In the March 27, 2019 issue of MidWeek 1st Lt. Skyler Kamaka talked about watching the Captain Marvel movie with her 8th grade sister:
I hope that [the movie] sparked confidence within [my sister] to never give up and that she is worthy of anything she sets her mind to.“Hot Ticket,” p. 46
Wait…I stopped reading the movie review. What?! Skyler Kamaka is a for real pilot in the Hawaii Air National Guard. That’s freaking awesome! She flies a KC-135, also known as the Stratotanker (hear the room echo from that kick-ass name?). It weighs up to 322,500 pounds (about 10 empty semi trucks and trailers) and costs $40 million. It refuels fighter jets in mid-air at speeds up to .95 mach (729 mph). Do you know how hard that is? I can’t even drink water from a tube while running. The Stratotanker is so big, an entire bowling alley fits inside the cargo area.
But wait, there’s more: Kamaka also hosts HI Sessions, a YouTube show about the local music scene, plays the ukulele, acts, and…was Miss Hawaii 2012. What?! Yes, she’s cute to boot.
And this amazing woman feels a superhero movie will actually inspire little sis more than she already has? No way. No. Way.
Real Wonder Women are All Around
They’re tough, brave, amaaaaaazing, and so under-wowed I want to cry when I hear comments like this one from Kamaka. And I don’t understand all the hullabaloo over the recent Wonder Woman movie. Ya, Gal Gadot is great in it, but being from Israel, where every single woman also does military service in an active war zone country, I’m sure she knows some real Wonder Women. She may even be one herself.
This ignoring real accomplishments by real people to focus on the fake – movies and tv shows – it bothers me. A generation of women are growing up to believe they are weak victims and that they need a superhero movie to feel empowered and recognized. Populating this harmful, egregious, deceptive message stuffs female power in a box and I will not have it. Women are strong, resilient, and scary. A man has to use size and physical force to intimidate. A woman just has to do her “I will put you back where you came from, so help me God” attitude and her kids get quiet and still real fast. And nothing is scarier than a tiny, angry lady.
A woman will stay in a shitty marriage because she can take it, even if she shouldn’t. Women make up more than half of long-distance running racers; the longer the distance, the better they do. They’re not physically stronger than men, they’re mentally stronger. It’s scary (hushed voice).
If there is something women aren’t doing in equal numbers to men, it’s because they know better (hello, boxing and football hurt your brain!) or they don’t want to. It’s not because they can’t. Physically tough women can do physically hard jobs; sure, men will outnumber them, but some women are totally capable.
So, stop already with the “Oooooo, Wonder Woman is so awesome!” and “Captain Marvel is sooooo empowering!” Tell those people, “Ya, but they’re fake! Real Wonder Women are everywhere. They are the inspiring ones. They are the super heroes.”
In addition to 1st Lt. Skyler Kamaka, other real Wonder Women are:
Swimmer Diana Nyad, shark bestie while swimming 103 miles from Cuba to Florida on her fifth try (at age 64)
Arunima Sinha survived being thrown from a speeding train on her way to enlist in India’s paramilitary. A passing train severed her leg, and then she lay there overnight until some boys took her to the hospital where she had leg surgery without anesthesia. She and her prosthetic leg climb mountains.
Mixed martial arts champion Ronda Rousey won the U.S.’ first Olympic medal in judo and performs with WWE.
They are all real. They do amazing things in the real world every day. Girls don’t need a superhero movie to find role models. Look around. Female action stars are in our communities, in church, maybe sitting right next to you. My neighbor runs a roof-contracting company. She builds and repairs the literal roof over people’s heads to keep them warm, safe, and dry. If you think we need a superhero movie to see strong women, you are not paying attention.
Real life, so much better than a movie.
Davis III, Bennie J., “KC-135 Stratotanker.” Airman, August 13, 2018. https://airman.dodlive.mil/2018/08/13/kc-135-stratotanker/
“Highest Speed / Altitude For Air Refuelling?” Airliners.net, 2010. http://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1024705
Smith, Nicholas, “Hot Ticket.” MidWeek, page 46, March 27, 2019. http://midweek.com/pdf/MidWeek/2019/0327/.
KC-135 Stratotanker photo credit https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f5/KC135_refueling.jpg/1280px-KC135_refueling.jpg