POWERFULL WOMEN By Amanda Ospina
How wonderful! Here we are, women celebrating this day after a surprising and rare and unprecedented year with the visit of an invisible enemy, COVID-19.
I have decided to celebrate with a selection of leading female characters that make us feel proud either because they are made of flesh and blood or because they represent us in the collective imagination.
Let’s start with women who gave Hollywood cinema a twist. A cinema that was born with stereotypes from the male perspective, both from filmmakers, as well as clearly sexist narrative structures, which reproduced the dominant approaches to machismo and the lack of appreciation for women, since its inception with classics such as “Gone with the Wind”. The representation of women on a level of subordination as an instrument of eroticism, complementing the romantic subplots or housewife and devoted mother.
A cinema, which flooded the world and influenced by showing women as a vase, an ornament, or a symbol of eroticism to satisfy the insatiable cravings of male audiences. (And from those involved in the movie business, too, of course).
Sigourney Weaver. Alien’s 1979 release made her the big screen’s first great modern action heroine, demonstrating the ability to play a character that “should have been for a man.” With hard work, she succeeded.
Gal Gadot. The Wonder Woman of our time has broken box office records, breaking the historical prejudice that action films starring women did not work in theaters.
Charlize Theron. Considered one of the best cinematographic characters of the last decade, in Imperator Furiosa, shaved and up to her ovaries because of a patriarchy who tried to boycott her premiere considering her – rightly – a feminist icon.
The prominence of her in Mad Max: Fury Road is such that director George Miller himself decided to turn the focus of the story towards her.
The arrival of telenovela and the empowerment of women
In the 70s the representation of empowered women came with the telenovela. Cuban writer, Delia Fiallo, with her successful story “Esmeralda” (Lupita Ferrer) showed how a blind, orphan, peasant woman flees to the city and struggles to become empowered and achieve her success.
“La esclava Isaura”, from GLOBO of Brazil in 1976, exposes the story of a brave woman who, being black, made an effort to educate herself and understand her environment. She fought for the freedom of her people and for the love of her life, until her death.
“Café con aroma de mujer”. Gaviota, a peasant woman who gathers coffee is a symbol of empowerment. An educated, weak, and naive heartthrob falls in love with the power and intelligence of this unprejudiced woman. Fernando Gaitán, thus breaks the cycle of the classic telenovela that had pigeonholed women as a “dreamer, useless looking for a prince charming.” He breaks with the scheme of “the suffering and submissive heroine who represented women of the past and brings” Bety the ugly. ” More than 180 countries, dubbed into 25 languages and adapted 28 times confirming the power of women in all parts of the world, beyond physical appearance.
The contributions of anime in the empowerment of women
Crunchyroll, is a global anime brand with creative women at the helm, including Marge Dean, director of Crunchyroll Studios and president of Women in Animation. Here are my three favorite titles.
Kohaku is the strongest warrior in her village and is deeply kind and caring. She is very loyal and becomes a powerful ally of Senku, in his quest to restore humanity through science.
Nobara Kugisaki is a first-year student at Tokyo Jujutsu High School, training to become a jujutsu sorceress. She is stubborn and determined, rejecting traditional gender roles to absolutely love who she is and with that, for her it is enough.
Nico Robin is the archaeologist for the “Los piratas del sombrero de paja”. She is a historian, interested in discovering the true history of the world. She is compassionate and generally positive and cheerful, even in the face of danger, because she does not shy away from a battle.
Bombon, Burbuja and Bellota known as the Power Girls, are three little girls with a mission: save the world. And since 1998 when the first chapter was released, they have influenced a generation that today shows the empowerment of women in all fields.
Annie & Carola, created by Myriam Ballesteros and that Mondo TV Iberoamérica led by Maria Bonaria, is about to produce with MB Producciones. The series has these two hugely different protagonists, but extraordinarily strong. Carola is a nerd who builds a robot friend to get out of her loneliness. Annie has a passion for math and science, showing that it is not only men who are interested in these matters.
There are millions of women of whom we are proud to be women. I’m going to mention some of my favorites
Emma Watson. Actress, BA in English Literature, model, philanthropist, and active feminist. This extraordinary woman has used her position in the entertainment industry to promote equality for women.
Rigoberta Menchú Tum. Was born in Guatemala. She is an activist and defender of peace, social justice, and the human rights of indigenous peoples in Guatemala. She was born into a Mayan peasant family. Nobel Peace Prize.
Elena Paniatowska. She was born and spent her childhood in France. She is known as one of the most outstanding pens and minds in Mexico, where her family returned –they had left after the revolution-, when she was ten years old. She has worked as a journalist and chronicler, has walked through various literary genres, and her themes revolve around those who have no voice, social injustices, the struggle of women and stories from her country. She is the fourth woman to win the Premio Cervantes, one of the greatest honors in Hispanic American Literature.
Simone de Beauvoir. French philosopher and writer, who with her work The Second Sex (1949) influenced women to be brave, to acquire knowledge and to fight for their rights and freedoms.
Adhara Maite Pérez Sánchez. The Mexican girl who has a higher IQ than Einstein and Hawking. She was chosen as one of the most powerful women of 2019, according to Forbes magazine. At 3 years old, she was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome (a behavior disorder that affects the ability to socialize and communicate properly). In her kindergarten they saw her as a freak and her teachers did not know how to integrate her. Her mother saw a lot of potential in her, because she was an extremely fast learner and was extremely interested in mathematics and space issues. The psychiatrist helping Adhara advised her to have IQ tests (162). Indeed, she finished primary school at age 5 and high school quickly before age. She is 8 about to turn 9 and virtually, she is studying two university degrees: Industrial and Systems Engineering. Thanks to a scholarship, she is also receiving private math classes at her home and studying English at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Unam), one of the most prestigious in Latin America. In the middle of 2019, she participated in SpaceUp Mexico, an event in which space was studied and discussed. Additionally, she received an invitation to the International Air and Space Program 2021, in which she will be working with experts from NASA.
And finally, after feeling proud of the women in my chronicle, and of thousands and thousands of others, I must highlight my great-grandmother Teresa. Who I loved and admired as a child. A brave, determined, free of prejudice woman born in the early 1900s, a time full of prejudice and repression in which women could not smoke, drink beer, wear bright colored clothes, they had to wear two petticoats under their skirts, pray the rosary every night and if she were a widow, she had to mourn dressed in black and not even think about finding a husband again. My great-grandmother Teresa did the opposite, breaking rules without caring about the consequences from a prudish, strict society, dominated by religion and machismo. And when she was widowed, the first thing she did was get a husband again. And she was one of the first to wear pants, a garment that was only for men, because pants were only worn by men. Teresa did have balls.
But from “such stick, such splinter”: her granddaughter, my mother Aura, the woman I most admire in the world for being extremely hardworking, she alone assumed the role of father and mother with three little girls to support and educate. She is brave, unprejudiced, loving, sincere and with more balls than her grandmother Teresa.
Thank mother. Who, since I was a child, instilled in me self-respect, the fight for our freedoms and women’s rights; ignoring the social imaginary that still balances between what is “right” and what is not. Thank you, for the extensive conversations in my youth on topics such as diversity, inclusion, sexual freedom, and gender identity.
On this International Women’s Day, we are called to recognize all the women of the world in the different areas, housework, and labor, in different ages, races and creeds.
We celebrate the leadership and tenacity to achieve an equitable future in a world in pandemic -Covid-19, which brings us the challenge of continuing to be “Agents of Change”. Because the only permanent thing is change.
Amanda Ospina. Director & Editor of TVMAS magazine