of women around today.

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  151. Dawn Summers.

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  152. You have a valid point. And your point is not only limited to female characters but also to male characters as well. Do fathers or mothers unite when another more violent character is introduced by LEGO? Or do we react when family-friendly movies such as Cars or Kung-Fu Panda change into violent fight movies in their sequels. These are all products of some twisted adult minds. We, as parents, have to filter what is exposed to our children and how it is exposed.
    My hero is my mother and my grandmother. Even though we are completely different:)

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  153. The only thing I found offensive about this post was your description of your opinion as being ” big, fat, stupid, irrelevant, probably wrong, incredibly dumb and probably ill-informed”. I’m all for self-deprecation (funny’s funny) but in this case, if you truly want to encourage your readers to consider the image of “strong women”, it might have been a better idea to leave the self-deprecation at the door for this one. You are a strong woman. Your opinion is intelligent, relevant and informed. Why diminish its value by ripping yourself apart?

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  154. I don’t understand the fuss. They didn’t hike her dress up 6 inches and show her giving Mickey a blowjob. They fancied up her dress with some gold accents and gave her some make-up. Does that take away everything the character stands for? Is she not allowed to be conventionally attractive AND strong? Can only the plain princesses have values? If you want your daughters (and sons) to believe there is more to a woman than her looks, then maybe stop teaching them that looks are super important and strong, smart women can only look one certain way.

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  155. My mother, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers. Deep-loving, more-than-meets-the-eye, hugely compassionate, and just as hugely passionate women, each in their own right.

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  156. I want a The Bloggess lunch box!!!!!!

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  157. my daughter looked at the new Merida and said something along the lines of “I like her new sparkly dress” but then “they made her face and hair wrong and she should still have her bow and arrows and horse”. Then my 11 year old son with Autism looked at her and said “why did they put the wrong face on her? That’s stupid. They should get someone who knows how to draw faces better. And girls don’t have new faces just because they get older. Also Merida would totally be carrying weapons.” He assumed that the new Merida was simply an OLDER Merida, hence the new look. Then he said “I think they are trying to make her look sexy. Sorry mom, am I allowed to say that? because I think they are. Which is dumb because aren’t princesses supposed to be for little girls? Isn’t sexy supposed to be for grown ups?”. Then we had a good discussion about other extra cool girls/ women on TV/movies who didn’t need to dress sexy to be awesome such as Hermione Granger and Professor McGonagall and Molly Weasley who could seriously kick ass.

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  158. Pocahontas – the real one.
    Amelia Earheart.
    Ruby Bridges.
    Rosa Parks.
    Kim Friele. (LGBT fighter in my country)

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  159. I’ve been thinking about this a bit since several of my friends have weighed in. First, I want to draw attention to the fact that not all women look the same. So while Disney and other produces of movies, TV shows etc, cast females in roles that seem to equal unattainable beauty – it is not only what sells, but there are actually women out there who are that stereotypical beauty whether they buy it or not. I’ve seen plenty of reverse hatred for being “skinnier” – words like eat a hamburger come to mind and “skinny b1tch”. Women should quit ragging on each other period. It’s a huge issue. If more women stuck together rather than chewing up any perceived “weakness” we might actually present ourselves as actual – dare I say it – women. When I say women I mean the fact that all women are different. Some of us are skinny, beautiful by the book, heavier, not typical, smart, dumb, wise, foolish, talented, mediocre etc. So these Disney princesses do represent something in looks – $ for one. That is true of any television/movie etc. 2nd there are women who fit these types of looks. 3rd a very important thing we’ve all missed is how positive some of these characters really are versus their Disney male counterparts. Think about it – the princess movies show girls that are brave, independent, intelligent, heroic, fierce, sassy, witty, sexy, bold, daring – they go after what they want – they don’t take no for an answer – they buck patriarchal stereotypes. Look at the few male dominated Disney movies – Cars, Toy Story, Bambie – We have egomania, abandonment issues, delusions of grandeur, and idiocy. In the Black Cauldron that girl runs circles around that boy. The male figures in these movies have to “grow up” often times and learn realistic and thoughtful actions (even Aladdin who treats Jasmine like a thing). Yet, the females are amazing in character.

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  160. I grew up in Germany and I have to honestly tell you we didn’t have any role models staring at us from TV, we only had three channels:) it was a waste of time to even sit in front of that thing. The word role model never really entered my conversations until I came to the US. My mother and grandmother were normal hardworking women but I don’t think we had such a huge debate about role model, they did what they did and they told me that if I screwed up I was going to get my ass handed to me, the neighbor down the street and across the street told me the same thing. My point is, kids need strong parents that give a fuck and don’t look to TV to do the job for them and my kids could care less wether or not some disney princess gets a slut makeover, they don’t care about the princesses, they are outside playing competitive sports and knocking the crap out of each other until it is time to come in. Too much weight is put onto these imaginary figures and I thank you for pointing that out.

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  161. river tam!

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  162. Leslie Knope.

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  163. 169
    linzarelli

    Flo Nightingale, Anne Frank, Hillary Clinton, my best friend Megan, Natalie Portman and I’m sure some other ladies. And Jenny Lawson for reminding us depression lies.

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  164. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

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  165. I have a couple.
    That I haven’t met (yet): you, Jen Lancaster, Cheryl Strayed, Tina Fey, Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, Amy Pohler (what can I say, I admire smart and wicked senses of humor)
    Those who have passed: Maria Tallchief, Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn
    That I actually know: my mom, my maternal grandmother, and all of the strong women I know who have started their own businesses or established themselves as experts in their fields.

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  166. Denise Richards. For putting up with Charlie Sheen’s dumb ass for too long, and now watching his kids.

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  167. Rosa Parks, Tina Fey, my Nana, and Susan B. Anthony.

    (It’s interesting to see women that claim to be feminists using degrading language toward one another. The term “bitches” might need to be gone for good. It’s not helpful or positive. I will definitely not be using that term when teaching my 7 year old about strong women and respect toward people.)

    (I’m ambivalent on “bitches”. My favorite Tina Fey quote is “Bitches get shit done.” She’s totally right. ~ Jenny)

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  168. Just when I think your Whovian self can’t be any cooler, you go and mention Ada Lovelace. She is one of a few namesakes for my daughter.

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  169. So what’s wrong with being a little whorey? I mean looking a little whorey…
    Is she whorey becasue she is hot? Or because her waist is so narrow. You mention Wonder Woman, Linda what’s her name was a beauty queen with a narrow waste too. I loved WW growing up! She had boobs and and hips and beat up guys. Awesome role model!
    The problem in what’s her names new look is the exaggeration of body image and people’s fucking super sensitivity to exaggeration of female body image. It has been done for thousands of years. Go look at your college Art History text book and you will find along with french cave paintings little stone sculptures of fat chicks from practically pre-historic times! If you ask me the new Lass is headed in a better and more adaptable direction than the anorexics you see on Fashion magazines and runways.
    It’s a cartoon not a reality show (God forbid!). If you want our girls to have a good self image and better self esteem, start with them then images presented to them will follow their lead.
    Beside, since America’s obesity problem is boarding on epidemic, I bet there are more full figured ladies that could relate better to the new version rather to the previous skinny bitch anyway.
    Representing D cups everywhere yo!

    (For me, it’s the face that makes me uncomfortable. It’s hard to explain but that come-hither stare is what seems so unsettling to me. I could see propositioning the new Merida. Someone propositioning the old Merida would be freaking gross and would feel illegal. I think that’s the difference. But I’m all for representing the D-cups. Although I have to say that as a D-cup myself, it’s fucking hard to shoot a bow. I had boob bruises when I was younger and was learning how to use a bow. But crossbows are awesome for all boobs. Sorry. Totally off thread here. ~ Jenny)

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  170. Temple Grandin….and my mom:)

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  171. 177
    Victoria

    If i were to be frank, i’d have to say that none of the other Disney princess’ are suitable role models for children, so why should Merida be any different? Think about it, Bell in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ teaches our children to stay with an abusive partner because if you love him enough, give him enough, then maybe, just maybe, he’ll turn into the prince you always dreamed of. The ‘Little Mermaid’ tells us that men don’t want to hear what a women thinks, it’s more important to be beautiful (this is actually a quote in the movie, believe it or not) and that even if you show up for dinner at his parent’s house for the first time and try to brush your hair with the fork, it’s not insane – as long as your beautiful. and Snow White…well all I can say is who the hell finds a cottage in the forest and decides it would be great fun to clean it, and then decides it would be even MORE fun to stay and cook and clean for the seven men who live in the cottage? Disney has always had a skewed vision of what a woman should be. I’m not saying that children shouldn’t watch Disney movies, they are creative, and adventurous and fun, but it is important to talk to children about the underlying messages.

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  172. I really like Rosalind Franklin, who basically discovered DNA, had the find stolen from her by her male coworkers and is only now posthumously getting the credit she deserves.

    Marie Curie, Ada Lovelace, Julia Howe, Margaret Sanger, Margaret Mead, Gloria Steinem, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Warren…and all of the women who have advanced us further with their contributions.

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  173. 179
    Lisa Higgs

    Barbara Gordon all the way. She wanted to be a detective, but her dad said no. What does she do? Puts on a costume and fights crime anyway as Batgirl. She didn’t do it for vengeance, or because her parents were dead. She did it because she wanted to be a hero. Then she got shot and paralyzed. Did that stop her? Nope. She became Oracle, the one every super hero calls when they need information. She founded the Birds of Prey, the kickassingest team to ever grace comics. Barbara Gordon. I have shoes with her on them, I have a sketch of her on my wall. She’s strong, she’s smart, and she doesn’t take no for an answer.

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  174. Fictional female — Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica. She rocks it.

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  175. Mostly, cats. Because TRY AS I MIGHT I have never been able to lick my own butt.

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  176. I didn’t know about this and am disappointed bc I love Brave! First movie we our daughter too. But there are bigger issues out there. Anyway, two of my heroes….Julie Andres and Carol Burnett. Love them!

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  177. Harriet the Spy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Minerva McGonagall.

    Elenor Roosevelt, Jane Goodall, Charlaine Harris.

    I actually have no idea what kind of person Ms. Harris is in her life, but she writes kick-ass books. I want to do that to.

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  178. Portia DeRossi – Ellen’s wife and a mental health/eating disorder advocate and survivor. If you haven’t read her book about overcoming her eating disorder with a fantastic discussion of how utterly f’ed up Ally McBeal was, you really, really should.

    Other heroes – Madonna – we wouldn’t be laughing at your sex columns without her; Sandra Day O’Connor; Tina Fey; Barbara Boxer; and Susan B Anthony (although she’d be horrified at our current state of political affairs in both parties).

    Like

  179. Thankfully in my opinion Disney has already made the new sexy version go away.

    Any woman who stands up and says she is an independent soul with her own voice. Whatever she may look like, whatever she may wear, however she expresses herself. If I can hear HER voice, then that’s a strong woman. (I hope that makes some sense.)

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  180. I have nothing valuable to add to this conversation…but I wish that the Real Housewives of Disney was a real show…

    http://www.gossipcop.com/real-housewives-of-disney-snl-video-princesses-snow-white-cinderella-belle-saturday-night-live-2012-watch/

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  181. Elizabeth Blackwell

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  182. I have to say, one of my first thoughts on this topic was, what an excellent talking point for parents & kids. But then, I don’t have kids and I hate the whole Disney princess concept and wish it would go away. So what do I know.

    My hero, the woman I would most like to emulate in my life (even though she’s younger than me, yikes!) is Rose Tyler. She had courage in the face of monsters and aliens, compassion for people very different from herself, and wasn’t afraid to stand up to ‘the boss’ even though he was so much older and smarter and more experienced than she was. She knew she had something to offer and wouldn’t be shut down. And she enjoyed the heck out of life in the meantime, trying new things, never knowing how it was going to turn out.
    Courage, compassion, doing the right thing even when it hurts, loving your life and the people in it: something to aspire to.

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  183. Brittany Gibbons is my hero, for teaching a shit ton of women, myself inculded, to embrace themselves. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

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  184. The drawing was from concept art that was done for merchandising even before the character design was finalized for the film. A lot of things changed, were chosen and thrown out.

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  185. 191
    Jennifer

    I am my own damn hero, because I am fucking amazing.

    I’m teaching my two daughters by example. They’re going to be kick-ass women when they grow up.

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  186. Honestly, the before doll isn’t all that attainable either. Who gives a fuck. Childhood is about dreaming of sparkles, sand castles and fairytales. Real life will bitch slap’em soon enough.

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  187. Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series is one of my favorite fictional characters ever – smart, strong, and she travels through time.:-)

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  188. 194
    MelissaG

    Umm, checked out of Disney at about “Sleeping Beauty”–the high squeaky voices got to me. The kids get their Disney at school–there’s a rant there too. The first heroine that popped into my head is Elizabeth Zimmermann.

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  189. My grandmother. She’s 95 now. She entertained the local Grand Dragon or Wizard or whatever the KKK calls their leader in her livingroom and served him lemonade while the rest of his gang burned a cross on her front yard for giving a black man a ride home in the back of her truck after a long hot day of work. Grand Wizard didn’t know she knew exactly who he was, so she made him feel quite foolish when she ushered him out in the middle of the cross burning while arm and arm with him. She also didn’t let fools like him tell her how to treat people – and continued treating all her employees like humans no matter what their color.

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  190. I honestly don’t care. Never saw the original movie. I’m lucky my daughter is 21 and can make up her own mind. I think most kids won’t see a big difference. It’s the adults who have the problem. And forget Disney. Pixar is the future!

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  191. My heroes are some of the friends I have now – strong, smart women who are making their way with kids in tow and doing it beautifully. There are so many fantastic role models out there!

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  192. I’m in the I kinda don’t care category. I get it but I’m like ehhh. And I like what your 8 year old said. Disney totally makes all their evil characters have tons of makeup on look more voluptuous. To me she looks like Merida as an older cougar.

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  193. Fictional Heros: CJ Cregg from the West Wing and Julia Sugarbaker from Designing Women
    Actual people: Eleanor Roosevelt, Tina Fey, and working moms who also volunteer to help with kids’ stuff even though they have absolutly no time but can’t stand the thought of kids not having good extra-curricular actitivities.

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  194. My great grandmother ran into her house, which was on fire, and she saved all 4 of her children. The baby, Archie, was sleeping in his crib upstairs, and she went up to get him. Threw him out a window to awaiting arms. My great Grandmother Eulia Sinclair died 3 days later from burns in Easton Maryland at the hospital. Even today, there would be nothing they could do for her. She was held back, told not to get Archie, but she broke free and sacrificed herself.
    I have a photograph of her wearing a very silly hat full of flowers. She doesn’t look like a hero, she looks like she had bad taste in hats. She also had bad eyesight, glasses perched on her nose.
    I sometimes wear silly hats, and can’t see a thing without glasses. I’m here to do that because of her sacrifice. Every day I have, and every day my children have, is a gift from Eulia.
    She was only 22years old.

    http://twodifferentgirls.com/2013/04/21/the-joy-of-the-lost-art-of-wearing-hats/

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  195. Strong women look like Elizabeth Warren!
    I love that you bring up the idea of missing an opportunity to talk to your kids about this stuff. I think it’s a mistake (within reason, of course) to “protect” your kids from everything you might disagree with. It’s a great opportunity to provoke thought, and to let them know where you stand, and why.

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  196. Portia DeRossi – Ellen’s wife and a mental health/eating disorder advocate and survivor. If you haven’t read her book about overcoming her eating disorder with a fantastic discussion of how utterly f’ed up Ally McBeal was, you really, really should.

    Other heroes – Madonna – we wouldn’t be laughing at your sex columns without her; Sandra Day O’Connor; Tina Fey; Barbara Boxer; and Susan B Anthony (although she’d be horrified at our current state of political affairs in both parties).

    Oh, and of course – Jo Rowling for giving us Hermione and the rest of the HP world where being a girl makes you smart and kickass and Anne Rice for giving us a world where the men are vain and cloying and the women are smart and successful (the Witching Hour series in particular has much, much stronger women than men).

    And finally, Princess Di – for giving up being queen because her husband was a cheating ass and she wouldn’t put up with it, and for teaching her kids in the time she had with them that power equals obligation to do good.

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  197. My mom is my hero. And she’s built like a 12 year old…boy.

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  198. 204
    E M Foster

    Bravo, Jenny!! You’re right! I’m lucky. I have access to Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter whenever I feel like taking my daughter to see her and explain why she is extremely important. As a six-year-old, my daughter could care less right now, but that will change soon enough.:-)

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  199. I didn’t have a problem with the new Merida… I think the only thing once I was forced to really LOOK at it is the waist size (but since when have cartoons been accurate) and feeling a bit sad at the loss of innocence in that face (love the evil twin comparison!). Otherwise, I liked the rendition and dress and everything artistically. Speaking of skimpy- have you seen what wonder woman wears? (I obviously am not familiar with the story behind her- was never into comics, but I find it funny that there are so many comic characters that are much more skimpily attired than Medira… but I think it’s probably more because this is a children’s character.)

    No idea if any of that made sense. I completely agree that we should be talking to our children and giving them REAL examples and not relying on the media to give an accurate depiction of normal and what to strive to be…

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  200. For years, I have said I wanna be Aunt Meg from Twister when I “grew up”.

    She was such a cool old broad. Love her.

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  201. My mom is my superhero because she’s a determined fighter. And my mother-in-law is too. My MIL is a warm hearted giver. She will give anyone anything they need. Like a kidney. Like SHE GAVE MY MOM A KIDNEY. My daughters know that they have one grandmother who is alive because of the gift from their other grandmother. My kids don’t need superheroes because they saw THAT. In the flesh. They saw a dying woman come back to life, because of the generosity of another woman.

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  202. As a child my hero was Mortisha Addams. Don’t laugh. She always made time for her children, encouraged their creativity, and she stood up for them when she needed to. As an adult I would say my hero is a woman I “met” online named Christina. I have a son who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about a year and a half ago. She’s a mom with two kids who have type 1 diabetes (a third who may wind up being diagnosed as well) and whenever I feel overwhelmed or like I’m going to fall apart I think of her. She handles things with the patience of a saint, also stands up for her kids, avocates for education about diabetes, and tries to help others. In my small little world, she is my hero. :)

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  203. Great point. My favorite hero is Ani Difranco. She didn’t give into the big bucks of selling out and instead started her own music label so she could make her own music. And once that became successful, she signed other artists to her label so they could make their music too.

