I have a birthday coming up. Not a big one. But one landing me solidly in mid-forties. It makes me think about my daughters, my childhood and the things my girls will remember thirty years from now.
If you'll count back with me, you'll realize I was a little girl before Disney created empowered princesses. As a child Snow White, Aurora and Cinderella all needed saving by handsome princes.
I remember the first PG movie I ever saw - King Kong with Jessica Lange as Dwan. Who doesn't save the heroine in this movie? Between Jeff Bridges and Kong she need never worry.
The other 1970s movies that left an impression - Star Wars..Princess Leah is rescued (at least she's tough) and Grease...Sandy can't catch the man of her dreams looking like herself, she has to dress like a whore.
Yes, I realize five James Bond films were produced in the 1970s. Yes, I realize that not one had a single positive woman role model. Connery or Moore probably saved each of those girls at least once. I don't care. Go ahead and judge me.
Television? I remember Charlie's Angels and Wonder Woman. For the record - Kate Jackson (the smart one) was my favorite Angel, and I never understood why Wonder Woman had to work as an administrative assistant. Heck, she had super-strength, super-speed, a magic lasso and an invisible plane. Superman got to be a reporter, Spiderman a photographer, Batman spent his days as a brooding millionaire and Wonder Woman took dictation?
Thank heavens those wishy-washy types have been replaced by strong fictional girls and women on the movie screen, the television screen and in the books my daughters read.
Disney's latest Tangled princess saves her prince. Veronica Mars and Buffy kicked ass (I miss them both). My thirteen year-old is reading Prom Dates from Hell by Rosemary Clement-Moore (the heroine kicks demon ass). My ten year-old has thought provoking conversations about why Annabeth is tougher than Piper in Rick Riordan's The Lost Hero.
If we're smart, we all play the hero in our own lives. That's what I want to teach my daughter and that's what I want to write.