Females throughout history, both ancient and modern, have shown themselves to have girlboss energy and we should all educate ourselves on these key moments and figures to really appreciate those who have risked a lot in order for us to be where we are. In both modern and ancient society females have faced difficult and oppressive situations where they have stood up and fought for what is right. Although we are progressing as a culture, there is still work to be done. However, we should still honour all the females who have fought hard for a better future.
I often wonder if people think about Amelia when they think of the word girlboss. I do.
She was the first woman to ever fly across the Atlantic solo and the first female pilot.
During her life she set many records for flying, such as being the first woman to fly over 14,000 feet. She really became the first woman to achieve anything within the pilot and aviation community and continued to challenge herself to go further with her skills.
She sadly went missing on her quest to fly all around the world, managing a large portion of her journey but disappearing close to the end of it.
We often remember Earhart for going missing rather than what she achieved in her life. It would do everyone some good to remember what a girlboss she was with her determination and ambitions to keep pushing herself to do better and go further.
One of the most famous figures in medicine and science to ever live.
She revolutionised the medical field with her research into radioactivity and x-rays.
She was also the first woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize as well as the first person and woman to win it twice. She also won her prizes in different fields, another first for the peace prize.
Despite being rejected by Universities purely for being female, she fought even harder to be noticed and recognised for her work and continued her research despite all this.
The most famous suffragette activist.
Pankhurst became known as a political activist, calling for women’s rights to vote. The suffragette movement grew thanks to Pankhurst bringing media attention to it and actively spreading the message that women wanted equality and deserved the same rights as a man to vote.
She was also active in politics when a bill was passed allowing women to run for the house of commons.
Pankhurst did a great deal to get the suffragette movement up and running in the UK and continued fighting for equality between the sexes.
She was the first African American to break the colour barrier and win an Oscar for her performance in Gone With The Wind.
It was 1940 and America was still very much a segregated and racist nation. The hotel where the Oscars were being held maintained a ‘no blacks’ rule. Despite all this, McDaniel attended and was the only black woman in the room.
Born into poverty, she paved her own way to success and did not let boundaries stop her. She was very much a girlboss in the way she took Hollywood head on and never let them get her down.
She is a polarising figure in that she gained her award for playing a maid and continued to play maids in her career. However, her big win was a first for her race and marked the start of Hollywood’s slow progression and acceptance of more diverse figures on their screens.
Princess Di was very unconventional and ahead of her times.
She did great charity work and always looked to bring awareness to causes that desperately needed it.
She challenged the world view on AIDS, being one of the first to be invited to visit the first AIDS wards at Middlesex hospital. She was famously photographed shaking hands with AIDS sufferers without any protective gloves or measures in place. It was mind blowing to see such a public figure, a monarch, showing such compassion and warmth to people who had been ostracised by the public. Her approach to meeting people with AIDS challenged the views on AIDS and went into destigmatising the disease and helping people understand that skin to skin contact will not harm you. In a time that was hell bent on casting out the gay community and dubbing them diseased, Diana chose to be compassionate and accepting, giving them the support no one else was.
Diana did the same with people suffering from leprosy. She travelled to countries with the highest leprosy rates to meet with those suffering with the disease to again show compassion and bring awareness to it. She once again dispelled stigma surrounding the disease by holding hands with people and giving them support in the form of physical contact. She proved that it cannot be passed on by touch and made headlines once again.
It was never about publicity for Diana. She truly cared about people. Her willingness to go out and provide others with support made her a remarkable human being who did so much to bring public attention to causes that needed it. She was a main catalyst in the destigmatisation of diseases such as AIDS and leprosy and that was what the communities needed, just a little help and understanding.
Known for her portrayal of Sophia Bursett in Orange is the New Black, Cox has made a name for herself as a body positive Trans actress and activist.
As a trans female playing trans characters on screen, she provides a voice and visibility to the community.
On social media she shows herself to be very self loving, something which not only the trans community need to see but everyone in general. Her motto is Trans Is Beautiful. The strength and courage it took for her to go on this journey to become herself and put so much love into others so they can feel the same way proves what a girlboss she really is. She won’t let anyone break her.
Kesha sparked a massive movement with her very public sexual assault case against Dr. Luke.
Since the start of her case, more and more women have been coming forward with their own stories of abuse within the industry to shed a light on the way in which men in the industry feel they can overpower women and claim ownership of them in order to help them along in their careers.
The TimesUp movement was born out of a society that was tired of being silently abused and accepting it just because we felt no control to stop it. It was a movement that exposed many rich and powerful men who used their power against both men and women for sexual gratification. Kesha was a leading force in rallying support and giving people a window of opportunity to talk about what they had been through.
Kesha proved to be a girlboss and a warrior in her very difficult case, pursuing it despite the fears she had about coming forward and going up against the man who abused her for years.
Malala became known worldwide when she was shot by the Taliban on her way to school.
She was targeted due to speaking out against the sanctions the Taliban placed upon her town, including things such as no television, no music, and no education for girls.
Her father being a teacher had instilled in her that despite her being female, she also deserved the same rights and opportunities that boys got. This made her headstrong and active in speaking out against being oppressed and not being able to attend school. This attitude gained attention from the Taliban who then shot her for speaking out and attempting to pursue an education.
She was then brought to the UK where she made a recovery and went on to be an activist worldwide for girls education.
Angelina Jolie has always been a figure who has put a lot back into the world and done her best to contribute to the lives of others.
A philanthropist who has done a great deal for charities supporting many great causes, she has spoken out about education for women and young girls, conservation, rape and sexual violence, all causes that deserve a platform and awareness worldwide. She was also the youngest person ever to receive a Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her activism both working with the UN and film projects where she addressed humanitarian issues.
Jolie also proved to be a girlboss when she made the choice to have a double mastectomy. I remember very clearly how repulsed a great deal of men were with this decision. Jolie took ownership of her body and her future by having this procedure done and revealing it publicly to spread awareness of breast cancer and prevention. She lessened the likelihood of her getting breast cancer from 87% to under 5%, significantly removing the risk that she would develop breast cancer sometime in the future.
This was a very powerful moment as it sparked debates about breast cancer but also gave a platform to survivors of cancer who did need to have their breasts removed due to cancer developing within them. It gave these survivors comfort to see such a big celebrity openly discuss this procedure and the risks had she not done it.
She isn’t just Barack Obama’s wife, she is Michelle Obama and she is a girlboss.
Michelle has achieved a great deal in her life. Over her eight years as the first lady, she was a very prominent figure in trying to enact change.
Her being the first lady itself was a milestone moment as her family was the first family of colour to be in the White House and be president. Michelle proved that people of colour could also be in positions of power and great responsibility. It was a big win for the black community in asserting that their place can also be in power.
Beyond her duties as the First Lady, Michelle was also an activist. She often spoke out about and drew attention to movements that were looking to support girls into education, whether it be higher education or simply finishing high school. As a college educated lady herself, she understood the importance a degree holds in helping you along towards a brighter future. She was always supporting girls in pursuing their dreams and proving to others that they are just as worthy of education as men are.
She also set an example for other people of colour that they too can be educated and have bright futures despite what backgrounds they may have come from.
Her most notable work was with the Let Girls Learn movement that drew attention to the need to help girls get into school and stay in school while also supporting and empowering them to continue down the path to a successful future.