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  204. 210
    Kitty Conner

    Each and every woman I can think of who’ve ever demonstrated and taught kindness. Who were truly kind. My grandmother, my best friend, Leslie Knope and Anne Shirley (fictionally)

    Because kind is the best we can hope to be, as women and as men. Kind doesn’t mean soft or sweet. Kind doesn’t have to be brilliantly intelligent or particularly funny. To be kind is to be the action/reaction someone needs, without betraying or hurting yourself to provide it. Kindness is words and deeds. It’s comforting white lies AND loud painful honesty. It’s boundless enthusiasm and generosity AND knowing when to give up and shut up. It is never deliberately embarrassing someone. It’s apologizing for wrongs and standing up to give ’em hell for what is right. To be kind is to be good to others, without expecting anything in return. I think being kind is the exact best thing any person can be. But being kind also recognizes that another person may think the exact best things is ambition, or creativity, or whatever.

    I have no desire to be famous and the universe certainly can’t guarantee me happiness, but if I can look back on my life and say that I was a 1/10th as kind as Anne Shirley or my grandmother, it will be a life I was proud to live.

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  205. My wife is my hero. She’s super-intelligent (two degrees in chemical engineering), super-kind, has a successful career, and is able to raise two beautiful children. My daughter loves her some Disney princess, but she knows who her real hero is.

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  206. I totally agree! I don’t have kids, but I do feel like people get too hung up on what media is putting out there instead of just addressing it with their kids. Kiddos are smarter than we give them credit for!

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  207. 213
    Mara Rabb

    I like the original Merida much better. My favorite heroines are the women in the Armed Forces.

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  208. You, Jenny Lawson are my hero. You and my mother.

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  209. Lt. Ellen Ripley. Or Sally Ride. One’s fictional; both are badass.

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  210. Favorite female hero? Besides you?
    My wife. My daughters. My mom.

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  211. 218
    Shandeigh

    Honestly… I don’t think she looks that much different. They are a totally different artstyle… one is more cartoony and one is less so. I don’t see the “tarted up” part myself… she got a sparkly dress and some mascara… big whoop… it’s called being 14. It’s not like she’s wearing fishnet stockings and leather bustier.

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  212. 219
    phronsie

    When I was a little girl, I thought Laura Holt from Remington Steele was so very cool, because she was determined to be the boss, she wasn’t willing to let others tell her what she could do, her biggest asset was her brain, and she wasn’t afraid to get dirty. I watched the show recently, and I can’t believe all the causually accepted sexism the character had to deal with and that was just taken for granted, but nevertheless she was one of the characters that helped foster the idea for me that women can be strong and stand up for themselves. Oh, and also, Laura’s strength was based on and displayed by her intelligence and her basic maturity, instead of a superficial and annoying “sassy demeanor.”

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  213. You are my favorite female hero. I turn to your blog to either cheer myself up or to read what someone I can relate to has to say. Yesterday I found out that I have OCD (which is bizarre because I thought that was for wickedly organized people. I’m severely disorganized. I have sticky notes all over my desk, and sometimes legs.) On top of which, I suffer from depression. It’s not easy to cope with, and few people in my life understand.
    Also, another strong woman I know is my mother-in-law. She has gone through so much in her life, yet she still smiles, and knows how to make others smile. She’s also the voice of reason. I feel very fortunate to be apart of her family.

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  214. Maeby Funke.

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  215. Harley Quinn, hands down. Since I was a kid, I wanted to be/hang out with/dress up as Harley Quinn. Which worked out as I ended up with a dude who is equally loyal to the Joker but treats me with more respect than Mr. J typically shows Harley. I have to add you, too, as I’m sure other people above have done (I’m supposed to be working so I took the time to read your post but don’t have it for all of the almost 300 comments). You gave me right to be weird back, you gave me the realization that crazy doesn’t have to hide in the closet, although occasionally it does have to hide under a table. You were the first blog I ever read and I went back to your beginning and read every single corking post like a meth addict, and laughed harder than I had in forever, and cried, and found other blogs to read. Now I write nonsense on a silly blog while I find my voice again. So. You and Harley Quinn. Epic fucking superhero mash up:)

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  216. It was weird seeing her change because I thought she was cute to start but the makeover just seemed like she had grown up into an adult, I guess. And If you want to tart it up when you’re a grown up then that’s ok by me or don’t. My 3 kids didn’t even know any of this happened.

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  217. My favorite female hero is Georgia O’Keeffe. She blazed a trail, did things her own way, saw the beauty in ordinary things, and didn’t give a crap what others thought. She rocked and still does!

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  218. Just the other day I saw this and thought it was REALLY cool and if you’ve seen it already or is someone has already posted it then I’m incredibly sorry but seriously, you have over 200 comments on this post and I’m simply not reading them to see if someone else has posted it or maybe you have already but here… I thought it was cool.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2323795/Mother-shuns-Disney-Princess-ideal-dresses-daughter-REAL-heroines-history-commemorate-fifth-birthday.html

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  219. 226
    Tarah Delia

    Amy Poehler.
    Brilliant
    Beautiful
    Short
    AND funny!

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  220. As an advocate for victimes of crime and sexual violence, just mentioning Elizabeth Smart on your list of strong woman made me smile from ear to ear. So many people read your blog ! Awesome !

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  221. I know a lot of strong and brave women, but I’ve admired Aung San Suu Kyi for years. And I’d totally use a lunchbox with her on it.

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  222. I have two female heros! Katherin Hepburn by far is was an outstanding woman before her time!
    Then, there is you Jenny Lawson!!! Allowing the world into your life with all the good, bad and ugly things that have happened! You let others know it’s okay to Crazy and Stabby things, but let us all know we belong to your tribe! As for you blog today, you are on the money with this one!!! It’s a fantasy tat perpetuates girls having an image of the way things are to be when reality is it’s not! I say we take up a collection to feed that poor whorey creature!

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  223. I’m with Jessica S and vote Marie Curie, and also Rosalind Franklin, who never got the recognition she deserved (alongside Watson and Crick) for her work on the structure of DNA. As a woman scientist, I am reminded all the time about how much we owe those first women who broke into a man’s world for our presence in it now.

    On a less serious note, I agree this is a good chance to talk to your kids about the revised version of Merida – love your daughter’s idea that she is an evil twin, god woman you are bringing up that girl good! I hope if I ever have a daughter I do as well.

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  224. Abigail Adams, prototype for strong American women from the time of the Revolution. Today, Elizabeth Warren is starting to impress me a lot.

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  225. 233
    Aramis Troche

    Vanellope von Schweetz! She’s not my hero, but I love her for being a completely plausible little girl. It’s amazing how much that movie brought out my dad tendencies. I don’t have kids, unfortunately, but I’m a children’s librarian and as you can imagine I have a strong fondness for them. I wanted to go totally papa bear and destroy the world for making that little animated girl cry. Grrrr!:)

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  226. Alice Paul. Because she was a trouble-making suffragist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Paul

    Also civil rights hero Fannie Lou Hamer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fannie_Lou_Hamer

    And on the art side, Beatrice Wood: http://www.beatricewood.com/biography.html

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  227. My Grandma. She grew up in rural China in the early 1900s and didn’t take shit from no one. She eventually married and had 7 kids and when her husband (my Grandpa) had to travel for work she manned the family farm, which including fighting back when neighboring farms tried to take away their access to water. She was clearly the leader of our family and I just innately knew that from a young age. I am a strong woman today because of her. I miss her.

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  228. Malala Yousafzai. She is so brave and I love that she refused to let anyone stand in the way of her education. I’m currently pregnant, and I actually considered giving the baby the name or middle name Malala if it was a girl. (It’s a boy, and I’ll be naming him after my Dad, who taught me the fundamentals of being a strong, independent feminist).

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  229. I think at 4 years old my daughter doesn’t give a crap what Merida looks like as long as her dress remains blue and her hair remains red and curly.

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  230. Adele, Tina Fey, Hillary Clinton, Ellen Degeneres, Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Obama, Helen Miren, Caitlin Moran, Lady Gaga…..

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  231. I’m not that great with words. So glad others are. Hollie Mcnish, female poet, on why the sexed up cartoon is odd

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  232. Elizabeth the 1st

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  233. They changed her back and caved to the pressure. OK, bowed. But whatevs.

    I prefer old Merida. For sure.

    My mom is my hero. Cause she kicked cancer’s ass and won.

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  234. RuPaul.
    Inspires me to at least change out of my nightgown in the morning!

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  235. My 7yr old daughter. She’s battled illness all this year, and has come out stronger than ever. She inspires me daily. She can’t do our annual swim for cancer this year, so she’s decided to donate her hair. “Because I know what it feels like to be different, and if I can help one child, I’ll be happy.” She’s the super hero other super heros look up to.

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  236. Seriously, my hero was Lorna Cole from Lethal Weapon 3. Who didn’t want to be the female bad ass equivalent to Mel Gibson’s Martin Riggs? I still want to be Lorna Cole, even if I’m in a wheelchair, now. lol

    Like

  237. The point isn’t that parents are letting Disney teach their children, but that the normalization of sexualized female characters should be stopped. Same concept as the Hawkeye Project. The message that a female’s worth lies in her beauty needs to be stopped because no matter how much we teach our daughters differently, having this nonsense throughout society causes damage. For that reason, I was pleased to sign the petition and even more pleased that Disney has pulled this sexualized version.

    Like

  238. Lois Lane, Elizabeth Swann, Joan Watson (from Elementary) …

    And my mom.

    Like

  239. I agree completely, princesses are neat and all but I want my daughter to learn more important life lessons. There are all sorts of real life strong women for her to learn about and look up to, and that list includes a few who may have been princesses at one point.

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  240. 248
    Rachel Y.

    And suppose they had turned Princess Tiana into a white girl? Telling people to get over it is like telling African American mothers that they just need to be better role models for their own children and not expect corporate America to acknowledge the presence of darker skinned people when making their products. Merida started out as a tomboy, the anti-sexy. She was wild and free and she wanted to be useful, not just pretty. And she was created to show viewers that a wild, tomboy girl can be beautiful and skilled and wild and free. When they changed Merida to a sexpot, they changed not only her look but her *character* that had been established! They took the best of that character and made her just like all the other ones before. Yes, it’s fine to have pretty princesses. No one wants to argue that. But by making them *all* conform to one standard of beauty, Disney is saying that it’s the only way to be. They are saying that Merida wasn’t good enough as she was. We already love the character so seeing her bastardized in this way is disheartening. As a mother, yes, I serve as a role model to my kids. But I want them to see that there are other types of people in this world and to be surrounded by examples of such. So please, keep making interesting female characters and then DON’T CHANGE THEIR ESSENTIAL NATURE just so they are indistinguishable from the other Princesses. Love you, Jenny. :) Just because I talk back doesn’t mean I don’t respect your opinion.

    Like

  241. Any woman who is healthy, happy, and works to make this world a better place…whether that means she’s being a good example to her kids, or in a lab working on a cure for cancer, or feeding people in a refugee camp. And I think all of them need this tshirt http://skreened.com/glamfoxx/behind-every-successful-woman

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  242. I think it’s a cartoon character. Did they overly feminize/sexualize her in the new version? Yeah probably. It’s still a cartoon character. Teach your children to look up to real people.

    Like

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  243. I’m disappointed in your lack of commitment to offending me. I feel like you mailed that one in. I wasn’t even a little offended…not even slightly perturbed. I’ll give you a C- and that’s being generous because I read the most recent cat posts and they left me in a good mood.

    Like

  244. 253
    Finnaeus

    Anaïs Nin.
    She lived her life as she wanted, critics and rules be damned.

    Like

  245. Cammi Granato – for helping bring light to the world of women’s hockey.

    My mom – for teaching me to fight for equality and that women can be anything, and can have real careers even very male-dominated fields like engineering (her) or technology (me).

    Like

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  246. The next president of the United States, Elizabeth Warren.

    Like

  247. Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts.

    Like

  248. I always liked Wonder Woman as a kid. And I really like Felicia Day’s character Charlie on Supernatural.

    Like

  249. Two points. First, why are we so afraid of girls being sexy? I think changing the character is a douche move because they are saying the woman that kids loved isn’t good enough, but this idea that the problem is that the new one is more sexual just feeds in to the idea that girls and women shouldn’t be sexual, but it’s cool for boys. Slut-shaming does harm to girls and their development as sexually healthy beings, but it’s ok for boys to be virile and have buff role models because….well, why exactly?

    Second. My hero is Rose Grier, my third grade teacher. She taught me that math is fun, and it doesn’t matter if your handwriting sucks. She also told me that if people didn’t like me, it was more about them than me.

    Like

  250. 259
    Patricia K.

    My sister is my super hero. My Mom gave her up for adoption to give her a better life than she was able to give at the time. 18 years later my sister found us and rejoined our family. Then about 8 years ago she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. During that 8 years she continued to work as a teacher everyday that she could. She eventually got married and had a son who is now 5 years old. She continued doing all the things she loved right up until the day died, one day short of her 41st birthday, surrounded by friends and family both biological and adoptive. She’s my hero because even though doctors told her the cancer would kill someday, she never let it stop her from living her life to the fullest.

    Like

  251. 260
    Phil Rudolph

    to get back to the original question:
    you, my mother, my wife, my daughters, most of the women in my family, the first Nobel Peace Prize winner, Rep. Barbara Lee, and so many others that names escape me.
    Thanky

    Like

  252. Princess Elizabeth (a.k.a. the Paper Bag Princess). And Jane Goodall.

    Like

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  253. 262
    Anonymous

    If you want a great role model fora girl, I highly recommend Whale Rider. It’s a fantastic movie.

    Like

  254. 263
    Catharine

    Two real life women that I don’t think have been mentioned yet (sorry if they were and I missed it):
    Rosalind Franklin was the X ray crystallographer who helped Watson & Crick discover the structure of DNA. She didn’t get the Nobel Prize with them because she was dead of cancer from doing X ray crystallography. She was a woman scientist in the 1950’s at the absolute top of her field.

    Princess Diana did amazing work in the 1980’s with AIDS babies, back when others were afraid to be in the room with a person with AIDS. She used her real-life princess status to do wonderful humanitarian things.

    Like

  255. Scully from the X-files–smart, sensible but not afraid to cut into a dead body or pull out her gun when the situation calls for it.

    Like

  256. Bionic Woman.

    Like

  257. we watch charlie and lola and backyardigans. my kids don’t know the disney princesses at all, but we took them to the magic kingdom anyway. my four year old stood at the gate laughing- “why does the mouse wear no shirt and the duck wear no pants?” i stopped myself from answering “couple’s pajamas”.

    Like

  258. So many to think of, it’s difficult. My mom, who was an incredibly strong & tiny woman, standing at 4’11” at her best, and you did not want to fight her on anything.

    You, Jenny, for all the times you remind us that depression is a filthy liar, and helped me to help my daughter.

    Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. She kicked a LOT of ass. And got hers kicked back, but she kept coming back for more.

    Too many to list. So many wonderful women in this world.

    Like

  259. 268
    Revolos55

    Xena. Definitely Xena.

    Like

  260. Dora the Explorer – for busting female stereotypes by making a tubby Mexican girl who likes to hang out in the wilderness equal to Malibu Barbie in terms of backpack adornment popularity. On the negative side, the little twirp needs to turn Swiper into a stole and ditch the bangs.

    Like

  261. Right now, I’m pretty impressed with Angelina Jolie.

    Like

  262. Um … I like the new Merida. Maybe not in the role of Merida but hey … what do I know? I think she looks like a grown up version of the young girl. I don’t think she’s particularly scankie (stupid auto check kept correcting my word so I improvised). If we had seen this first version no one would have been the wiser and this would be a non-issue. I’m not sure it’s a real issue anyway. I don’t have any daughters or nieces or even young women near me to tell right or wrong from (I’m pretty sure God did that on purpose). I also agree with all you say. Parents should be teaching their children, NOT Disney.
    Even skankie girls need love ya’ll. I’m just sayin’.

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  263. I showed my daughter the gussied up version of Merida and she says, “UGH, what’s wrong with her?” I asked my son the same thing – he didn’t like the new one either and actually called her ugly.

    I think we as adults/mothers/parents have to teach our children the value of a strong woman. My daughter was given the opportunity to perform as anyone born before 1980 for a wax museum project. She chose Amelia Earhart. That really is one of her heroes.

    Jenny, you are my hero. Posting about your depression and anxiety has helped me deal with mine and be honest with myself about how to deal with them. I’m thankful that I found your blog. It seriously has guided me through a lot. Thank you for being so public about that stuff!

    Like

  264. Personally, I think you should be on a lunchbox. Because you are a hero.

    Like

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  265. Oh and you, my mama, LeAnne. My heroes. I feel like I should have listed Mama first but hey, the list is in no particular order.

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  266. “I-might-trust-her-to-babysit-my-kid-when-she’s-a-little-older Merida to get-the-fuck-away-from-my-husband Merida” THIS! THIS is exactly it!

    Female hero (or Shero, if you are so inclined…. 😉 right now. Malala Yousafzai

    Like

  267. Thought you and your readers would appreciate these illustrations of patron saints of strong female characters! http://www.themarysue.com/female-character-saints/#0
    All my heroes are on here.:)

    Like

  268. Apologies if this has already been posted, but did you see what this awesome mom did?

    http://www.today.com/moms/mom-helps-daughter-channel-icons-not-disney-princesses-1C9921545

    Like

  269. My favourite woman growing up was always Miss Piggy. Strong, sexy, takes no prisoners and has a wicked backhand!!!

    My second favourite woman was Maleficent.

    I have issues, I know. ????

    Like

  270. I agree with everyone above that said their female hero is you. You are definitely my hero. So is my grandma. Also, Wonder Woman. I loved Lynda Carter’s character for being a strong, intelligent brunette in the sea of 70s blondes.

    Like

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  271. Julia Child. She gave a big old middle finger salute to tradition and did what she wanted to do and made some damned good food while she was at it.

    Like

  272. I’m not trying to be argumentative or harsh or anything, I’m just trying to speak up for those of us who hate the new Merida, but who aren’t relying on Disney to raise our daughters. You make a fair point, but a lot of us *are* taking the opportunity to discuss these things with our children, and I don’t rely on Disney to teach my kids about anything, most especially strong female role models. But here’s the thing: if you can’t walk down the girls’ toy aisles without seeing sexed-up versions of female characters every ten feet (even the My Little Ponies now are taller, skinnier, and have thicker hair and big, painted, come-hither anime eyes), it can be really hard to reinforce what you’re teaching, especially when all your daughter’s friends have all the movies and merchandise. It’s all well and good to say that fitting in or following the crowd isn’t important, and kids need to learn that lesson, but for young children especially, it can be tough to feel like you’re missing out on something fun that all your friends enjoy. Try to imagine what it would be like to not be a Star Wars or Doctor Who fan (I know, it’s tough, but really *try* to imagine it):) and to suddenly wind up in a room full of people who are wearing the t-shirts and carrying on entire conversations strictly in quotes. You would feel left out, or just awkward. When kids at school have the lunchbox and the backpack and the pajamas and the shirts and and and…..it can be really hard to just appreciate the movie version and to remember what your mom is saying to you about oversexualization in mainstream culture. The fact is that there was just no fucking reason for Disney to do what they did, so why even do it? If girls want sparkly, fancy, feminine princesses with lush curls and ballgowns, they have Aurora, Cinderella, Belle, Ariel, Tiana, etc. Leave something for the tomboys and the adventurous girls out there. Make the next princess sparkly. Just don’t destroy what’s already good. Not every girl can be (or wants to be) sparkly and sexy. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for just a *little* reinforcement in mainstream culture.

