As little girls, most of us had favorite storybook or TV and movie characters who we admired and emulated. We dreamed of being those amazing people when we grew up. The beauty of being a child with a vivid imagination is that it just didn’t dawn on any of us that we couldn’t become Nancy Drew, Harriet the Spy, Samantha (Bewitched) Stephens or Glinda the Good Witch. Those were attainable goals, and with a bit of practice and a great wardrobe, we could be those women.
If you ask any real woman who her favorite character was when she was young, she will likely be able to immediately and passionately name her favorite, and why. It is fun to now think about those fictional “role models” and wonder what it was that we liked so much about them, and consider if perhaps it says a little bit about who we really have become in our adult lives.
For me, my favorites were Wonder Woman and Jeannie. Did I really think I could become one of them? Well, probably not Wonder Woman, I mean NOBODY could be like her! But Jeannie? You betcha – I used to roam around the house with my arms crossed, blinking and nodding and trying to make things move. Just ask my brother who considered me to be crazy. Hmpf, this from the boy who used to run around the house with a cape announcing he was Under Dog.
Thinking back now, I remember that I loved Wonder Woman because she was strong, athletic, and those bullet-deflecting cuffs were totally cool. She really was in a man’s world, having to fight bad guys with the rest of the Justice League, and work in partnership with some pretty big ego’s like Superman and Artemis. Yet she was taken seriously as one of the gang. Eventually she had her own TV show, starring Lynda Carter. I still believed her to be larger than life, and even at that age, I admired her awesome boots and that her hair still looked great even after chasing and catching crooks.
As for Jeannie…. She had the cute and slightly clueless blonde factor. But she really wasn’t helpless, because she had that whole blinking thing going for her. How handy and time efficient it would be to be able to blink and clean the house, or blink and move something. She was sweet, and consistently happy and cheerful. Everyone adored her, no matter how much trouble she created. And even though she had to live inside a bottle, that bottle was pretty darn groovy, with its circular velour purple couch and all those throw pillows. Who wouldn’t like a comfy little hideaway like that every now and then?
So…flash forward. I’m no amazon, and I certainly don’t look like, or have the body of, a young Lynda Carter. But I do try to be fit and strong, and I have spent much of my adult life working in male-dominated industries. I’ve worked hard to gain the respect of my peers, and I like to try to look good at the same time. I don’t wear my hair in a pony tail on the top of my head, or have to call anyone Master, but I am blonde and tend to be a positive and happy person. However I still have not, unfortunately, mastered the art of doing the dishes by simply nodding my head.
Maybe when we are young, we aren’t quite so crazy to think we can become like our favorite characters. It certainly can be argued that young girls today have stronger, smarter and more successful fictional role models than we did as kids. And that’s a good thing. It should also be pointed out that of course these beloved characters don’t need to be any particular gender or even species. Fiona is an ogre, but she knows how to kick butt. As long as these imaginary heroes get active minds dreaming and believing that the world is wide open to possibility, then Bravo.
So…. Who was your childhood favorite?