Weekly report of a young feminist #12: Let’s forget about heroes and focus on our sheroes instead.

Heroes, we all know them. Zeus, Spiderman, W. Shakespeare, M. L. King, L. da Vinci, B. Obama etc. Sheroes, the word doesn’t even exist in a dictionary. Indeed, hero is a word derived from the heroic skills of a person. However, if we don’t look at this notion explicitly but leave the space for our imagination, how many sheroes do we genuinely recognize? In my case, plenty. The experts already examined the reasons why are so many important female historical characters omitted and devised the ways to include their names and acts into textbooks. On the other hand, your sheroes don’t have to be historical figures, it’s even better when you think of a living individual. Nowadays, the globe abounds with inspiring female heroes, aka sheroes, so your imagination should not be limited.

I’ve crossed my path with the word sheroe in the text written by a political strategist and commentator Symone Sanders, who described her firstly imaginary and adulatory relationship with another democratic strategist Donna Brazile. This fictional relationship, however, led to an actual lifechanging encounter. Her experience made me think about my own sheroes. Throughout my life, I’ve been inspired by many powerful women. Apart from members of my family, there were movie characters, fashion icons, writers or designers (fashion has always been a significant part of my life). However, since you’re reading a weekly report about feminism, I should refer to a person who introduced me to both feminist way of thinking and relevance of gender equality. Nigerian writer, activist and beautiful woman, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and her book We should all be feminists provided a revolutionary discovery for my adolescent self, and I’m confident it would affect you too in some way if you would give it a try. Her book represents an unobtrusive yet opinionated introduction to this ideology for feminist beginners, especially for those who wish to absorb elementary points of what it means to be a feminist. To be exact, this text is a transcription of her TEDx speech, which seemed to be so inspiring that not only book, but the sign on Dior t-shirt was extracted from it.

Since young age I’ve always had this sweeping affinity for books. Every time when I discovered a sphere which was unfamiliar to me, I always searched for books which would enlighten my new hobby and provide more information on different topics. However, it also worked the other way around. I remember the first time Chimamanda’s book caught my eyes. I’ve been working for an independent fashion store Kompot based in Bratislava, which was and still is focusing on the support of local production. Apart from fashion goods, they also unite Slovak independent publishing houses among which Absynt brought Chimamanda’s book to the Slovak market. Around that period, I was becoming more and more aware of feminism as I was simultaneously finishing my bachelor thesis which was my first text dedicated to the issues of gender equality.

Gradually, my reading list of feminist literature widened, and the amount of texts related to women’s movement increased. But I guess I’ll always remember the origin of my ideological path. Unlike Symone Sanders who actually met her shero, my relationship with Chimamanda retains an imaginary nature. However, she’ll represent a remarkable shift in my opinions and I believe I’m not the only one. Finally, I would like to ask you to think of your own sheroes. I’m certain we all have at least one.   

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