    Like

  273. I think all my answers are already taken, but I’ll chime in anyway:

    Rosa Parks, Barbara Gordon (Batgirl/Oracle), Elizabeth Warren, Elizabeth Cady Stanton (who I think should have gotten the coin instead of Susan B. Anthony & if you don’t know who she is, check her Wikipedia page), Mother Theresa, Ruth Bader Ginsberg & Vicki Soto (the teacher that hid her kids in cabinets & told the gunman they were in the gym), Harriet Tubman, Xena: Warrior Princess and Starbuck from Ron Moore’s re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series.

    Like

  274. My guess is that part of the updates was to better fit her into the mold–literally–for the doll making and dresses. They have a whole line of skinny-busty-waaaay cat-eyed dolls with clothes and it’s just easier for everyone in production if the only change is a little color dye. I say dial ALL of them back–most of the characters in the stories are ages 12-15; Aurora and (I think) Ariel are 16. None of them should look like a 23 year old bikini model.

    Like

  275. Geena Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight. Badass extraordinaire!

    Like

  276. 285
    Elizabeth

    Just one thing… you spelled judgment wrong in your very last line.:)

    Like

  277. River Song. No question.

    Like

  278. The most beautifully strong women I’ve ever known-my grandmother, and my daughters. Granny taught me it’s never too late to be yourself, and that sex never gets old. (Ok, that was kind of a weird conversation), and my kids remind me daily that even if I’m still learning that ‘self’ lesson, I managed to teach it. They are the coolest, nerdiest, most creative and beautiful women I know.

    Like

  279. My mom, of course, with her rain-barrel legs and thinning hair, and with the kindness and funniness that made every person in town show up for her funeral when she died way too young at 78.

    Like

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  280. 289
    Jeanne K.

    Right now it’s Stevie Nicks, but you’re right up there near the top of the list…

    Like

  281. Isabella Rosselini, because she’s a beautiful woman who walks around without makeup, and she’s perfectly willing to act like a dork and/or dress up as a giant mating bedbug. Plus she’ll always be older than me.:-)

    Like

  282. “I showed the new Merida to my eight-year-old and she assumed that it was Merida’s evil twin.”

    This may be my favorite line written on this subject. I like that girl you’re raising to be a strong woman. Keep doing what you’re doing.

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  283. 292
    Caroline

    My “hero” moms are Sidney Bristow (Alias), Aeryn Sun (Farscape), and The Bride (Kill Bill). Three kick-ass mothers who are smart, fierce, protective of their young, don’t take shit from anyone, and aren’t afraid to express their emotions. I’m lucky that so far my daughter’s favorite hero is Firestar, who is presented as smart and powerful and has one of the least skanky costumes of female superheroes. Once again, your blog expresses my own feelings–why are we looking to Disney to mold our daughters (and sons)? As parents, can’t we look somewhere better?

    Like

  284. Emma Goldman, anarchist extraordinaire. Meg Murry (A Wrinkle In TIme, Madeleine L’Engle), glasses-wearing math/science nerd. Amelia Earhart, aviator. Amelia Jenks Bloomer, as well as her colleagues, women’s right activists and wearers of the radical bloomers. (The horror, the horror! ;)) The list goes on forever.😀

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  285. As an old(er) woman of 67, I would like to say this: I went through the whole man-resenting, consciousness-raising 70’s and 80’s, and was(am) a staunch supporter of women’s rights. It is so gratifying to see that you young women out there, many raising daughters, appreciate the fact that sexism still exists. I am so nauseated by these young, ignorant twits who say, “Well, I don’t understand what the big deal is. I’VE always felt liberated.” Of course you have, you dumb ass! WE DIDN’T AND WE FOUGHT THE BATTLES SO THAT YOU COULD! Thank you for letting me vent… :)

    Like

  286. I love Hailey’s response. The new Merida does look a little evil.

    When I was growing up, my heroes were Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman. Now my heroes are those who get put in a bad situation and rise above it.

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  287. I don’t really walk around thinking about hero’s and all that, other than my favorite clever comment about “always be yourself unless you can be Batman”, because I have a son who should aspire to be Batman, is that wrong?! Although Batman has the best toys so, yeah, Always be Batman. When it comes to women I would have to say my female hero would be any woman that has overcome something from the past. I have seen several women who have had to overcome terrible things, like sexual abuse as a child. Some women let it run their lives today, my hero’s are the women who can pull themselves out of the past and move forward…always move forward. And not only in the case stated here, over anything terrible from their past.

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  288. 297
    shortnsweet

    Queen Thirrin from Cry of the Icemark – quite similar to Merida, but rules her country as a real warrior princess after her father dies when she’s 14, joins alliances with werewolves, vampires and giant talking snow leopards and takes on an entire army … so, slightly more kick-ass!! My daughter also loved the book when she was about 8, and it’s still one of her favourites now she’s 14 – we both love the strong female character who does things her own way!

    Like

  289. i was hoping that this would be the one. that this would be the post that would offend me. no dice. better luck next time toots.

    Like

  290. My daughter. She’s 14, and she has moderate autism. She has taught me some pretty big lessons. 1) Life makes no guarantees, either good or bad, so go ahead and presume the best. 2) Sometimes real miracles (divine intervention) come disguised as disaster, because you must tear down to rebuild. 3) The best kind of success comes from beating the expectations.

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  291. Sandra Day O’Connor – she graduated top of her law school class, but still couldn’t get a job as an attorney when she graduated because she was a woman. But she didn’t give up and eventually she could say to those chauvenistic asshats who rejected her, “Remember how I applied to work at your firm? And you wouldn’t hire me? Big mistake. Huge.” And the fact that I’ve seen her speak many times and she’s never actually said that (although she would have every right) makes her a bit more awesome. Because I would totally have sent them a basket of apples saying “I’m on the Supreme Court and you’re not. How you like them apples?”.

    Like

  292. 302
    Anonymous

    Okay so I don’t think it’s entirely fair to go all out and call this design “whorey” or “skanky” The problem with the redesign is they changed the personality of the character to something they think is more marketable like the other princesses, what with the dress and make-up. This simply doesn’t fit with Merida’s personality. It is awful that Disney felt the need to change her to something like this in order to make her more “marketable” but it’s not right to say that it’s “skanky” or “whorey”, those are just plain old bad words to describe any woman as. While there certainly is a problem with women and young girls pressured to wear makeup and have this beautiful body, there’s also the issue of not recognizing that strong women can LOOK ANYWAY THEY WANT TO. There continues to be this idea that being feminine means you can’t be successful. Overall I agree that the redesign is troublesome, but I believe so for other reasons….

    Alos..manny of the Disney Princesses are very strong women, there problem genrally lies in some sort of last minute plot device that leaves the suddenly stranded and dependent on a man saving the day.

    I dunno just thought I’d put that down.

    Like

  293. Of course it’s important for parents to teach their own children about what they should value, especially in a role model, rather than letting any large corporation do it.

    The problem is, the corporations – with their huge amounts of money and social/cultural influence – will have an effect on the messages a child gets about gender roles as she grows up, whether the parents want that to happen or not (at least, if they don’t want to entirely remove their kids from society altogether). Given that Disney movies do influence children, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to expect them to use that influence to show us better role models – of all genders – than they have in the past.

    Like

  294. 304
    Shannon Fielding

    My hero is my older sister. She had two young children by the time she was 21, then went back to school. Had a house fire twice, became a widow at 26, became a social worker to help the elderly, calls my parent every week, without fail, lives with chronic pain, and at 58, cares for her 96 year old mother-in-law. She’s a fricking superhero!

    Like

  295. Both of my grandmothers. One had 12 kids and the other had 14. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it was to raise all those children!

    Like

  296. I agree totally and made that same point when this came to my facebook page. Stop letting Disney and other corps raise our kids. They are going to do whatever the heck they want to. It’s up to us to make sure our kids get the right message about strong women.

    My mother was my hero!

    Like

  297. This is probably the most sensible thing I’ve heard about the subject.

    Like

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  298. My favorite female role model is Mother Theresa. For real, that woman was the shiznit! Everything she did was with grace and humility. She was a strong, tough as nails woman who stood up for those considered the least amongst those with the most.

    Like

  299. Mary Wollstonecraft (Mary Shelley’s mother).

    Like

  300. I’d never heard of Merida before. I thought it sounded like a new medication that I’d seen advertised with several women sitting around in a circle and talking earnestly about their womany medical issue.

    Hero: Harriet McBryde-Johnson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harriet_McBryde_Johnson). If you haven’t read her article about meeting with Peter Singer, you are missing out.

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  301. Real: Queen Elizabeth I. She built up the British treasury and military after her Dad emptied both. Oh and she wore some pretty sweet princess duds.

    Not Real: Capital Marvel. She can fly and shoot laser beams out of her hands which would totally be my super power if I had one.

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  302. My grandmother. She was born in 1906 and almost made it to the age of 104. She voted in every election she was eligible to vote in and stayed informed on current events right up to the end. She had a wicked sense of humor, loved puns and wordplay, and probably did more to keep my brother and I sane through puberty than anyone else I know. She also baked the BEST gingersnap cookies on the face of the Earth, and I will do battle with anyone who disagrees.

    Like

  303. My grandmother was my hero, because somehow she had trouble conceiving (back in the 1940s) and still ended up getting pregnant and having my mother. Then, lived through bankruptcy and came out the other side better then fine. She truly was one in a million and way before her time progressive for sure!!

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  304. The thing is they make sense for saying so because it’s not just very young girls getting pelted with these ideas, it’s adolescent girls, young women and older women. Ladies, the line forms on the right, and bring your wallets cause that’s really all they care about.
    By all means, please speak up, cause THEY have a vested interest (read, BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRIES) in you, and your daughters buying into being insecure in your own skin. and if you don’t say anything, who will?

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  305. You’re my heroine, Honey, and my husband wants to know if you wouldn’t mind getting a little over-sexualized? I think he has a crush on you. I showed him how strong women handle that shit.

    Like

  306. 316
    Paula King

    Well, duh. You’re my hero.

    Like

  307. My female hero is The Good Queen Bess – Elizabeth I. That bitch got shit done. And she needed no man in her life to make it happen.:)

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  308. My mom, who raised 7 kids, all with advanced degrees, and made sure her girls could manage all parts of their lives on their own. Helen Keller, and Annie Sullivan, because without her, we wouldn’t know who Helen Keller was. Katniss Everdeen, Julie of the Wolves, Laura Ingalls, even Elle Woods, beautiful, funny, smart, kind and tough.

    Like

  309. Catwoman – The real one, Selina Kyle, originally found in Batman Detective comics. I collect all things Catwoman, I have her tattooed on my back, I am the local expert on Catwoman story line. Before you judge, she has the longest running female-lead-character comic book ever. Maybe not earth shattering, but a big step for girls wanting to be accepted in comic-book-geek culture.

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  310. I did love Sleeping Beauty. She pricked her finger and fell asleep for 100 YEARS. How awesome would it be to actually get that much sleep? In all seriousness, I guess my Grandmother would have been my hero. She held a job when most women didn’t, could grow a garden like you wouldn’t believe, and then she canned what she grew. Yep. She’s my hero.

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  311. My grandmother, she aged naturally, she beat cancer in her 60s she supported her husband while he went to college and raised six kids. She was caring, giving and would fight her hardest against any obstacle thrown at her. She lived through the depression. She was strong and independent

    Like

  312. Not a big Disney princess fan and glad my daughters are past the stage. Heroes include both my daughters, Shirley Chisholm, Ann Richards, Eleanor Roosevelt and Tanis Miller aka The redneck Mommy.

    Like

  313. Temple Grandin, pioneer for autism education
    Lucrezia Borgia, much maligned political powerhouse
    Marie Curie, scientist
    Jenny Lawson, writer
    Mary Donohue and Margaret Nugent, widows who raised 11 children between themselves, alone
    Peggy Nugent, mom

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  314. 324
    missicat

    You. And Allie Brosh.

    Like

  315. I hate new whory Merida.

    She looks like an American Idol judge.

    Wait…

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  316. Juliette Gordon Low

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  317. As a woman with curly bright red hair, I love Merida and her crazy locks. I spent my youth and some of my adulthood worrying about being different, or as I heard often the red-headed step child, f_cking ginger, carrot top, fire- crotch, a gentic mutation etc. Too bad Disney is trying to change her. But my hero is myself…learning to accept yourself sometimes takes super powers!

    Like

  318. My role models:

    Opheria Eisenberg,
    You,
    My great-grandmother, who buys her own groceries and walks to the market every week,
    Anne Wheaton,
    My neighbor, Mrs. Quinn,
    My other neighbor, Mrs. Box,
    My mom.

    Like

  319. Ramona Quimby ….Age 8 FOREVER.

    Like

  320. In no particular order
    My wife
    You
    My maternal Grandmother
    My paternal Grandmother
    Princess Leia
    Temple Grandin
    All the female Psychologists that have done their best to make me a more functional human being.

    Like

  321. Grace Hopper (who I am happy to see already made this list). She earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale in 1934, volunteered to serve in WAVES and served in the Navy Reserve. She was called back later for active duty. One excerpt from her bio: “At the time of her retirement, she was the oldest active-duty commissioned officer in the United States Navy (79 years, eight months and five days), and aboard the oldest commissioned ship in the United States Navy (188 years, nine months and 23 days).”

    She was a programmer in the very early days of computing, and coined the term “debugging.” My favorite quote from her, in 1952: “I had a running compiler and nobody would touch it. They told me computers could only do arithmetic.”

    (We can imagine what they were telling her women could do back then . . . )

    Her advice for young people: “They come to me, you know, and say, “Do you think we can do this?” I say, “Try it.” And I back ’em up. They need that. I keep track of them as they get older and I stir ’em up at intervals so they don’t forget to take chances.”

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  322. My wife is my favorite female hero, hands down.

    I have learned so much from just watching her think, let alone act, on issues important in her life and in our lives together. I find myself trying to channel her mind whenever I have to think very clearly and cogently on difficult topics, or give advice in matters of the heart, or in anything at all, actually. She’s truly amazing. I’m lucky to have had her literally walk into my life, straight out of a crowd.

    The hand-made scones are merely a side benefit. An _awesome_ side benefit.

    Like

  323. For stong cartoon women, Marge Simpson. No contest.

    Like

  324. Emilie Autumn. Girl had all sorts of bad shit happen to her and somehow still managed to turn into an empowering force for crazy girls everywhere.

    Like

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  325. 335
    missicat

    Also – my maternal grandmother. My grandfather killed himself during the depression and she just kept right on taking care of my mom and two uncles without complaint. Went to college when few of her contemporaries did, played basketball, ran track (in her bloomers) and insisted she be taught to drive. Grandma was awesome!

    Like

  326. 336
    Anonymous

    My mom, Hilary Clinton, Fawzia Koofi, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Lizbeth Salander, Katniss Everdeen…I could go on and on. There are so many!!!

    Like

  327. While I don’t expect Disney to teach kids what it means to be an awesome woman without being sexualized, I still think that they should want to set a good example.
    The movie was such a hit – why change a good thing??

    Like

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  328. Ann Richards for her no-nonsense attitude and Maya Angelou for still being a badass.

    Like

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  329. My Bloggess,
    YOU are my hero!! Your honesty, vulnerability, and pizazz inspire me to believe in my self and to hold onto hope that I have everything within me I need to do whatever it is I was created to do.

    So thank you for being you and for sharing that with the world!!

    Like

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  330. 340
    Samantha

    I’m confused as to why SO MANY women are pitching a fit about other women who have the prototypical “good” looks. Can’t have it both ways, and can’t shield your kids from everything. I’m no hero- and I’m sick to death of women who do their hair and makeup, and have a nice figure being slut-shamed! I fought against it so much while I was in the Navy. I made it through the 2nd hardest A school the Navy has, (the only one harder is the one for nuclear engineers) and had the perfect body, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a tan. You know who treated me the worst? The other females, because no way could somebody be pretty AND smart. The only way women are going to gain any ground in society is if WE start realizing that we can be sexy as hell AND smarter, or stronger, or faster than our male counterparts. I don’t give a damn about the Merida makeover- everyone grows up at some point. The boobs will interfere with archery, of course, but c’est la vie! Somebody mentioned it already, and I think it’s a fantastic point- are the “plain” looking girls the only ones that can teach us valuable lessons?!? My entertainment heroes- Princess Leia, Lieutenant Uhura, Captain Janeway, Ms. Marvel, and Black Widow. Real life: Amelia Earhart, Mother Theresa, the WINs and WAVEs who paved the way for me to serve equally in the Navy, Susan B. Anthony, Marie Curie, Benazir Bhutto, and many others who carry on in everyday life, making whatever big or little changes they can to help.

    Like

  331. I am not pissed because I RELY on any one else to show my kid strong female characters, but it would help if they didn’t slut them up when they were fine to begin with.

    I showed my daughter, she said the new one looked creepy and gross, then she asked what was wrong with the original. THAT is what I have a problem with. These girls are now going to think that there is something wrong with how the first one looked, when she was quite adorable and looked just fine the whole time.

    Like

  332. Like most people, I’m gonna say my mom and grandmothers. But as far as fictional people/ people I’ve never met – oh wow, there are so many! I love this.

    I first thought of Buffy Summers, who, let’s not kid ourselves, will be my favorite forever and always.

    Then there’s Sandra Day O’Connor, Hermione Granger, Lucy Pevensie, Roseanne Barr, Tina Fey, Liz Lemon, Hilary Clinton, Eve Ensler, Claire Huxtable, Katniss Everdeen, Zoe Washburne, Oprah, Rosa Parks. I’ll have fun thinking of more!

    Like

  333. Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa. People (and Disney) spend a lot of energy on things that ultimately don’t matter.

    Like

  334. “Or you.”
    That gave me goosebumps, for real.
    It’s true!
    Or YOU.

