Ever wondered what makes an inspiring woman? Are power and inspiration always linked? Jean Menzies delves deeper into this in a recent video.
Focusing on the book Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls, which features inspiring women throughout history, Jean discusses the role that some of the featured women play in the book. She explains that while there are many women who she feels deserve to be included, it also features some individuals seemingly just for their powerful status.
“The women I came across really bothered me,” she says. “[They] made me question the general outlook of the book.”
Jean’s video is articulate and provokes thought about who we label as inspirational, especially when we are sending out a message to younger people. It has also prompted responses such as What Makes Someone Inspirational? from Cinzia DuBois, showing that this is clearly an important discussion that needs to continue.
Questioning whether being powerful is enough to warrant being seen as an inspiring woman, Jean uses the example of Margaret Thatcher. Although she was the first female Prime Minister in the UK, thus making her powerful, some of the ways she used her power had what Jean believes was a negative impact, the effects of which we are still feeling today.
“I do not oppose teaching children about historical figures,” she clarifies, but concludes that “Margaret Thatcher is in this book because she powerful – is this really the message to spread?”
Pointing out that power doesn’t necessarily come alongside inspiration, Jean says that “a lot of women that I find inspiring in history are groups of women, movements by women and individuals, who do not have a lot of power. They are ordinary women who I can identify with.” We can certainly think of a fair few inspiring women who fit this criteria.
What makes an inspiring woman? will take you on a journey, so make yourself a warm cup of tea and get ready to type in that comment box. We have a feeling that, regardless of your views on the book or the topic, you will have something to say – we know we did!