2012 is less than two months old and women are racking up some impressive “firsts” and other demonstrations of in-your-face courage. I am NOT comparing levels of bravery here, people. What’s brave for you might make me need a Poise pad, while I’m patting myself for simply entering a big competition. This is a post about changing times, and different dimensions of courage that you might not have noticed.
At the end of January, five U.S. Navy pilots were in charge of the nation’s first all-female-crewed combat mission in an E-2C Hawkeye. Here, the women are interviewed by ABC News:
Then, just before Valentine’s Day, Time reported that President Obama has nominated Air Force Lieutenant General Janet Wolfenbarger for a fourth star. That makes this kick-butt NotMom the first woman in the U.S. Air Force to achieve that rank, and only the second woman in the history of the American military to be nominated.
(Photo Credit: US Air Force/Corey Parrish)
All of this is occurring just days after the Pentagon announced that, pending Congressional approval, women will soon be able to serve “closer to the front lines.”
And yet, what’s the feminine buzz that has the Internet and traditional media on fire of late? ’Best Actress’ Oscar nominee Viola Davis (The Help) appeared in the February 2012 issue of L.A. Times Magazine with natural hair. Not pressed, relaxed or sporting a weave of hair that God originally gave to Asian women. Ms. Viola is as stunning as always…but America hasn’t seen her natural, kinky and curly.
The Baltimore Sun ran this commentary from a business communication prof:
“With the exception of Whoopi Goldberg, this marks the first time, in recent memory, that an A-list, African-American, Oscar-nominated actress has dared to go “bare,” so to speak.”
Under every to-the-butt weave, chemical relaxer and carefully styled wig lies a bumpy, nappy truth that can be a bit jarring to those who don’t expect it, or pretend not to know that it exists.
Apparently, Ms. Davis arrived at the shoot with photographer Ruven Afanador with an extensive collection of wigs. At first, she strongly resisted the notion of putting them aside. I’m glad she took a breath and stepped out with her authentic bad ass self. (Spoken as only a Black NotMom who spends a tad too much maintaining shoulder-length straightness could, right?)
The lesson from these little vignettes is that no one cares when women change themselves to fit the prevailing culture. It’s big news, however, when we swim the other way. Whether you join the military or stay on the homeland revealing hidden personal truths, it’ll take a bit of courage to get it done.