    Like

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  335. 345
    Tressyjo

    Molly Ivins, Bless her. I wanted to be Molly Ivins when I grew up and I cried the day she died. She fought the ole boys club of Texas politics and journalism at a time when few women did so and with great wit and charm. I miss Molly and she definitely deserves a lunch box.

    Barbara Jordan and Ann Richards, fine examples of strength and service.

    And now you The Bloggess, wit, wisdom, honesty, service and strength.

    All my heroines are Texas women!

    Like

  336. 346
    CrazyBoredMommy

    Uh, wasn’t getting married-off a plot point for the original movie? A few years after the awesome-warrior-princess stood her ground, shouldn’t she have grown into a sexier period of her life?? I say own the sexy and flaunt it, Merida. It is SO fleeting, so cash in on it while you can!

    Like

  337. 348
    thorazine7

    Actually, my female hero is my daughter. She was born with Down syndrome and has overcome more struggles in her 6 years of life than many people go through in a lifetime. And she does it with a huge smile, a strong sense of self and total lack of concern for what other people think of her. I try to be just a little bit more like her everyday!

    Like

  338. Tina Fey
    Carol Burnett
    Jenny Lawson
    Temple Grandin

    Like

  339. I love Margaret Mead and Eleanor Roosevelt. Those are strong, smart women who deserve to be recognized for their awesomeness. There are others too……great conversation.

    Like

  340. I have Merida’s hair (so spot on that Disney owes me money) and I got more whorey looking over time, so perhaps Disney has it right. Or not. I really don’t care. I was simply thrilled that I no longer had to rely on Ariel as my redheaded princess role model, that I almost busted. A ginger and curls to boot? Thank you, Disney!

    Like

  341. Zoe from Firefly. Damn, she kicks ass.

    Like

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  342. As a mom of three boys, I don’t even know who she is…but I do know more than I care to know about Iron Man and The Green Lantern…

    Like

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  343. MARIE CURIE! She won the 1903 Nobel Prize in physics, first woman to win the prize, and almost didn’t get it because she was a WOMAN. So she doubled down and WON IT AGAIN in 1911 in chemistry! Only woman to have two Nobel prizes.
    She had to leave her home in Poland because she was a part of student revolutionary groups fighting again Russian occupation, and went to Paris. She and her husband did their experiments with little funding, meaning they had to teach a lot of make ends meet. So she was a professor of physics – the first woman to do that.

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  344. Grammar Marie – you’re awesome. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is really high on my list. Sonia Sotomayor (Supreme Court Justice, and I hope I spelled her name right) is pretty cool, too, and I don’t even know whether I agree with her politics. And Jenny, you’re awesome, too.

    Like

  345. Favorite female hero is Joan of Arc. Amazing story, brave young woman who commanded an army when women were merely housemaids and stuck to her beliefs even when faced with death. Amazing.

    Like

  346. 357
    Elli Jenks

    J.K.Rowling. (And if he decided to get a magical sex change Harry Potter for sure.)

    Like

  347. My heros are my mom, who passed away, but was never afraid to say what needed saying and doing what needed to be done to be happy, healthy, and sane. You Jenny for the same reasons and for being strong enough to share your struggles and triumphs with the world. And myself because I’ve been through a lot of shit in my thirty three years and I want to make sure that my daughter always has a good roll model around to show her what a strong woman is.

    Like

  348. My hero: Jennifer Siebel Newsom (www.missrepresentation.org)

    For me it’s simple. It’s not all about little girls and Disney Princesses but perception and the media’s impact on society as a whole in how we look at and perceive females. As the mother of two wonderful ladies I can tell you that your influence over your daughter(s) will change as they grow and age. And as much as I wanted my girls to be strong, adventurous, bright and ‘their own selves’ they too become influenced by the media around them and primarily from their peers. That’s normal. That happened to me too.

    If any other demographic was altered and displayed in ‘some’ or ‘that’ way (whether culture, colour or religious belief) I’m sure there would be call for changes due to discrimination.

    What I believe………..is that we as a society need to be aware and work at changes so that females are not diminished to just a body. I believe that is important for all females and it is especially important for males to grow up and mature with an idea of women not as a set of breasts and a vagina but as a real person with thoughts, feelings and gawdamn brains.

    And in the Merida case, I was thrilled with this young strong BRAVE female character. It’s appalling what Disney has done – really – so where do we start? We start with protests and affirmation that this view of females needs to change.

    I’m a woman, a daughter, a sister and I have two wonderful women who are my daughters They are 30 and 27 and my experiences as a parent over the past 30 years have brought me to this point where I will sign up and protest because I want my grandchildren, both male and female, to grow up respecting each other for being people.

    As a feminist I tried to parent with that in mind for my kids. Things is, media is persuasive, invasive and has an influence that is hard to combat.

    Newsom is my hero because she is actively trying to change things. She has worked to bring this to our attention and she hasn’t stopped working despite the flack.

    Brenda Chapman is one of my heroes too. She created a wonderful creature based on her daughter and that character, Merida, was darn near perfect just the way she was. Reducing her to a svelte figure in a glimmery dress with flowing tresses quite simply removed all vestiges of an adventurous, thinking female. And that’s a real shame.

    I don’t have a problem with fairytale princesses, per se. I’d just rather be the hero-ess with the bow & arrows and the guts to go out and fight for what I believe in. And I hope my daughters feel that way too. But I’ve got 25 more years of feministing under my belt:-) so I know I have to be patient. But most of all, I think the message we need to share is tolerance, understanding, respect and compassion. To respect and understand people for who they are………….not for what they look like.

    Like

  349. 360
    Broomrider1964

    I’m all over on this one….Morgaine from The Mists of Avalon….Mary, Queen of Scots…Elizabeth I (gotta wonder how history would have turned out had those two ever been able to meet face to face)…Sandra Day O’Connor…my equine vet…my sister who is terminally ill and trying to make every day worthwhile…Marie Curie…Stevie Nicks…Jenny Lawson…the women in my day to day life who just try to get it done and make things right….

    Like

  350. I’ve never been much for heroes, but the women in my family are certainly admirable, my mom especially.

    I think the Merida debate is maddening for some people because she was the first to break out of the mold, although she’s technically Pixar rather than Disney (which Pixar tends to lean more toward more “realistic” and likable characters that actually are good role models). I loved Brave because of that. But, it’s interesting that people care enough to spark the debate in the first place.

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  351. Another don’t give a shit checking in!! My tween and teen don’t care either. They think they are too cool for Disney. I say you are never too cool for Mickey, Minnie, Donald, et al.

    As far as a hero, I’d say Tina Fey is way up there for me. And Wonder Woman, but the one played by Lynda Carter. She had the coolest plane, and bracelets. Sure could use that truth rope with a tween and teen too.

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  352. Nausicaa, from “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”. Best female character EVER.

    Like

  353. 364
    kirads09

    Great points you made about keeping the Merida thing in perspective. Love the evil twin idea. Write it and sell it to Disney Jenny! I do still strongly feel the original Merida didn’t need any changing and am sticking to that.

    My fave fictional female hero (as you might guess) is Kira Nyres from Star Trek Deep Space Nine.
    She was very pretty and sexy but that is not why. ( she even did have an evil alter ego in a few eps!) Kira was a fierce freedom fighter for her country and kicked butt in battle. A great friend and coworker to those on the station – admired and loved by them. Assertive and strong, sticking to her principles when she needed to. Smart and competent as the Captain’s second in command. One of her most interesting facets to me was her strong faith as a Bajoran (I’ll just leave that be). Who couldn’t see that as a woman to want to be like? She was played brilliantly by Nana Visitor.

    IRL – Helen Keller. Because of all she overcame. The difference she made with her life in the world despite her “disabilities”. Amazing strength and wisdom – so inspiring.

    Like

  354. The only thing you’re wrong about is the reference to your opinion as “incredibly dumb and probably ill-informed point.” It can’t be dumb or ill-informed because I just made a similar point on my friend Marie’s Facebook page (which I just see she mentioned in her response to your blog). And I am neither dumb nor ill-informed. So there!

    Like

  355. 366
    Momma Fargo

    My favorite female hero is myself. I amaze me. LMAO

    Like

  356. Anne Sullivan…Helen Keller’s teacher

    Like

  357. Jaime Sommers
    Batgirl (Dude, she was a LIBRARIAN!)
    Catwoman
    The original Charlie’s Angels. (Hello, I know I’m revealing my age here, okay? I’m good with it.)
    Ellen Ripley

    Sticking with the media ones here because of the post itself. I was impressed, even as a kid, by how human Jaime Sommers was. A school teacher. Afraid of snakes. Good to her adoptive parents.

    Like

  358. Queen Elizabeth I. Managed to bring her nation back from the brink, looking fabulous all the while.

    Like

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  359. I wanna know why they aren’t sexing up the male characters. Hello? Cowboys? Princes? Untapped market, for serious.

    Like

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  360. I did not sign the petition but the “makeover” did bother me. Maybe because I have a niece and a good-friend’s-daughter-who-calls-me-auntie in the 4-6 yr range so I’ve been noticing a lot of the sexism and stereotyping that goes on in media directed at little girls. Both are “princess”-mad, so I wonder about what they internalize from this kind of crap. Oh, they get their role-models and heroines from other sources as well, but it makes me feel a little better about what we as a society are saying to them.

    I would have LOVED Merida when I was that age. I had to resort to playing with my friend Sydney’s GI Joes – Barbies came with shoes and purses while GI Joes got guns and cars!

    I’ve always loved Gráinne Ní Mháille, the Irish Pirate Queen. She took over her father’s shipping business, and since raiding your neighbors is pretty much the traditional Irish idea of fun on a dull weekend, she ended up controlling the entire area around Clew Bay, and everyone passing through had to pay her tribute. She married at least twice, and divorced her first husband at the top of her lungs, and gave birth to at least one of her children at sea. The British called her Grace O’Malley, and she kicked ass for at least 50 years.

    Like

  361. I kinda like the new Merida. She does look like her evil twin.

    I have an evil twin that occasionally does heinous things that I usually wouldn’t do. She’s called Bad Michele.

    I like her.

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  362. I am happy that they changed her back mostly because she was actually originally modeled on the young daughter of the designer. I think that young woman deserves to remain free to decide on her own sexual identity in her own time. I applaud her mother for raising the issue, and allowing other mothers to choose to have a conversation as they see fit.

    Like

  363. The new Merida is nasty! And my favorite female hero would have to be you, Jenny❤

    Like

  364. 375
    Dana Lewis

    you are pretty awesome. and apparently humor train just discovered you because they posted on facebook:
    http://humortrain.com/post/50600667425#.UZVyYZKipuE.facebook

    other women? well, certainly not any disney princesses. i do like when they attack others in the one movie though-is that one of the shrek movies? brain farting here.

    plus, while i am on your homepage, there is an ad in the corner for eden something or other which are dildos. hmmmmm…….interesting that you were just on amazon with that……

    Dana

    Like

  365. I love River, and many of the women you mentioned.
    My mother and grandmother’s were the strongest people and role models that I learned how to be strong from.

    Like

  366. As for Merida, I think people are forgetting one major point: she grew up. As a chid, she was wild and stubborn and self-centered. Her behavior got her mother turned into a bear, for Pete’s sake! By the end of the movie, she has found a middle ground with her mother and has accepted that she has certain responsibilities, and I feel like the new design was a great illustration of the balance between her own personal style and personality and the aesthetic her mother had chosen.

    Okay, sure. Maybe Disney did it to make the character more sexual or more commercial. Whatever. When I saw the new Merida, I saw a young woman who had decided to wear the mantle of authority and responsibility that she had railed against for so long.

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  367. Oh man, I love that you threw Word Girl in there! My son thinks Word Girl is super awesome!

    As far as women I admire, my great grandmothers on both mom & dad sides were really awesome. They sought adventure and weren’t afraid to be who they were or stand by what they believed in.

    When it comes to fictional characters, I’m a big fan of Wonder Woman.

    Like

  368. 379
    Adrienne

    I couldn’t possibly read all the comments. All I know is that you are RIGHT. UInalterably correct. Take that and smoke all the doubt. xo

    Like

  369. 380
    teezaweezl

    In order: Olivia, Emily Brown and Miss Suzy. All are characters from children’s books.

    Like

  370. 381
    grlinheadphones

    Out of the few Disney princesses she was one that was not a tart and needed a man to rescue her and the new design kinda negates the message of the movie. $0.02 and that is all on that but hell yes raise your damn kids instead of the TV. (Unless it is Doctor Who then yes plunk them the hell down for that! lol)

    As far as real life people lets see… Heather Armstrong (Dooce), Jen (Epbot/cake wrecks), Caitlin Doughty ? (@TheGoodDeath), Mur Lafferty (@mightymur), Felicia Day! and of course YOU!!!❤

    I second people that the ladies of the new Doctor Who and I agree with Rosie the Riveter and Amelia Earhart and others I'm to lazy to look up and can't think of off the top of my head.

    Like

  371. Thank you! I was starting to think I was the only one who was thinking use the “new” Meridia to show your daughters an example of what not to do and why are you using Disney for this lesson anyway?!

    My hero, my mother for raising three strong feminist daughters and two strong feminist sons despite being completely reliant on my father to bring home a paycheck and provide for all five of us kids.

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  372. Give ’em hell, Jenny. Really. BTW, my favorite woman hero is you…and a few others. Really.

    Like

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  373. Damn straight. I kinda dodged a bullet in that my 9y old daughter thinks Disney (and Barbie for that matter) are “boring” so Merida’s re-vamping is largely my own personal bummer. I have a totally rad kid who is defining her own femininity and self-describes as “a little bit boy, a little bit girl”. I have NO doubt that femininity issues will be continuously addressed as she grows up and it’s not always going to be smooth sailing, but we’ll muddle through. In the meantime, I expect so little of Disney that I can’t really muster the energy to be indignant, but yeah, they dropped the ball. Again.

    Like

  374. Too many awesome women to choose from. I cannot pick just one. However, I would sell a kidney or something for one of those vintage tin lunchboxes with Rosie the Riveter on it. If they exist. If they don’t, they SHOULD.

    Like

  375. LIke many, my favorite woman hero is my mom. Strong, smart, and beautiful with her smile. She worked in a factory until she was 74 years old, and only quit because a heart attack nearly stopped her dead in her tracks. She was in the hospital for 2 months. She recovered to the point she was able to drive around my small home town. She died of a broken heart after living 10 years after my Dad died. The heart doctor said she had the largest blood clot in her heart that he’d ever seen. He said she had to be very strong because that didn’t develop over night and it should have killed her long before she passed. Procedures could have been attempted, but she decided she was ready, she said to us, I want to let go, I want to die. She passed holding our hands and smiling her wonderful smile.

    Like

  376. Jenny Jenny Jenny!! THEY DO EXIST. HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS BEFORE TONIGHT.
    http://www.pacifichistoricparksbookstore.org/browse.cfm/4,878.html

    I honestly feel like you and I should be besties. Texas isn’t that far from Ontario, right?

    Like

  377. Mae West, hubba hubba.

    Like

  378. Sonora Webster; she dove horses at Coney Island (I just misspelled horses which gave this a whole new meaning.) Anyway, she’s my hero not because of the horses (I hate horses), but because she was injured early in her career at Coney Island and ended up diving for years while blind despite everybody thinking that it was impossible. None of the audience knew of her condition because “No one wants to see a blind girl die.” She followed her deam even when others said that she wasn’t capable.

    Like

  379. Doesn’t answer your question but I wanted to chime in with the observation that the original My Little Pony ponies were cute little chubby childlike things, and now they are slim and trim with long eyelashes and fancier manes. Next thing you know they’ll be introducing new sleek & sexy Care Bears and a hottie Strawberry Shortcake.

    Like

  380. Oh yeah, and my grandmother was a folleys girl, so, yeah, she looked like that.

    Like

  381. Jenny Lawson. I want you on my lunch box. Are lunch boxes on zazzle?

    Like

  382. forget just making her whorey, it’s the complete switch in animation style that annoys me. also? favorite female hero? my badass Great GG, GG, and Grandma. Three generations of strong, beautiful women who outlived more than one husband, survived being farmers during the great depression era, and have always loved their children
    iin the right way. and by that I mean, they have always loved us enough to celebrate and see the good in us… but if they saw even a tendency towards common female evils like manipulation, pettiness, selfishness, or jealousy… you better believe they’d beat it out of us. for our own good. makes us younger generation respect them deeply. and it makes me proud to belong to a family of such strong, loving, beautiful, and fucking resilient women.

    that’s all.

    Like

  383. My great aunt. She earned a Ph.D and worked in the precursor to the CIA during WWII in bothe Europe and North Africa.
    My grandma for just being her. And my mom for putting up with me all these years.

    Like

  384. I do agree that it’s up to us to provide good models for our children, and also to give them a clear message about limits. Good female role models from my experience? Apart from family members…

    I think Esther in the Biblical story is a good example of what a lot of us are struggling with here: Her looks are a good portion of the power she possesses, but they’d be nowhere and of no use without her firm moral conviction regarding what’s right, and the courage she has to put her own life on the line for the sake of that conviction. I have enormous respect for her and think of her often.

    A whole whack of female authors: Have you heard of Eleanor Farjeon? If not, you’re missing out. Go get “Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard” if you can find it, and for sure get “The Little Bookroom,” a collection of her stories. And read about her life, too. Such a wonderful character. Beatrix Potter– imaginative and creative, a great businesswoman, and one who used her success in the aid of a cause she was passionate about. I could go on, but suddenly my fingers want books. Sorry, I guess I’ll be back after I’ve satisfied my reading craving…

    Like

  385. 396
    Brigette

    I think New Merida kinda looks like Mrs. Partridge. No? Just me? OK then.

    My female hero is Madeleine Albright. She’s a tough old broad.

    Like

  386. My hero is my sister. Wow, shit, I can’t believe I just said that. She probably doesn’t even know that… I’ll have to tell her.

    Your point is so right on the money. I said the same thing you did, with less wit and appropriately-place cursed words, to one of my FB friends who wouldn’t quit whining about it. Let’s converse with our kids, people!

    Like

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  387. 398
    Dianimal

    Rosalind Franklin, the real discoverer of the chemical structure of DNA.

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  388. Princess Adrienne from the “Princeless” books.

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  389. My hero was Xena warrior princess!

    Like

  390. Madame Curie!!

    In a way, it’s a good sign my boys don’t give a rip about the “new” Merida. For one, they’ve never seen her because they rarely go to toy stores or places where she stalks children. They go to school, the yard, the playroom, and the lake. They do like Brave, however. Also, they’re the kinda boys that thought the Barbie castle I scavenged off a friend (well, traded it for a job fixing her electrical outlet) was just, you know, a castle and started making a drawbridge and made plans for a moat, etc. etc. I do teach them about strong women: their great-grandmother and grandmother who they get to live with here in the middle of nowhere and others of their family and friends who teach them so much. Hopefully, somewhere in there, they at least like me a bit and give me a slot as the lesser lunatic.

