In between my much-more-serious-than-usual series of posts about combating sexual assault, I’d like to intersperse some more positive posts. Today I just want to point out that I adore Geena Davis. She is not exactly a STEM female role model, but she is a terrific role model overall for young people, and actively working to improve the world by using her voice to call out the rampant sexism in the U.S. media.
If you’ve never heard of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, you should check it out here. The institute points out the disparity in on-screen representation between men and women, as well as how the women are represented. Following their tagline “If she can see it, she can be it,” the institute pushes for more positive role models and realistic representations of women in all forms of media.
But other than her really great works with the institute, Geena Davis has a lot going for her in the awesome role model department. Here are just a few of the reasons why I love her (yes, I know I’m resorting to a ‘top 10’ list… sorry, it’s been a busy month):
10. She takes action rather than just talking (see: the institute she formed).
9. She is seriously talented. From A League of Their Own to Thelma & Louise to Beetlejuice, she plays diverse characters really, really well. I’d even argue she made the best out of her script in the incredibly campy cult classic Earth Girls are Easy. And of course there’s that Oscar and that Golden Globe and… well, yeah, a lot of awards.
8. Did I mention A League of Their Own?
7. She goes for the great roles, even if they are controversial. She goes for the fun and interesting roles, even if they are not ‘good career moves.’
6. She is a member of Mensa.
5. In addition to fighting inequality in the media, she fights inequality in women’s sports. She works with the Women’s Sports Foundation to support title IX.
4. She is an activist with more than her own institute and core interests. She’s worked with USAID, Dads and Daughters, and more.
3. She doesn’t just support sports for men, she’s also a competitor. She’s a highly-ranked competitive archer and has been in the sport since way before it was cool in the wake of Legolas, Katniss, Merida, Hawkeye, and the Na’vi taking to the big screen with their bows in the last decade. I mean she’s seriously competitive – she took up archery in 1997 and made it all the way to the semifinals in the trials for the U.S. team for the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics.
2. She was a believable, tough, highly effective President in Commander in Chief. The role fully embodied “If she can see it, she can be it.” Every person who saw that show saw that it was not only possible, but a really good thing for a woman to be president. And she won a Golden Globe for the role, plus a bunch of nominations for other awards. That show was canceled way too early.
1. She somehow manages to do all of the above while also being a mom of three, avoiding most of the major pitfalls of fame, surviving more than three decades as a successful actress in Hollywood, and… being really, really funny. Seriously, check this out:
Ok, ten is more than enough. That’s plenty of fangirl-ing for today. Now I recommend you go watch Geena Davis as the President of the United States… I’ll apologize in advance for the fact that you will get completely hooked and then wonder why there are suddenly no more episodes.