A number of years ago I was engaged in a battle—one of many skirmishes in the war we like to call divorce. The downside to divorce is that you cannot legally kill your enemy, whereas if he’s on a battlefield or manning a drone, it’s perfectly acceptable to blow his head off.
But I digress.
One afternoon I was in the library with my kids, browsing for something that would take my mind off my situation. I happened upon “The Warrior Queens” by Antonia Fraser, a collection of stories about women who led their countries in war. My first thought was, maybe I could pick up some tips. And my second was, are there enough of them to fill a book? It turns out there were.
The first story was about Boadicea, the Celtic Queen who led her tribe in revolt against the Romans in 61 B.C. I was fascinated by her—she was bloodthirsty and fierce and tens of thousands of men followed her into successful battles. Reading about a woman with that kind of strength made me feel better—it made me feel that I wasn’t the first woman in history to face a terrible enemy on the field. And if a woman in 61 BC could survive a war, I could, too. Fraser’s book ending up inspiring a 25-year (and on-going) love affair with powerful women throughout history.
I’m fascinated with these women because sometimes we get lazy and think equal rights have always existed. Oh, wait. They don’t yet.
The women you’ll read about here are inspirational, and we need a lot of inspiration these days. Role models are important. The former actress turned girl-power activist Geena Davis says, “If she can see it, she can be it,” and she’s right. Perspective is equally important—sometimes we need to see our struggle in the context of what’s come before, so we can better understand how to move forward. And sometimes we just need to be inspired by kick-as women, like those you’re gonna read about on “Dames Who Dare.”
What defines a Dame? For me, it’s a woman who rises above her situation, and who identifies herself as a victor, and not a victim. A Dame doesn’t give much of a damn about what anyone else thinks. She does what she needs to do and she frequently does it with humor.
Read on and let me know what you think constitutes a Dame.