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  391. I like Merida, and I love that your daughter thought that the new version was her evil twin!

    I have to go with Marie Curie as my favorite female hero – I’d go with the woman who was in on the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA, but I can’t remember her name (damn male science historians cutting important people out!).

    Like

  392. I’m really loving reading the comments. I’m going to have come back and make sure I don’t miss any kick-ass women I should know about.

    One of the most influential women characters for me was Emma Peel from The Avengers. (The 60s British spy show, not the superhero movie.) She was just so supremely competent! From what I understand, her character was intended to be a sex symbol (and she was that, in her trademark black leather catsuit), but she was much more than that (Martial artist, mathematician, physicist, racecar driver, spy…). I loved that she often had to rescue the male lead. Anyhow, I first stumbled across Mrs. Peel when I was 16, watching late night TV. I wanted to be her. Who am I kidding? I *still* want to be her.

    I’ve got tons more female heros, but a recent one that comes to mind is a woman I know professionally. We were at an academic conference at a meeting where someone was announcing the invited speakers for an upcoming conference. The gentleman presenting had no sooner put up his slide with the list of speakers when my new hero, a senior and well-respected researcher in the field, spoke up, loudly: “Why are they all men?”

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  393. I Love your kid’s evil twin response. Hilarious!

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  394. It’s not that anyone’s “relying” on media to teach their kids- it’s that it happens even with parenting. The subconscious logic goes “They say she’s pretty. I don’t look like that. I must not be pretty. Why is being pretty so important?”

    Having a conversation with kids can go a long way to negating the internalization of this stuff, because it makes it conscious. We can think about things that are conscious. When it happens in the subconscious, it’s not available to think about. It just goes in and we feel bad but don’t know why. Kids don’t need to feel bad like that.

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  395. 406
    CeeJayVA

    RDML Grace Hopper, United States Navy

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  396. Helen Parr, aka Elastigirl (The Incredibles.) All moms are truly beleaguered superheroines in disguise.

    Like

  397. Princess fucking Leia. Got damn I wanted to be her when I was 8. Sure she had to be rescued, but then she had to save everyone’s skins by blasting a hole into the garbage chute!! And as cheesey as the prequels were, Padme was pretty badass. She served her people as queen and a member of the Senate at 13 years old! She had a nice, quiet strength, at least in the first movie and the first part of the second. Also Ripley. Would YOU fuck with Ripley if anything stood between her and her daughter or Newt? I sure as hell wouldn’t.

    Also, my mom.

    Like

  398. Rosalind Franklin, ass-kicking the DNA discovery. Too bad she has always been overshadowed by her male colleagues, even to this day.

    Like

  399. My idea of a strong woman is my mother…

    And you.
    :)

    Like

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  400. 411
    CeeJayVA

    Jenny, it would be an interesting post for your thoughts on how many female heros mentioned in the comments are fictional.

    Like

  401. If I have to pick a disney character, Mulan-even though she would have been so killed for the way she is portrayed in the movie. Yes, she would have been killed.

    I really like Harriet Tubman. She took a lot of crap, decided that she didn’t want it anymore, got away and returned to help others. That is what strong is. Being able to take the crap before you can return it to them in spades and where it hurts. (In this case, it was economics)

    Like

  402. I have to say, and maybe it has already been said, but I didn’t read all the kazillion comments before me, but YOU, Jenny, The Bloggess, is a hero to me! The way you share your struggles with mental illness with all of us is amazing! Your crazy side makes me laugh! And you are a Dr. Who fan! You rock!

    If we are going with fictional people, my hero is River Song!!!

    Like

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  403. 414
    Stacy Curran

    Jenny, I have been stalking your blog for a couple of months since a friend of mine recommended it to me. Of course I had heard of you before – who hasn’t? But I never had time to get around to reading your stuff because I write two of my own blogs, work, have kids, blah blah blah. Anyway, over the last couple of months I read your entire blog from start to finish. I love reading new (to me) blogs this way because I get completely obsessed and immersed in them. I feel like I have been living with you for two months and no you personally, And I love you – I think you are totally, incredibly, amazingly awesome. Oh, and your first book kept me up for two nights laughing my ass off. Anyway, I’m sorry that I have never commented before now. Honestly, I was just too immersed in reading, laughing, and being overwhelmed with admiration to pause to comment. Since I write my own blogs, I know how important comments are, so I am finally doing it now! I could go on for hours about how great you are, but I will leave it here, with the truth, that I think your blog changed my life.
    Stacy

    Like

  404. 415
    Stacy Curran

    I was using Siri and can’t believe that I said “no” instead of “know.” Mortifying
    Stacy

    Like

  405. 416
    Heather M

    My Mom and my two besties. My Mom has never realized her self worth and how strong a woman she actually is (i have to remind of these things often). She gives so much of herself to everyone in her life that she frequently forgets about herself.
    My Besties: combined i’ve know both of them for 46 years (i’m 39). They prop me up when i need it and bring me back to to earth. Between us there have been three weddings and 6 kids. I’ve nannied for both of them and they gave me the courage to get help for my postpartum depression.

    Their love, honesty and compassion is beyond compare. Without the three of them I don’t know where I would be today and I certainly wouldn’t be the woman i’ve become.

    Like

  406. 417
    Anon, a Mousie

    JULIA CHILD.

    Because behind every great person is an equally great person.

    Like

  407. Jane Goodall, Annie Oakley, Elizabeth I, Cleopatra, Julie Andrews, too many to name. And You Miss Jenny for your humor and honesty.

    Like

  408. I forgot Sally Ride!

    Like

  409. Jane Goodall

    Like

  410. Dorothea Dix. Today, I owe my job, and the proudest moments of my life to this, blessed bitch (She was referred to as a dragon frequently due to her temperament. Ms. Dix was the forerunner for the civil rights movement for the mentally infirm, unstable, or deficient. She went into the terrifying asylums where they used to keep those that could not care for themselves in deplorable, inhumane conditions, and straighten it out. Her work made the best parts of my life to her. :)

    Like

  411. Call me crazy but I just don’t see a huge difference….

    Like

  412. 423
    L Alahem

    Helen Keller has been my hero since childhood.

    Like

  413. I love what you said about not letting a big corporation have the conversations with our children (not that I have any) that we should be having. Personally, I’m not bothered that they tidied up her hair and put sparkles on her dress. I think the new eyes are creepy, and I dislike that they took away her bow.

    What really bothers me is that we seem to have this either/or mentality, as if powerful women icons can’t also be feminine and beautiful and even sexy. It’s aggravating. Isn’t the power of choice the most important thing here? I like that you used Elizabeth Smart as an example, because she is! She’s so strong for overcoming the horrors she went through, but she’s not afraid to be feminine and beautiful and even a bit delicate looking– it doesn’t take away anything from her inner strength. Just my two cents.

    Like

  414. sailor moon..when i was young i loved to watch her and the sailor scouts…there are many strong females in the world soo many diffrent kinds of streangths my daughter is 1 and i think she likes princesses because of the crowns..she wears one as she sits and plays with her brothers cars and trucks..^.^

    Like

  415. Queen Elizabeth I

    Like

  416. let’s not forget that pretty much all of the princesses get over sexualized eventually. I mean, come ON, have you seen Ariel?

    Like

  417. Ann Richards. I never lived in Texas, but I admired the HELL out of her.
    Sandra Day O’Connor.
    Also Kate Hepburn.
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Diane Sawyer. Hillary Clinton. Michelle Obama.

    Like

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  418. 429
    Jennifer

    Amy Pond. I would LOVE to be as awesome as Amy Pond.

    My non-fictional hero is someone no one here will have heard of. Her name was Fatima, she was a woman who led a club I was in in high school, she was smart and well-informed, and she was amazing at saying just the right thing at the right time, at letting everyone speak their mind without feeling judged, and at telling someone they were wrong without making them feel terrible about it. She was kick-ass without making anyone feel like they were beneath her and I wish I were still in contact with her.

    Like

  419. actually, I saw something today that suggested Disney already took the new one down and replaced it with the old one

    Like

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  420. New Merida looks like a lesson against plastic surgery.

    Like

  421. My grandmother, my mom, my aunt and her wife, Hermione Granger, Amelia Pond, and last but not least, my physics teacher Mrs. Rooney for going through cancer and still coming back to teach us.

    Like

  422. I have sons, not daughters, but I was so totally offended by the makeover. It was just wrong.

    And everyone was right to hock you until you posted on this topic. Your voice is strong and heard by a whole lotta people.

    Good job, Bloggess!

    Like

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  423. Personal opinion: I don’t see a big difference between the two. When you point it out, I get that the new one looks a bit more sexualized, I suppose. But I really just kind of thought that one was computer animated and the other was made to look like a Disney Princess Character. Don’t they all kind of have those same features? I see little variance between this and Jasmine or Ariel or any of the other fabulous ladies I idolized as a child. And for the record I grew up to be super nerdy and quirky and not at all over sexualized, thanks to my family and teachers and the Power Rangers.

    To answer your question: Catwoman. I don’t feel it’s necessary to explain why, she’s just awesome.

    Like

  424. Kramania Sheperd from Mass Effect 3 in Geth armor.

    Like

  425. 436
    Starwefter

    Faye Valentine and Ed from Cowboy Bebop, Jame from P. C. Hodgell’s Kencyrath series.

    Like

  426. My mother and my wife. Other men finish the sentence “If you mess with her…” using some sort of threat. I say “…please make sure I’m around and have my phone out. Because your unfortunate future is going to be YouTube gold.”

    As far as fictional women go, I’ve always loved Princess Mononoke. Fierce determination personified. Also, one of the few animated women who didn’t feel the apparent need to break out the makeup and little black dress before heading out for a battle to the death.

    Like

  427. Hands down – Nikita. She’s a badass bitch who can knock out a man twice her size. If that’s not strength, I don’t know what it.

    Like

  428. Fiction: Elektra. Non-fiction: my grandmother, June Evers. I never met her but she was one of the first female pilots in the St. Louis area. She fell in love with flying as a girl when, for entertainment, the family would go out by the airport and watch the planes land and take-off. She decided she would be a pilot and then made that happen.

    Like

  429. I think you’re pretty fantastic. I think my Grandma is my favorite female hero.

    Like

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  430. 441
    Terri Hayes

    Well, shoot. I think you are now. You have some common sense.

    Like

  431. I’m so glad they stopped this. Terrible idea. Can we do something now about the lack of short-brown-haired Rapunzel? The weird value we associate with women having long hair is ridiculously obnoxious. It’s one thing to sell Rapunzel dolls who look like she does at the beginning of the movie, outfit and hair, but it’s another thing to have WeddingRapunzel dolls WHERE SHE STILL HAS LONG BLOND HAIR. What. The. Heck. Did you WATCH the movie? Anyway, I really like the way her character design change by the end, and it just makes me so sad not to see it anywhere.

    Like

  432. OH, in other news, my favorite female hero is (where to start?) probably Mulan. She fricking saved China! At 16. Also Madame Curie, my mom, Ching Shih, Enola Homes (fictional character from the shockingly good Nancy Springer YA series), and every single woman in the world who has ever been catcalled or yelled obscene things at on the street and has keep freaking walking. Or stopped to act deranged. Or yelled a clever comeback. Go women. We rule.

    Like

  433. Who’s a hero?
    Someone who’s experienced the worst and can still see the possibility of good.
    Someone who can love unconditionally and makes others feel cherished.
    Someone who takes action when they see injustice, inequity, or discrimination.
    Someone who is unafraid to speak their mind because they know their own self-worth.
    Someone who can crawl out of bed in the morning and face the day when all they really want to do is curl into the fetal position and cry their eyes out.
    Someone who is vulnerable enough to feel hurts and strong enough to move past them.
    Someone who is secure enough to apologize when it’s called for.
    Someone who defends those who can’t defend themselves.
    Someone who knows that if they can’t be a great leader then they’ll just step back and be a kick-ass follower.
    Someone who elicits and nurtures the best in others.
    Someone who can find humor in almost any situation and especially in themselves.
    Wait a minute, I forgot where I was. Someone who loves cats, metal chickens, taxidermied oddities, unicorns, and Doctor Who.
    What makes a superhero?
    Lycra.
    But seriously, if any of the above apply to you (except for the lycra bit), you stand a good chance of being a hero yourself.

    And I’m adding one more thing that makes a hero; something that I recently had an ah-ha moment about. You’re a hero when you can cry in public without saying “Sorry.” Like you need to apologize for having feelings. Fuck that!

    Love you, Jenny.

    Like

  434. Go, Jenny! You’re a strong female role model!

    — why the asscrack do we say “heroine” when the WORD “hero” comes from a female character in mythology? Shouldn’t the females be heroes, and the males, oh, I dunno, bull-heroes? Heroons? Something?

    Like

  435. 446
    Deborah T

    I see someone like Helen Keller as a strong woman…someone who against all odds achieved success in spite of her limitations in sight and hearing. It didn’t matter…she had spunk and she was helped & mentored and it was channeled by someone like Anne Sullivan into something positive that benefitted her the rest of her life.

    Like

  436. I like sexy princesses. As the filling in my breakfast sammich.
    As role models I prefer you, Allie Brosh, Brene Brown, Elly from Bugginword, Dawnie from The Dawnie Project, Lisa from Empty the Well. The list goes on.
    Women are amazeballs no matter the size of their waists.

    Like

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  437. Since no one else seems to of said it.. Mrs Brown!!!😛 (If you don’t know look up Mrs Browns Boys)

    Like

  438. I think the whole princess thing is creepy but then I don’t have children. The just seem to keep on doing things to put out new merchandise.

    My heroes, Dr Fiona Wood who is a burns specialist and developed spray on skin for the treatment of serious burns. Such an amazing woman. The other is my Gramma, the strongest woman I know.

    Like

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  439. She-ra princess of power!

    Like

  440. I think it matters not what I think. The desire to make more money crushes the ethic gene. If you don’t know that, you’ve been living in a bubble.
    I read through every comment…I have a list of people I’ve never heard of who are amazing in their own way. It’s gonna take me days to research everyone named here. And maybe that’s the point of this post…reminding each other how amazing real life and real people are. Fictional characters can inspire us, yes, but real people take that inspiration and create something wonderful and real that touches our own lives every single day.

    Like

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  441. Allie knocked it out of the park this month.

    Like

  442. I have split issues about disney princesses and the like… Mostly because I understand where people come from when they say disney women can tend to be all “curvy hips and saucy eyes” but I think it’s also a little dramatic to call them unrealistic role models.. because reality is.. they are fictional role models.. And the truth of the world is, girls may be putting Ariel on a pedestal but you also have to remember that at a certain age we all (boys too) stop looking at the cartoons of our past as examples of real life.. take that as a pessimistic point of view if you want (its honestly not intended to be one) but I think that’s the general truth, and what Jenny said in post is also true; if you can’t talk with your children and help them differentiate from fictional beauty and real world beauty then you can’t blame them when they assume these disney people are ok to want to look like. At the end of the day though, it’s a bloody cartoon. And an unfortunate truth for some is that some people do grow up to be attractive. Some people are given sex eyes and curvy bodies..

    Like

  443. But we judge EVERYONE and EVERYTHING, Jenny!
    Its in our nature to pass judgement on the choices and life paths of others in order to offset feelings of resentment about our own choices.
    That having been said, I couldn’t care less if some Disney animator is drawing his characters one-handed now…

    Like

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  444. Even her facial expression gives off the impression of skankiness. Too bad for Disney as the original one was just lovely on her own.

    Like

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  445. I have to say that I do care about this ‘sexy’ new portrayal of Merida, if only because it’s yet another Disney princess that fits a certain stereotype that is out there in spades already. One of the things I most loved about Brave was that strong independent character and watching the dynamics between her and her mother change throughout the film. I’m glad they have gone back to the skinny, feisty tom boy with a big heart.

    Other fictional characters I love and would like to emulate: Tiffany Aching (from the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett), Hermione Granger and Sophie (from Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynn Jones).

    The first heroine I could think of was Emmeline Pankhurst and all the other Suffragettes who fought for womens voting rights in Britain. I also love what Elizabeth Warren is doing at the moment. I quite appreciate Florence Nightingale. And last but not least – You.

    Like

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  446. OMG she does look like Merida’s evil twin!
    I think they ruined the whole effect of Merida. Merida never seemed like she would be super sexy looking or wearing makeup and having her hair look fabulous. I loved that she was all over the place and strong, knowing what she wanted in life. I loved that story and it upsets me they are changing her. I saw this online a few days ago and got upset. I know they change the look sometimes (Cinderella’s pixar-ish look is a little different than the original, but still) but why so much? I know there are very sexy princesses (Ariel – but she was a mermaid and Jasmine-they had her in traditional Indian clothing). I just really hope they don’t ever try to do this to Sofia the First. My daughter loves her and she is a little girl princess so it would be horrible to do it to her.

    Like

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  447. Diane Sawyer, Merrie Spaeth, Hillary Clinton, Gloria Stienem, and my grandma.

    Like

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  448. omg, I forgot Hermoine Granger! What an oversight

    Like

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  449. Anne Morrow Lindbergh–strength, sensitivity, insight, adventurous spirit.

    Like

  450. 462
    Christine gregory

    I know she been mention a few times but Grace Hopper. If she haven’t change programming so that you don’t have to use binary to do it, the would would be very different. I am not sure if internet would be around.

    Like

  451. Glad to see I am not the only one that preferred to use Disney as entertainment rather than education. As to my favorite super-woman? My Aunt Hattie – who at 92 still wore red heels, outlived two husbands and had the most awesome apartment ever. And my daughter – who just graduated college and never ceases to surprise me with her interesting life.

    Like

  452. Didn’t Asmaa Mahfouz say something about a bombing of Americans being a good thing? I’m not remembering the exact quote, but she didn’t strike me as someone to take home to mother. It’s buried under all the hero worship on Google. There are a lot better role models for your daughter. Personally, I think Jenny Lawson is a good one for anyone. As for the new Merida look, I prefer the old look. The new one creeps me out a bit – she looks a lot like some of the Disney baddies. We are getting our role models from the wrong places – if your kid thinks she should be a Disney princess, someone isn’t doing their job at home.

    Like

  453. I showed the pictures to my three year ild, after she clambered (sp? early, no coffeee) in my bed and started peeking over my shoulder. “Oh, look at those!” she chirped while pointed at the pictures. ” Which one do you like best?” I asked. ” That one!” she immediately replied, pointing to the one on the left ( the Original).

