Wednesday, July 28, 1999
Warrior moms get aluminum foil award

Laugh Lines

I have always liked the “woman as warrior” ideal. Well, I have since I was in college and saw the movie “Alien” where Sigourney Weaver takes control of whipping an alien's razor-edged-tail when all the men on the ship have failed. Using her wits, sans “sport” or any other bra, her character “Ripley” showed us women can be tough, sweaty and devoid of fear when facing the enemy.

I have heard though, that they edited out an early scene in the movie when she was piloting the spacecraft and doing her makeup at the same time. Nevertheless, it is not an entirely new concept that women can be as strong and tough as men.

The space shuttle has yet to launch as I write this, but if all goes well, by this printing, Eileen Collins will have made history as the first space shuttle commander with two X chromosomes. There are few glass ceilings left for women to break and now count the earth's atmosphere as the most literal of those. I say hurrah for this event just as loud as anyone yelled for our women's soccer champs.

Speaking of which, are the girls of summer back from Disneyland yet? I am a big fan, but I think they have taken the “We are great athletes but we are still feminine” credo a bit too far. I'm just waiting for the Playboy, “Girls in Nothing But Cleats” issue any day now, for the interviews, of course. Yet, no matter which way you slice it, they are no doubt one of the greatest American sports teams in our history.

I do have one question for all the major newspapers and magazines, though. Why do you repeatedly mention the husbands of these soccer women? Almost every time I read about the team, invariably when they list the profiles of the women, they always gave reference to the husbands. Did no one else note this blatant sexism?

When is the last time you read John Elway's stats and they noted his wife's career or background? Is he even married? The only time you read about wives of male professional athletes is when they themselves make the news for some scandal or trouble. But then again, if these women were listed it might just look like a Hooters' reunion.

The ultimate, has-it-all, woman as warrior is the character “Clarice Starling” from “Silence of the Lambs.” Vulnerable yet tough, she faced down the devil and pulled the trigger 'til the clip was empty. She had nice curtains in her home and soft-looking pajamas, yet the eyes of a person who would just as soon slap you as she would fill out a Cosmopolitan romance test. Some live by, “Never let them see you sweat.” Clarice lived by, “Never let them see you point your government-issue double-action Glock.”

There are more than a few real-life women as warrior role models for our children to emulate and they rarely carry pistols. They are the moms out there, who carry one child on their hip, drag another along behind them and rarely take off their shirts when they make it across the street with both children safely. To the victors goes the gold but to the mothers goes the aluminum foil.

We should take pride in the accomplishments of our current leading ladies and hope for a continued breaking down of the barriers. But, we shouldn't let all this publicity overshadow the amazing and continuing accomplishments of the warriors as women that populate the soccer fields and space shuttles of our own lives.

What do you think of this story?
Click here to send a message to the editor. Click here to post an opinion on our Message Board, "The Citizen Forum"

Back to Opinion Home Page | Back to the top of the page