    I smiled to myself, feeling proud of her for taking of her own accord the politically correct route, until she said: ” Actually? Both of them. I like both of them Mama!”

    And then I realized that my three year old is way smarter not only than me, but apparently also smarter than most adults. As how is that NOT the best answer or response? She did not compare, contrast, insult, look down on, nor in any way judge one over the other based merely – MERELY! – on looks. Sure one “looks” prettier/sexier/(insert your version) than the other, and one “looks” hardier/stronger/(insert your version) than the other. But since when do we encourage our kids to judge based on looks alone? What message does it send pulling one version – that heroines should never want to look sexy? That we should feel threatened by prettiness to the point of taking the new version as a moral affront to all that is good and just in the world?

    Based on her response, I feel hopeful my daughters are growing up with a self-worth that will lend to them having friends of a variety of looks and talents/skills/attributes – and never feel inferior nor superior but instead appreciate each for the individual that they are. And that, to me – is magnificant.

    Like

  454. My grandma, greatest woman ever. She could tell you anything you needed to know about anything it seemed. A Texan her whole life. Most caring to anyone that needed it. And cool as hell. I didn’t witness this but my cousin was driving her around one day and the song I wanna see your peacock came on and she listened to it got out of the car and yelled at her husband “hey Arthur I wanna see your peacock cock cock”. She was 62 I think when she did this. She just had fun and didn’t care. Love and miss her.

    Like

  455. Hillary Clinton. Gets shit done, knows the power of a verbal smackdown, one of the most intelligent women in existence, funny as hell, fashion sense to spare, and doesn’t let the millions of people hating on her bother her in the slightest. I’ve wanted to be Hillary when I grow up since the early 90s.

    Like

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  456. Most of us grew up with the examples of princesses being Snow White and Cinderella and both of them had to be rescued by the prince. *sigh* It’s a cartoon. I recognized that it wasn’t real life. My mother taught me that while it might be fun to pretend to be a princess, it’s better to grow up to be a doctor, lawyer, mechanic or whatever else I might want to be so long as I wasn’t depending on someone else to provide my happiness or my dinner. I love the old Merida but I don’t mind the new one either. In fact, I’d rather have the new Merida than say, Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton.

    Like

  457. Your daughter actually has a great idea. That way, the artist who created the skanky version will be able to keep his job.

    I think Mother Teresa and Sally Ride are two of my favorite women to look up to, for different reasons, of course. And you…always you, Jenny Lawson!

    Like

  458. 470
    Telzey Amberdon

    Well, just from reading this blog alone, it looks like an awful lot of people *do* give a shit!

    But be honest, do you really care what the majority of people does or doesn’t give a shit about? I mean, the majority of people seem to think that football scores ARE THE MOST IMPORTANTEST THING ON THE PLANET!!!1!! GO TEAM! And I think we all know, at heart, they really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

    If you go on the Disney site, you’ll see that Sexy Merida items are on sale, and the normal-teen Merida items are full-price. Maybe they’re having trouble selling Sexy Merida?

    Like

  459. I have to disagree. As a mother of a teen daughter I’ve spent years countering the images she sees daily. Of course it’s my responsibility but when popular companies make it harder for girls to feel good about themselves it’s also my responsibility to let them know what I think. Look Mattel changed Barbie after outside pressure.

    Like

  460. Wilma Rudolph. First American woman to win 3 track and field Gold medals in a single Olympics. After having polio and wearing a leg brace as a child, she grew up to become the fastest woman on earth.

    Like

  461. My female heroes are Betty White (she’s just plain awesome), Helen Mirren (she rocks), Melissa McCarthy (I love that she is who she is and makes no excuses) and so many other women who are not famous but do amazing things everyday.

    Like

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  462. 474
    nancy staub

    Well Disney must have read you blog and the comments! It seems they pulled the Whorey Princess!!!!!

    Like

  463. Mulan! Liz Lemon! Tina Fey! Amy Poehler! Hillary Clinton! There’s too many to choose from!

    Like

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  464. This is maybe the most amazing opinion I’ve seen on this topic, so thanks for chiming in.

    From now until the end of my days (or at least until this ‘controversy’ dries up,) I’m going to use the phrases ” I-might-trust-her-to-babysit-my-kid-when-she’s-a-little-older Merida” and “get-the-fuck-away-from-my-husband Merida” to talk about this subject.

    Like

  465. Yes. Corporations should not be the ones molding our children. I wish more people would just get that already. Also She-Ra Princess of Power was the bomb.

    Like

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  466. 478
    Kristina

    I’m a pretty private person myself so often think like you do, that I’ll focus my attention on my own kids, and leave other parents to deal with their own children. So I don’t speak up and reassure myself that these sort of things don’t really change anything anyways. Then I hear about a story of a man who seems to have some how bought into the” women as sex objects” so fully that he kept 3 young girls in his basement for 10 years. And I’m not trying to say that Disney had any influence on him. I’m just starting to feel like my silence in not objecting more strongly has become part of the problem. So maybe it is time to speak up. And if petitions don’t work maybe we can figure out something that does. One thing I know, I getting kind of tired of business as usual by Corps like Disney.

    Like

  467. Can I get an Amy Poehler lunch box from somewhere?

    Like

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  468. 480
    bluesabriel

    I wasn’t aware of it until someone named Peggy Drexler wrote an opinion piece for CNN saying that people were actually being ridiculous about this and the REAL problem was that society doesn’t think “babes” can be heroes, too. And then I completely lost my mind. She even said that the film’s directer, in calling this “sexist”, was implying that sexy girls can’t be heroes.

    What.

    I commented on the article, put up a rant on Facebook, and shut up. A few days later, my sister texted me and said my comment on CNN was the top rated comment on the article. So, there’s hope, you guys.

    Like

  469. A good point, and your examples reminded me of this project I saw posted earlier this week from a photographer who, instead of dressing her 5 year old up like a princess for birthday photos, took some cool pictures of her as some strong women from history…

    http://www.jaimemoorephotography.com/2013/05/09/not-just-a-girl/

    Like

  470. WELL SAID! I think trollop princess Merida is ridiculous BUT my daughter will know that because I WILL TEACH HER. **totally signed the mighty girl petition, though.

    everyone relax and go watch Doctor Who.

    Like

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  471. I come from a long line of single mothers- my mother, my grandmother (who raised four kids eight and under alone in the 60s), and my great-grandmother, who divorced in the 30s, which couldn’t have been easy. All of them are my heroes.

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  472. I love you every day, but especially today because of this post.

    Juliette Gordon Low (founder of Girl Scouts in the US) and Amelia Earhart are two strong women I admire. Also, my mom.

    Like

  473. I can’t pick a favorite female hero–there are too many awesome choices.

    But you are spot on to point out the issue on both sides. One, it is wrong that corporations and mass media continue to sexualize women in every single facet, yet, two–if we are relying on those outlets to be the primary influencers for our kids, that isn’t okay, either.

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  474. Fatema Mernissi

    http://www.mernissi.net

    Manal Hamzeh

    http://www.nmsu.edu/~wstudies/manal-hamzeh-.html

    as of this moment these two lead the charge. i have lots of heroes.

    Like

  475. River Song, no doubt.

    Like

  476. My four-year-old daughter’s hero is definitely her mother. When she grows up, she wants to be a math professor and prove theorems just like mommy. Her favorite fictional character of the moment is Sara from the Amazon pilot “Sara Solves It”, which she’s watched at least a dozen times (honestly, we’re not pushing the math on her).

    Like

  477. 489
    JennHall

    I love Amy Poehler, Amanda Palmer, Taylor Swift, Marie Curie, Ree Drummond, Sunny Anderson, and my favorite librarian here at OSU, Lynne Simpson. As for male heros, I love Neil deGrasse Tyson, Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, and Buzz Aldrin. Pop culture and science unite!

    Like

  478. I really don’t understand what the big deal is. So they made her a little skinnier. They still kept the round face, and the uncontrollable hair. It still looks like Miranda.

    People shouldn’t be getting their self image from TV and cartoons anyway.

    And you don’t have to go out and buy all the ridiculousness merchandise they are going to be putting out to sell the new princess. You can choose to get things that have no merchandising on them at all, or make your own princess and put it on an iron on.

    Like

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  479. Oh Gwaad I am probably going to be hated but my favourite woman super hero is flaming smexy, Cat Women Specifically Michelle Pfieffer as Cat women.

    Like

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  480. 492
    thebigredwino

    Didn’t the sexify the new Rainbow Brite too? She was my very favorite (yeah that pretty much dates me right there)….I was pretty heartbroken to see the new Rainbow Brite but I didn’t go start a petition or anything. ..just shrugged my shoulders snd said “well now the world has officially gone to shit”. And what’s even worse…I can’t think of one hero right now for myself…hero fail….the only person coming to mind is Michonne from The Walking Dead because she kicks ass!

    Like

  481. As a tomboy redhead, I was thrilled when Disney put out a capable, spunky, real-waisted, redheaded heroine in Merida. Can’t let that positive message stand for too long, huh Disney? So the marketing department revamped Merida into a Real Housewife of Orkney. I am not surprised. I was surprised that Merida was allowed a natural look to begin with. I will be boycotting the tramp version of Merida. Voting with my dollars is the only power I have left. Sigh.

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  482. My mom and grandmother are my real life heros. As for “make believe”, I was and will always be a Wonder Woman fanatic. Some ofm y favorite childhood memories are jumping from couch to couch in my Wonder Woman underoos to avoid the lava (carpet) and save the man who got himself in trouble…again.

    As for the new Merida – I agree wholeheartedly. I don’t rely on corporations to show my children what is right, whether it be Barbie or Disney, or any other corp. I’ve already tried to show my children who the real heroes are – to the point they gave me a Wonder Woman coffee mug for Mother’s Day (and it is AWESOME!).

    And for those not paying attention because you are too riled up, Disney pulled “sexy” Merida yesterday. Good for you for protesting and good for them for listening.

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  483. AMEN. I completely agree that, while its maybe not the best that these images are out there, the more important thing to do is to take control of the conversation and change it. Everyone needs a little reminder, especially the young ‘uns, now and again that what really matters is what you think about yourself and who the best version of you is.

    My female heros and role models are my incredible friends. They are amazing people who triumph over boring real-life adversity every day and they generally do it with a smile and grace and, if not, at least a good sense of grit and humor. I am thankful every day that I have them around to constantly inspire me and pick me up when I have trouble remembering what my best version is.

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  484. 496
    Cheryl in Wisconsin

    Female heroes? Hillary Clinton. My grandmothers, Lillian and Gladys. And all the lady bloggers that I follow loyally that toss issues like these ‘out there’.

    Like

  485. OR, we could start admitting that everyone is a sexual being and stop judging women who embrace their own sexuality. And teach our children that there is a time and place for everything and that they need not be ashamed of their boobies.

    (Or better yet…both. ~ Jenny)

    Like

  486. Marie Curie is my favorite female hero!:-)

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  487. Pippi Longstocking. She will forever be my favorite female character.

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  488. Julia Child, hands down. Her determination, zest for life and all its experiences, willingness to stand up for herself and self confidence as she elbowed for room in the “men rule and women drool” culture that existed then are inspirational. It doesn’t hurt that she was also willing to look foolish, cursed like a sailor and was bawdy as hell.

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  489. When I was in elementary school my favorite women were Wonder Woman and Clara Barton (she started the Red Cross). Nowadays it’s almost any woman that has withstood or is withstanding her own trials. I see strong women in almost everyone. I didn’t even know this had happened to Merida, I guess that is what happens when I have boys 12 and older and live in a household that hasn’t watched a Disney movie in years.

    Like

  490. There are many. The first few I think of from fiction:
    Herminone for being brilliant and let’s be honest, no one would have survived the war without her.
    Katniss, but more-so Prim (girl gave her life, she deserves a little more mention than her “oh golly who do I love more” sister)
    And Bernadette, because she went for a nerd, and doesn’t stand for his “women are here to serve me” shit. She taught him to be a better man instead.

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  491. You, for reminding us that prevailing can mean anywhere from barely hanging in there to thriving,
    Me, for learning how to live with a brain bleed…and prevailing,
    Marlee Matlin,
    Mary Oliver,
    And my Full Moon Goddess Gathering.

    Prevail~Tattoo Girl

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  492. “I showed the new Merida to my eight-year-old and she assumed that it was Merida’s evil twin. ” I would hope my niece had the same reaction. We’re not going to stop the trend to oversexualize things — children’s clothing, toys, images in the media. For every “success” there are hundreds, thousands of images that make it through to public consciousness. What we can do it raise our children (our girls AND boys) to understand that the images in the media do not always represent what we are and should be.

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  493. 505
    Doc Hawkeye

    1. I agree with you totally about Merida–when I first saw her on some Disney product or other in a store, I was pleased to see a competent and successful heroine who didn’t look like a classical beauty; I’m disappointed they made the change.

    2. My female hero is my wife– she’s had serious chronic health problems for four years that confine her to bed for at least half of the time, and she still tries to help people out whenever she can, and gets very upset when she’s so ill that she can’t.

    Like

  494. Merida looks like she may have gotten cheek implants and some blurring-shes just not as clear.

    Like

  495. Evil twin would be such an awesome explanation for the ‘new’ Merida. Love it.

    My female hero is Angelina Jolie. She is a great role model that you can be a totally fucked-up young person and turn it around spectacularly.

    BTW, I’ve been reading your book during my acupuncture appointments (it’s community acupuncture, in Lazy-boy chairs, fully clothed and we’re allowed to read e-books if the pins are such that you can move one finger a bit) and the acupuncture part came up. I laughed so hard a pin flew out my ear. No shit! God’s honest truth.

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  496. 508
    Michelle Greer

    – Benazir Bhutto
    – Aung San Suu Kyi
    – Leila Janah, CEO of Samasource
    – Elaine Wynn
    – Bobbi Brown (the makeup one, not the mess of an ex-singer one.
    – my Mom

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  497. My fave is Xev Bellringer from Lexx. =) She knows who she is, what she wants, and doesn’t take crap.

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  498. New Merida looks like Beth Broderick (Aunt of Sabrina the teenage witch) in a ginger wig!

    Like

  499. Bravo! Well said!

    Female hero? I have many. Funny-none of them are TV charachters, movie stars or famous people.

    Like

  500. 512
    Meredith Miller

    Jane Goodall.❤

    Like

  501. 514
    Stephanie

    Hypatia, first woman of mathematics.

    Also, Tina Fey

    Like

  502. As a father of three young girls, I can relate. My heroes are Elizabeth Blackburn and Barbara McClintock.

    Like

  503. My Great-Grandmother Estelle. She wrote me letters until she was 103 and told me that her eyes didn’t work for her anymore. Anyway, she was the first woman to go to college in Texas. They made up a degree for her, something like “Administrative Helper” degree. She was courageous and I miss her verve.

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  504. My favorite hero – two actually. My mother, who passed away sixteen years ago, and my best friend Vicki, who died of cancer three years ago. Both were teachers, they dedicated their lives to teaching other women’s children (in addition to their own) and they did it with love and compassion and sacrifice. My mother was a peacemaker, she mellowed my dad (not an easy thing to do with the “hellion of southeastern Idaho”) and put up with my brother (even less easy) and me (however, I was a model child and a piece of cake to raise). Vicki put up with a jackass of a husband, who was addicted to porn and never kept a job longer than six months, and put all four kids through school. Both these women, sadly, are gone…but I know – without a shadow of a doubt – that they’ve already organized a book club in heaven!!

    Like

  505. You make some valid points, but overall I think you are missing the mark here. Missing the mark? Get it?

    Anyways…Brave is a great movie. For once we have a princess who actively does not want a guy, nor does she end up with one in the end. She just wants to be left alone to do her thing, she uses her wits and physical strength, she makes mistakes and overcomes them. The focus is on her abilities and choices, and not (largely) on her physical appearance. That is commendable and makes Merida a great example of feminism for my 5 y/o son and 3 y/o daughter.

    Being sexy is well and good, and there’s a place for it, but a big problem is that they tarted Merida up so that she could be “officially” included as a Disney princess. Sure, she was a princess in a Disney movie before the tarting, but not included as a Real True Disney Princess (they had a ceremony and everything!) until after her makeover. Merida needed better hair, a smaller waist, a lower neckline, a prettier dress and more feminine features before she could hang out with Cinderella and company. AND they took away her bow and arrows. I am not okay with that. Merida was just fine they way she was in the movie, why change her appearance for inclusion into the Princess Club? It sends the message that Merida, as great as she was before, still wasn’t good enough. The focus has shifted from her abilities and strengths to how she looks. And that’s just wrong.

    Now, there are plenty of great fictional and real-life examples of strong women for my kids. I am proud and maybe a bit arrogant to place myself as #1 on that list for my kids. I plan to be at #1 for a long, long time. But I need to find that awesome feminist kick-ass mentality in as many places as possible, so that I can hold them up to my kids as a shining example of what they can do and be. This is especially true since in a few years (gulp!) I will not be as awesome to my kids as I am right now. When they think I’m uncool, I still want them to look at these other examples of awesome and strive accordingly.

    You may think I don’t need this one example, and maybe you’re right, but right now when my kids are into all things Disney, I want that example there. I want there to be a princess (who was fine just the way she was!) as she was when first created and introduced to my kids–strong, capable, independent–and not changed and made sexier for inclusion into the Princess Club. And while there are plenty of women heroes, there aren’t enough. Not because they aren’t there, but because they are not publicized, and certainly not marketed the way a Disney product is. With all the challenges women face all over the world, we need as many positive examples as we can get. Even with fictional animated Princesses.

    Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie, Helen Keller, Sally Ride, Ruth Bader Ginsberg et al. aren’t getting their own lunchboxes anytime soon. That’s sad. Merida will get her own lunchbox (probably already has) and her pre-makeover appearance needs to be the image on that lunchbox. I think Disney, and you, are missing the bigger picture…Merida was just fine before, and changing her shape/size/form/features sends a message loud and clear that being great simply isn’t good enough.

    A conversation about over-sexualization is great, and there are PLENTY of opportunities to discuss that. But for this example, I’d like to tell my kids that Disney got Merida right the first time and she’s just fine they way she is. And that they are, too.

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  506. Buffy..the slayer…of vampires

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  507. The problem isn’t just that she’s pretty and tarty now. The problem is the NOW. Of course, I liked the former Merida, a realistic and not overly glammed up gal for my girls to see on the screen. She was strong, and pretty, and a princess, and still had something to learn, too. A real girl, but still a princess. But the problem here is they changed her. That wasn’t good enough. They had to send the message that all that wasn’t enough, but that now she must be changed and glammed up, lose 10 pounds and made prettier and get bigger breasts. For me the problem is they changed her. Had they started with her one way, it might have been different. Like you said, it’s okay to like princesses or pretty dresses. Feminism is supposed to be about us getting to choose what we like. The problem here is she wasn’t good enough the way she was.

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  508. My daughter got the Merida doll for her birthday and she held her in her hand and said, “This doesn’t really look like Merida”. Kids are not stupid.

    Like

  509. I partially agree. I think some people feel that they can eradicate all sexy and/or less heroic images of women in media. It’s not going to happen, and it wouldn’t make any sense if it did. In the world there will always be sexy and/or less heroic women in life, so there will always be a place for them in depictions of the world, even fictional ones.

    I do, however, support a call to get greater variety in a world of media that is dominated by women and girls who are conventionally sexy or pretty and who rely on others to be their heroes. I think the Merida makeover really stings because she had been viewed as the outlier. She had been viewed as the alternative. The makeover seems to be removing that otherness that so many women and girls embraced and turning her into just another pretty princess.

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  510. 523
    Crystal Tolbert

    You are my hero!

    Like

  511. My mom is pretty bad ass. She taught me that I needed to take care of myself and not rely on anyone (especially a man) to support me. When I was little a girl on my soccer team was picking on me. My mom told me if I didn’t do something to make her stop, she was gonna beat my ass. The next day I pushed the girl down and she never bothered me again

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  512. My mom would be my hero! Raised 5 kids all by herself while working hard and making a career for herself. She is now the manager and training to be CEO of a medical clinic in her small town. So proud of her.

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  513. I think the “right” answer is probably somewhere in between your view and those leading the crusade. Yeah, it’s not Disney or anyone else’s job to parent your child and it’s really annoying for the rest of us when parents think it is. However, it’s also important to look at the bigger picture and understand how this type of attitude presented by Disney in doing this affects all girls, even those with awesome parents. We don’t exist in a vacuum and aggressions against women (including small ones like this), are important to acknowledge within the greater society. We should let companies know that tarting up a beloved female character aimed at young children is not cool. So, yeah, parent your child in a way that provides her a strong female role model, but also maybe fight against ridiculous things like the Merida change for the times when you aren’t around to protect her. Or for the kids who don’t have the kinds of parents who will show them positive female role models.

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  514. Laura Ingalls Wilder was my hero growing up. I read through the stories and trials of her growing up in a very different age. How she tried to help her family by working at chores so the family could survive, as well as getting her teaching license at age 14 so she could work and help provide income to her family [and allow her sister to attend a school for the blind]. She was a selfless woman and she persevered. In today’s time, so many of us don’t want to grow up and be responsible, but to think she was a grown adult and contributing member of society at such a young age, it keeps things in perspective for the spoiled children of today. We allow our kids to have fun, we take care of and often too much.
    I have always been a very independent woman, and if I have children someday, I hope to be able to teach them this independence as well. To think for themselves and value themselves.
    And now…You are an inspiration to me Jenny, and my new hero for stand for all of that! :-)

    Like

  515. 528
    Angela Guy

    You, dear Jenny!:-)
    Beryl Markham (amazing aviator, writer, racehorse trainer)
    Betty White

    Like

  516. Liese Meitner. Should be as well known as Marie Curie. It was she who first realized that large atomic nuclei can undergo nuclear fission. Made her bones as a jewish woman in Otto Hahn’s lab. Solved the problem of fission while in solitary exile during a visit by her physicist nephew. Every feminist should know her name (IMHO).

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  517. I haven’t read through all 521 comments – but did anyone else see what Disney did to Ursula the Underwater Sea Witch from “The Little Mermaid”? What the HECK happened to her??????

    Like

  518. My super-hero? The BLOGGESS, of course. Thwarts attacks by kittens-gone-mad, fights her inner demons whilst making others laugh, keeps her husband guessing (whether she’s for real or not), and can probably leap tall buildings… but doesn’t cuz she’s somewhat scared of the publicity that would garner.

    Like

  519. All I could come up with about this is, ‘Who the heck is Merida?’

    Like

  520. 533
    Modrocker

    You can make lunchboxes on zazzle can’t you? Why not make ones with real women heroines on them?

    Like

  521. Helen Gurley Brown…feminism without losing her femininity.

    Like

  522. 535
    amgoodnight

    My mom is amazing. Had me at 17, but somehow got her shit together and raised us all right. My 2 younger brothers and I all graduated, I graduated from college and not a single illegitimate child among us (not that there’s a damn thing wrong with illegitimate children – as a bastard myself I can tell you that we are the best, hands down).

    Charlotte is not a woman, but if I were ever a spider I would want to be her. She was smart, brave, fearless and the best friend anyone could ever hope to have. Talk about a hero that didn’t rely on her looks.

    My other childhood hero was Baby. She was smart, independant, fearlessly stood up for what and who she believed in, had an amazing wardrobe, finally nailed the lift, snagged Johnny and refused, and I mean fucking refused, to be put in a corner. All that and she carried a watermelon, too? You go, Baby!

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  523. I think it’s important to also teach kiddos that strong women can look like sexy Merida too (i.e. that pretty women can be smart too). Just because Disney put some mascara on her doesn’t mean she’s changed on the inside. Pretty doesn’t equal stupid.

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  524. It’s a perfect conversation to have with your offspring, but on the other hand, I don’t think it hurts to teach your kids to fight the power and make their displeasure known when something so ridiculous occurs, either. My great-niece’s reaction to new Merida was “is she from the flea market?”. In all of her previous experience with poorly rendered characters, there was a link to cheap counterfeit goods.

    Like

  525. Favorite cartoon female hero: Gadget from Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers!

    Like

  526. I’m not really sure where I stand on this one. People should definetly teach their own kids not to have shitty standards for women, but similarly, Disney has a lot of influence over children, and something so popular will change a lot of kids opinions. Says the childless 18 year old.

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  527. First, I assume one billion people have shared this with you already: http://www.jaimemoorephotography.com/2013/05/09/not-just-a-girl/.

    Second, my band is recording a song about Ada Lovelace on Sunday!!! We are very excited because we will be able to share the awesomeness of Ada Lovelace with the 18 people who know about our band. :) The song is called Enchantress of Numbers.

    Third, a few years ago I participated in a music thingy and wrote a bunch of songs about strong women. This was when I wrote the Ada Lovelace song but I also wrote songs about Ani DiFranco, Georgia O’Keefe, Marie Curie, Julia Child and Janine Benyus. The song about Ani DiFranco made it onto our debut album and it is called Ignite.

    Finally, I love you post (well, I love all your posts…) and you are right – we need to teach our girls what strong great women look like, not leave it to Disney.

    Like

  528. Any of Tamora Pierce’s heroines.

    Like

  529. 542
    BoppaJohn!

    Tank Girl. It’s ok to call her “girl”, cuz she has a tank. You gonn’a mess with that?

    Like

  530. The bigger question is why disney hasn’t sexed up Angela Lansbury from Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

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  531. I know several women that I believe are heroic, but I’m going to focus on 2.

    My best friends mother – who has lymphoma and undergone 2 bone marrow transplants. She bitches along the way, but she doesn’t let lymphoma or cancer define her or own her. She is still the same woman she was before, sparkly jewelry, mink coat, can of tab with a straw in a coozy… just with curly hair now.

    And, my mother. Widowed at 39 with 2 little girls she carried on and for her entire life proved to us that a woman does not NEED a man not only to survive, but to be successful and happy. She is currently fighting metastatic breast cancer with everything she can while just settling a rather bitter divorce – and through it all (despite the pain, anguish, and worry of being a “burden” on her family) she has continued to project herself as a strong, independent woman who can be happy, peaceful, and get things done all on her own.

    Like

  532. No question: Ace from Doctor Who. She was brave and she blew things up.

    Like

  533. 546
    cakeburnette

    Temple Grandin. Marie Curie.

    Like

  534. 547
    singingill

    Anita Hill

    Like

  535. 548
    Sommer Aweidah

    Wonder Woman. Always has been, always will be. Linda Carter embodied her beautifully too. I still (at almost 40 years old) want to grow up to be wonder woman, but I’m not sure that’s how it works. Maybe it is though.

    Like

  536. 549
    Anonymous

    I was disheartened when I saw the revamped/vamped Merida, and posted a big deep sigh to my Facebook page.
    I was totally “re-heartened” when a half dozen male friends of mine said they prefer the original, that she IS the sexy Merida….or rather, she will be when she turns adult.

    Heroes? The unsung scientists like Barbara McCllintock… My great aunt Reina who went to Albuquerque after WWII to work in UNM’s nursing department and spent much time helping on the reservations as well… And going back to the War of 1812, Dolly Madison who thought to save the Gilbert Stuart painting of George Washington along with other treasures of the new Republic.
    From fiction, how could we forget Major Margaret Houlihan of MASH, who learned so very much over the course of that show and brought me along with her.

    Like

  537. Then we need to do away with lady Gaga then. She is way more slutter (and fucked upper) than Madonna ever was. Meat dresses for God sakes! What is the young generation supposed to think…..organic, or not organic meat?

    I do not have children of my own (as I have choosen not to), there is more than enough small humans running around that we can all share. I do encourage all the children around me to think for them selves, and not let cooperate-bullshit-mind control-consumer driven society think for them. And Disney is EVIL!

    Like

  538. Seven of Nine. Amy Pond. Princess Leia.

    I need to take a cold shower now.

    Like

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  539. My favorite woman hero is Abigail Adams. She single-handedly kept the farm going … WHILE THE BRITISH ATTACKED … raised several kids and found time to provide advice and counsel to her husband John. He wasn’t around for YEARS, and when he came back after being president the farm was bigger and more profitable than when last he looked. She ROCKED!

    Like

  540. Nancy Drew, Harriet the Spy and my Aunt Eleanor, who assisted Philo T. Farnsworth, wrote secretarial handbooks, and in her later years went to college for women’s studies and worked the night sports desk at her local newspaper.

    Like

  541. There’s quite a few, but when I was a kid the first strong woman I saw on TV who made an impression on me was Lt. Uhura. She rocked. Yes, she “repeated the computer” in a very short skirt, and Galaxy Quest was right to make fun of it. But she was also high in the comand chain, had a position of responsibility that she took seriously, and when she ended up in a “tarted up” role it was clearly not to her liking.

    I don’t like Merida’s re-branding, but mostly because it was so amazingly unnecessary. There was nothing that had to change with the character. It makes me shudder to think what they’ll do to Leia.

    Like

  542. OMG! I totally didn’t mean to write the word ‘SLUTTER’, it was meant to be ,more ‘SLUTTY’ than Madonna. But fuck me, its a fucking word. SLUTTER means, Slut and Gutter together. That is way cool. New word for me you slutters.

    I think I have way to many rude words for a discussion about kids shit. Sorry! And Disney is still EVIL! Go outside and get an imagination.

    Like

  543. Favorite fictional hero: Buffy Summers
    Favorite real-person hero: Mary Shelley, creator of Frankenstein

    Like

  544. My favorite super hero is my Mom. She was widowed with 7 children ranging in ages 19 to 2 years. She was always our Champion. She once told a teacher I had that basically told her I was too stupid to be a scientist that ‘today she wants to be a scientist tomorrow she might want to be a garbage collector and I have no doubt that whatever she chooses she will be the best at it.’ Then I like to think she karate chopped the woman, lol.

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  545. 558
    Corpsegoddess

    My female hero was always Boudica. You want to kill her husband, rape her and her daughters and try to wipe out her tribe? Sure, no problem. She’ll just rally everybody around her and burn Londinium to the ground.

    Oh, and this made my day: http://www.dorktower.com/2013/05/14/princess-makeover-dork-tower-14-05-13/

    My husband said the Merida in the last panel looks suspiciously familiar…

    (Pixar owes me royalties for stealing my hair)

    Like

  546. Hero’s:
    My Mom, Grandmothers, Aunts
    My bosses’ boss – she has a set of brass _ _ _ _ _!
    Laura Bush & Barbara Bush
    Sandra Day O’Connor
    Brene Brown
    and um, Jenny “the Bloggess” – because she makes me smile and hug myself tight!!!!

    Like

  547. Jess Darling from the Jess Darling series (Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpings, etc.) by Megan McCafferty because she’s not afraid to be herself, whether that be a bumbling fool or a pretty insightful woman or sometimes just a fucking moron. I like that.

    And women who are not heroes? Anyone from The Walking Dead. Especially Laurie and Andrea (I had to look up her name because she’s that forgettable) who are stupid and are only there to fuck really hot guys who may or may not be evil (ok, I loved Shane and actually thought he was the best developed character on the show, and he also happened to be the hottest, but let’s be real in saying that he was clearly out to kill Rick, the one character I can’t stand for his idiocy and tendency to not explain himself–who the fuck responds to the question “What are you doing?” as “Stuff…and things.” Go fuck yourself, Rick) but can’t actually defend themselves. But I really like Michonne and respect her because a) she can wield a katana, and that’s badass and Max Brooks says that’s one of the best weapons in a zombie apocalypse and b) she’s silent but deadly, and I like that.

    Like

  548. 561
    Michelle

    Character-wise? It’s a tie between Katniss Everdeen and Aliena from “Pillars of the Earth”. Kick-ass, strong women characters are empowering.

    I actually think the argument shouldn’t focus on beauty, but self-reliance (good), or the lack thereof (bad). A story with a total babe who can take care of herself– Right on. It’s the typical damsel in distress that royally pisses me off. Although I loved “Sleeping Beauty” as a kid, what a shitty message– she needs a prince to come save her? Just fuckin’ wake up and kill the damn witch yourself. You have 3 freaking fairies to help you. Come. On. Cinderella? How can you not get all your animal friends to smother your asshole stepsisters in their sleep? There is nothing that says you can’t be f-ing gorgeous AND a kick-ass-ninja-dragon-slayer all at the same time. Let’s be creative here, ladies.

    Like

  549. 562
    Susan S.

    Charlotte from The Princess and the Frog was a spoiled, jiggly, giggly airhead and I loved her for it because that was just who she was, with Merida they took a tomboy who was happy with the way she was and turned her into a tart– that I do have a problem with. It’s basically saying, yeah she’s cute and spunky but really, tiny impressionable children, isn’t she so much better now that we’ve taken everything unique about her? Look at her tiny waist and bedroom eyes, doesn’t she look happier and wouldn’t you be happier if you changed everything wonderful about who you are to be something your not?

    Like

  550. 563
    Eleanorjane

    Beth Ditto from Gossip. An amazing singer, musican and performer.

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  551. 564
    I Agree with You

    I get the point you are trying to make here and I even agree with you. Really I do. What I disagree with though is the way you go about making your point and the examples that you use. That if you are beautiful (aka whorey) that you are somehow an amoral person and you can’t be trusted around other people’s husbands! or that if you have a small waist you must be starving yourself for it and must be in need of a sandwich!
    While we’re at trying to change these unrealistic concepts of beauty that the media inflicts upon us and our children, why not go whole hog and toss out all the cliche stereotypes we love clinging to as well?

    Like

  552. My favorite female hero is my mother, who was a single mom for the first twelve years of my life after refusing to marry my father because she didn’t love him. She put herself through her bachelors and Masters programs and her Psych internships while raising a son and fighting with a disability, and she gave me the best childhood I could imagine.

    She never grew bitter, never felt shortchanged by life, or if she did it never showed. She’s the most loving and caring woman alive, and I’ll stab anyone who argues with me on that point. She has a kind of strength of character and heart that I can only envy, and the ability to love people without question or condition. She spent the best years of her life sacrificing everything for me and she’s never asked for anything in return.

    A not even close second is Zoe Washburn from Firefly, I guess.😉

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  553. My Gram. When my grandfather, a WWII vet, was denied a mortgage by the bank claiming they didn’t make enough money to pay it back, my Gram put on her nicest outfit (including high heels), and walked almost 5 miles in the slopping Pennsylvania hills to the bank. She asked to see the manager and then demanded that he give them a mortgage. My grandfather, she said, had served his country and deserved this chance. She explained that she worked as well and made a good living. Needless to say, my grandparents bought their first house shortly thereafter.

    She never went to college, but worked her way up to management in the phone company. She loved learning and read everything she could get her hands on. She and my grandfather helped my mom and and dad buy their first house when my mom was 8 months pregnant with me because they wanted to make sure their grandbaby had a safe place to come home to. She quit her church and many of her friends when she found out they didn’t support gay rights. She lived alone for years after my grandfather died, and she always took care of everyone she met.

    She died in October of 2011, just 5 days after my 29th birthday. She was a second mother to me, and there’s not a day that I don’t miss her. SHE was my hero.

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  554. Amen! We do not need Disney (even if it is still male dominated still) teaching us about role models male or female! (Hello Gaston?) My favorite female role models as a kid were Anne Frank, and Captain Janeway. I also liked Jacques Cousteau and MacGyver, not to mention the kickbootie people in my family I look up to: both my Parents and my Sister.

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  555. Zoe Washburne, from Firefly. She’s a big damn hero!

    Like

  556. Katherine Hepburn. And my grandmother on my mother’s side.

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  557. I would have to say that you are one of my heros. You put yourself right out there for the slings and arrows to find. You fight a good fight every second of everyday and you report the world in such a way that people can’t help but smile and try a little harder, feel a little less alone, feel a little less odd. You are a blessing to my life and I thank you for that. As does my kid who always knows where to shop for me now.

    Like

  558. I have SO many women I look up to. This week I’m really feeling Paula Coughlin bc of this NYTimes piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/13/booming/revisiting-the-militarys-tailhook-scandal-video.html
    I think I’m more worried by people saying they don’t have *any* female heros than the Disney thing (though I have a sinking suspicion they might be related in the grander, cultural scheme of things).

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  559. My great grandmother, who went off to teach school as missionary work in rural appalachia. She was educated and lived alone for most of her time there. Fun tidbit-she met my great grandfather at Love Station (an actual train station where they first met). Really though, I come from a very long line of highly educated and extremely independent women so you could pick any one of them too.

    From literature, Elizabeth Bennet because she saw the ridiculousness of the world she was stuck in and made the best of it. Lessa, from Anne McCaffery’s dragon novels. She spent 10 years patiently waiting to exact her revenge for the slaughter of her family, and then went on to save the world and basically run the planet. She was strong, intelligent and never let a anyone tell her how to live her life.

    Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin, for breaking through so that women can be in science now.

    Finally, I’ve got to go with Zooey Deschanel for calling out reports for asking her about when/if she plans to have kids but almost never asking men those questions. Also, for saying that if she wants to wear a Peter Pan collar, she’s going to fucking wear a Peter Pan collar and that it doesn’t make her any less of a feminist.

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  560. New Merida had a couple of ribs removed. Do not want.

    Like

  561. Miss Piggy. She takes shit from no one, not even the frog.

    Black Widow. In a movie full of super-powered men, she saves the day.

    But while I agree it’s my job to raise my daughter, I’m also not pleased to be up against All of Media in trying to show her that she doesn’t have to be pretty to have worth. She’s the perfect weight for her height, but she’ll never have a waist like the After-Merida. I can tell her all day long how valuable and amazing she is, but unless I lock her in the aforementioned box, I can’t keep her from media telling her she’s too ugly to deserve being treated like a person.

    Teen media consumption has been estimated at eight hours a day†. There’s no way I can drown that out. We need to take on the companies doing this to our children.

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2358260,00.asp

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  562. Pretty Woman is my favorite super hero because her thigh high boots rock and Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan because her pyramid jacket is bad ass and Melanie Griffith in Working Girl because she kicks Sigourney Weaver out of her high ranking job

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  563. First: “fewer taxidermied mice”? What strange language do you speak?

    2nd: A goatee or makeup is a sure sign of an evil twin. I’m not sure what they are a sign of together, but I’ll be on the other side of the room, thank you very much (mostly wondering how you keep the foundation from getting in the beard).

    C: I’ve had a long fascination with Joan of Arc.

    Like

  564. Tiffany Aching from the Discworld books

    Like

  565. 578
    Pahoehoe

    My college astronomy professor. She was the most brilliant, batty, woman I have ever met. She also earned a double doctorate in astrophysics and mathematics in the 60’s.

    Like

  566. especially since it is male dominated I meant.

    Like

  567. Disney has pulled it – on the news today!

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  568. Any woman that will wade in and take care of business, do what needs to be done and is right is my hero. Countless women I have known personally. Hermione Granger, Katniss Everdeen, Harriet the Spy. Michonne from TWD. Elphaba from Wicked, Rose Tyler, Amy Pond, Donna Noble at her best. Amanda Palmer. Jenny Lawson. Madame Curie. My daughter. My sister. My mom.

    Like

  569. 582
    Denise K.

    One of my heroes…my great-great grandmother Susanna, a conductor on the underground railroad. I took her last name after my divorce.

    Also, that 87 year old woman I’d met after she’d just spent a night in jail following her arrest for chaining herself to a bulldozer in the national parks. She said her daughters were busy raising the grand kids, so it was her time to get angry about social issues…and besides, the arresting officers and jailers always treated them better if she was around (a frail looking, grey haired granny). Think of the back-lash if she died on them!

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  570. Do the Disney Dudes have this same issue??? I have two boys, so we really don’t notice any changes in characters as we only watch the original flick.

    I mean what would they even do to a Prince or what-have you to Bratz him up? Larger bulge? Bigger Pecs? Botoxed forehead? Hipster glasses? Peg Leg?? Ok you get my point.

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  571. 584
    Katie bo-batie

    My role models growing up were Punky Brewster and Jane Goodall. Oh and the Vicki robot from Small wonder.

    Like

  572. 585
    Brenda Jane Fierce

    My hero? My daughter Winter. Hands down. She’s in her third round of treament for anorexia. She’s fallen two times and gotten up three. Every day she meets her demon head on. She is fierce.

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  573. Someone said Ms PacMan and that they can’t whore her up, but come on… she’s already pretty much naked! She’s strutting around in high heels and a hair bow (with no hair)! NUDITY! PEOPLE! We clearly need to do away with Ms PacMan.

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  574. Jenny, I typically love you and your blog, but I was really disappointed to read “…because seriously, look at her waist…the girl needs a damn sandwich.” Skinny-shaming is just as nasty and mean as fat-shaming, and the whole “she needs to eat a sandwich” thing really is awful and needs to stop.

    (A very good point and food for thought – no pun intended.:) ~ Jenny)

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  575. I completely agree that we are the one’s who should be teaching our girls what it means to be a woman, not Disney. BUT our daughters and nieces and grand-daughters are privileged. I teach children who are one step away from being feral. They come from families which are generationally dysfunctional. There is often only one parent there and that parent isn’t always even physically present, let alone emotionally present. Drugs and alcohol stop the parent from parenting and the children are left to raise themselves. Yes, ideally something should be done but our child-services organisations are so over-burdened with obvious and urgent abuse that they can’t deal with neglect, even though they want to. So these children raise themselves, often being babysat by the TV. From a young age the only idea of life beyond their home is what they see on TV. TV helps shape their ideas of what a family might be, what love could be and what a woman is. We don’t need to worry about what Disney teaches our own girls because we will be there to tell them we love them for who they are but not all little girls are that lucky.

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  576. 589
    Debs (findawe)

    I just ordered a print for my wall of my female heroes: You, Caitlin Moran, Amanda Palmer and Joan Baez.

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  577. Queen Elizabeth
    And Sally Watson, an author (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sally_Watson) who main characters were always smart, resourceful and brave women.

    I wish I could say my Mom was my hero, but I can’t.

    But many of you have mentioned women I don’t know about, so I’m about to have a lot of fun looking them up.

    Like

  578. 591
    Artsy Squirrel

    Well said.

    Like

  579. Jane Goodall. My first heroine.

    Like

  580. My grammy is my hero. She was the first person who made being “abnormal” normal. I remember the look she’d give me when I’d say something to the effect of, “I’ll just change who I am to fit this.” It’s the same look I get from everybody else when I don’t.

    “Life is an adventure, megirl,” she’d say. She was a stay at home mom, so to me, it means finding the adventure everywhere (which is what you do, Jenny).

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  581. I don’t think there would be as much complaint about it if she were an adult princess but she’s supposed to be a barely pubescent girl. It’s mind boggling that a company can miss the message of their own product.

    and I definitely agree with the “get-the-fuck-away-from-my-husband Merida” she actually looks a dead ringer for a girl I know I do ask my honey to keep away from.

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  582. Let’s see Helen Keller, ALL the Iron Jawed Angels who fought for our right to vote and of course my grandmothers and mother!!

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  583. Jon Stewart weighs in too.
    http://on.cc.com/10KFWzq
    Pretty Good.

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  584. 597
    Rachael W

    I’d really like to second comment number 76 by jocelyn. You and allie broche are my heroines and give me inspiration and strength to keep going through my own depression, anxiety and chronic pain. I recommend you both to many people I know for your amazingness.

    Like

  585. My hero is my great aunt Eva. She was amazing. I learned so many things from her. She died in a convalescent hospital from Alzheimer’s disease. The staff were in tears when she died. Even in the midst of this horrid disease she had remained kind and gentle.
    When she scolded you it felt more like a light tap on the shoulder, reminding you that you were better than that. I would blush a deep crimson when she corrected me. I knew she was right.
    Her delivery of bad news made you sit down and listen. She had so many gifts and she was generous with all of them. She is missed by many.

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  586. I know this doesn’t answer the question, but I’m going to talk to the Merida image question….or rather, the question of female image.

    At a recent corporate event specifically for women, there was a lot of talk about dressing the part. One woman broached the conversation from the vantage point of “I hide all traces of my feminity or men won’t take me seriously.”
    That remark had several of us in WTF?-defense-mode. I’m a chick. The kind that has a figure more like Marilyn and less like Keira. And while I’m not wearing J.Lo dresses cut down to my navel, I’m also not putting on a box-cut jacket, trousers, and wearing my hair in a knot to HIDE my female characteristics. It’s totally fine if a woman WANTS to dress that way. But in this case, the woman thought in a corporate world, any trace of girly-ness would breed jealousy, damage her credibility, or make men think she was open for business.

    Back to the matter-at-hand: I get that in this specific Merida situation we’re talking about a young-girl icon. My understanding is the new art was just for a launch, not to be used for merchandising. Regardless, it’s never cool to make 14-year-olds look the seductress part. But it IS cool to let a 14 year old look girly if that’s what she wants to do. Telling our girls that they can’t be both strong and at the same time look female is ridiculous. When women buy into the notion that displaying femininity is only good for seduction, it’s not only a disservice to our gender but gives men justification to think THE SAME THING.

    Dress how you want. Look how you want to look. And don’t let anyone tell you that looking like a woman is inappropriate…..well, unless you’re playing the lead role in Victor/Victoria.

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  587. I totally agree. I have never looked to Disney to teach my children anything, except how to ruin classic literature by making everything either a. sparkly and asinine or b. cutesy and dorky and asinine or c. ridiculously over-proportioned round the shoulder area.

    And my own mother was fairly kick-ass. In the 50s she moved, as a single woman, to Ethiopia where she worked in a midwifery hospital and delivered the reigning emperor’s grandchild. Then she met my father and married him before introducing him to her family. (She was British, and wrote to her mother, “I have met an American who doesn’t chew gum.”) They went around the globe for their honeymoon. Then they had 2 boys in rapid succession and traveled all the way around the entire coast of Africa on a tramp steamer, keeping the boys from falling through the railings. I want to live a life half as interesting.

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  588. i’m so depressed i can’t stand it. i want to sleep forever

    (Remember that depression lies. It’s lying to you now. I know how it feels and I know how hard it is to pull yourself out of bed. You can do this. Ask for help. Your friends and family want you to ask for help, even if it’s hard for you and for them. Please get help. If I can do it, you can do it. Sending you love. ~ Jenny)

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  589. I am particularly a fan of taking this situation (as you did) and looking at it as an opportunity to educate and talk about over-sexualization and objectification of women in the media, beauty ideals (especially the whole ‘thin is beautiful and strong’ mantra) and the beauty cult in general. A great way to bring to the surface that you can’t really place “look” on strength. That we are all strong in our own ways, can accomplish amazing things, and can seriously be anything we want to be (even if the world is set up in most cases to work against us).

    ANYWAY. I don’t really have a favorite female hero per se. I am more of a fan of women in general. I mean, we push babies out of our vaginas, we nurture, we kick ass, we persevere, we do all sorts of awesome. We are sexy, smart, feisty and full of character. So yeah. Women in general.

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  590. Um…Carry Nation. ??? Back in the seventh grade, we had to pick a strong woman figure to make a short play on….I had no clue who to pick. My teacher suggested Carry Nation. Okay, great….she was anti-booze…which at the time (I was 11) was a great idea….now…not so much. What was I thinking??!

    Disney is no way to go through life. Turn the effin’ tube off and get out in the real world, silly kids. I am proud to say that my kids have NO idea who any of the Disney princesses/heroes are. Thank you , very much. Disney is crack for babies/kids. And a babysitter. Hang up your damn cell phone and play with your kids, people.

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  591. 604
    Keely Tolbert

    My mom – hands down. Not only did she and my Dad adopt a baby boy when I was 25 (after having me and my bio brother who’s 3 years younger than me), but they adopted 2 more baby boys the following year. At 50 they had a household with 3 babies – 2 who are only 2 weeks apart and one a year older. Not only were they malnourished and needing to get used to having their needs met (there are few things sadder than a baby who won’t cry), but one also had Cerebral Palsy (he was a super preemie).

    Fast forward 12 1/2 years…my Dad has a catastrophic heart attack and leaves us much too soon. My Mom – who doesn’t consider herself a strong person (I beg to differ at every chance I get), picks herself up, goes back to teaching full time, and is now a full time single Mom to 3 teenage boys. She’s the strongest person I know without a doubt. Without a doubt.

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  592. Miss Piggy, hands down. She was not just a full-figured diva, she’d karate-chop your butt if you gave her crap.

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  593. Growing up it was
    Queen Elizabeth
    Sally Watson (amazing writer, where all of her main characters are strong, resilient and brave girls- made my junior high school years bearable and I feel like it should be required reading for everyone).

    I wish I could say my Mother was my hero, but I can’t.

    But everyone has mentioned so many awesome women , some who I know (Jenny Lawson! Eleanor Roosevelt!) and some that are unfamiliar to me. I’m going to have a blast looking them up.

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  594. 607
    fallconskat

    thank you… one of my heroines is my daughter. in the last year and a half she:

    turned 29. decided to keep the baby she unexpectedly concieved. made a plan to make it WORK. had a gorgeous daughter. kicked the dad to the curb. (wait, that happened before the baby was born…). worked and raised her daughter. turned THIRTY (when did i get old enough to be mom to a thirty year old??). found a guy who loved her and her daughter both. got engaged. quit her job. had her fiance go to work and never come home (the little rat bastard). decided to move halfway across the country and go back to school.

    she’s my baby and i’m proud of her.

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  595. My favorite hero is me, Dr Brassy Steamington. Why? Because not only am I a strong woman, I am also a Doctor and I have the word “Steam” in my last name, which is hella heroic, if you ask me.

    And I don’t call people like Angelina Jolie a Hero because she got a mastectomy because there was an 87% change she would get breast cancer, when she SMOKES!!!! and there is a 100% chance that that will not only kill Her, but also give her children asthma and bronchitis and shorten the lives of their pets-Which alone should be a felony.

    Ok, where was I? Oh yes. Heroes.

    A Hero is someone who tells it like it is, sticks up for the little guy, admits to be a human being with all it’s frailty and terrifying reality-while still keeping a sharp wit and sense of what is important.

    Which leads me to another true hero, which is you, Jenny. And I know the suck-up element here is somewhere around the percentage that made Angelina toss her tatas to the aether, but it’s the truth, so there.

    Loves you,

    Dr Brassy Steamington

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  596. Thank you.

    Me, my female hero is Ingrid Pitt, who made great Hammer Horror films after escaping from the Nazis. And had delightfully real and awesome tatas. Thank you, Ingrid, for being awesome. And thank you and you, for the same.

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  597. Oh yes, Aung San Suu Kyi. She is a force to be reckoned with!

    Like

  598. If I say Anais Nin am I going to get attacked by angry villagers? I kid, I kid. Strong and beautiful women come in all shapes, sizes and mental conditions. Ask my mom.

    Like

  599. >>>(Remember that depression lies. It’s lying to you now. I know how it feels and I know how hard it is to pull yourself out of bed. You can do this. Ask for help. Your friends and family want you to ask for help, even if it’s hard for you and for them. Please get help. If I can do it, you can do it. Sending you love. ~ Jenny)<<<

    thank you.
    and i am getting help (meds, professional). but it's not making me feel any better. i just want to sleep through my life and only wake up for the like… two things i have to look forward to right now. none of my friends are around to help right now. they're busy having lives. unlike me.

    (It can take time for it to help and sometimes you have to go through a lot of drugs to find the one that works for you. I’ve gone through a ton and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. But ALWAYS when I come out on the other side I realize that I was wrong about my friends being too busy to help me. I just felt too bad about myself to think I was worth their effort. Plus, I was so tired that it seemed too hard to ask for help. It sucks that depression makes you so tired that you can’t always help yourself or think clearly. Trust me that things will get better with time and work. You are worth both of those things. ~ Jenny)

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  600. Laura Roslin from Battlestar Galactica as far as fictional heroes go.

    In real life? My grandma and my mom. For many reasons; but both of them.

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  601. It may have taken me all day (including reading on my phone during nap time at school which is a big no no…) but I read all the comments before posting my own and I agree with the majority of others , why change her when she was fine the way she was!
    As for my fictional heroes: Agent Scully from the X-Files, Samantha Carter from SG-1, Mika Bearing, Claudia Donovan, Lena, HG Wells,and Mrs Frederick from Warehouse 13, Annie Walker from Covert Affairs, Buffy and Willow and even Cordelia (although more so on Angel than on Buffy), Bo and Kenzi from Lost Girl, Meg from A Wrinkle in Time, Hermione, Luna, Ginny And Molly from HP, Annabeth Chase from the Percy Jackson books, Max from Dark Angel, pretty much every female character on Gilmore Girls, I think I just proved I watch a lot of tv and read alotta books … oh well!

    Real life: My maternal grandma she not only moved out and got a job while still in high school so that her 5 younger siblings would have more to eat she also send the majority of her wages back to the farm to help them out. After graduating she left her hometown completely and found work in another state by herself. After she was married with 5 kids of her own she worked on and off to keep food on the table when my grandpa couldn’t keep a job. She learned to drive and bought a car even though her husband refused to. She pretty much raised me while my parents were off being a 90’s workaholic couple and I thank my lucky stars every day that she did because without her influence I don’t wanna know where I would be today. I give her all credit for the person I grew up to be.

    Also you Jenny because while grandma may have taught me to be myself you have shown me how to believe “So what if most people think I’m strange, others out there totally get my weirdness.” Seriously you did! The first time I had ever heard of you was when I picked up your book due to the funky cover art and read one of the reviews on the back something like “if you’ve ever thought that Jesus was a zombie you’re not alone and need to read this book” as I read that I started jumping up and down squealing in Barnes and Nobel while my friends pretended not to know me. So thank you for that:)

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  602. Michelle Obama

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  603. Amy Pond. Always Amy Pond.

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  604. Got to be Zoe the Warrior Woman. When you can’t walk you crawl- and when you can’t crawl yoy find someone to carry you!

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  605. Well shit, what kind of stalker would I be if I didn’t say my girl hero is you?

    IT’S YOU! SURPRISE! *confetti pops*

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  606. There are 4 women who are my role models and the role models for women everywhere. You can catch them on Lifetime after 10:00 p.m. Their names are Rose, Dorothy, Sophia and Blanche.

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  607. This post is fantasmic. I started reading it the other day at work and had to stop… uh, because I was at work. But now I got a chance to read it in full. When I was a little girl, Sleeping Beauty was the shit, but I always liked that little blue fairy godmother with the spunk. Then I admired a woman and a woman and another woman again and again. A girl’s “hero” should change with age, but strong women are always what it should be about. Also, sexy women are too- they can be one in the same. ALL women are going to go through a coming of age, of learning to accept their sexuality for what it is – and that’s ok, even if you’re a bit of a “slut” or whatever for a time. OWN IT. Learn from it. Strut your stuff – sexually, emotionally, intellectually, whatever. Own you! That’s the lesson we need to be teaching our mini-me’s. Also, i had no idea there was a sexualized medira until this post. The way they had her was appropriate for the character she was. why change it?

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  608. my mama. for all the times she stood up for me when i couldn’t do it for myself.

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  609. thank you again, Jenny. you and twitter… you’re amazing. trying to figure out how to explain this all to my therapist on monday (she doesn’t really understand social media, ha).

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  610. There’s many many real heros out there, but I force my kids into watching Shera. She looks like a slut, but she kicks ass. Besides, my husband works midnights a week every month. I frequently walk around with a machete on those nights. Sometimes I say ARR a lot. But the kids need to know what it means when I held aloft my machete and say, “For the honor of Greyskull…”