Contemporary feminists do not whisper. We have developed a bold, unapologetic, and free voice. But this liberal tone didn't happen overnight—it's something that’s been incubating for centuries.
Our foremothers transgressed the boundaries of the time periods they were born into: Fifty years ago, wearing a pair of pants in public was radical. Today, making art with your period blood is the new feminist norm.
One of the women we have to thank for stepping beyond her gender expectations is Jane Goodall. In case you forgot, Goodall is a famous female primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and all-around badass. Chances are your mom is more of a Jane Goodall fan girl than you are, but we're about to change that. Here are the top 10 moments where Goodall reminds us she's the real deal:
1. Hi, it’s me, Jane Goodall. As a child, and in my rare moments of leisure, I take extensive notes, draw sketches in my journal, and love reading about zoology and ethology. What are dolls?
2. That time she was like, hey anthropologist Louis Leakey, no formal training bro, but can I go on an anthropological dig with you in Olduvai Gorge?
3. Then Leakey was like, yeah O.K.! Also... you have the “proper temperament to endure long-term isolation in the wild." Want to study chimpanzees' behavior while in solitude, a kind of study that’s never been done by anyone before?
4. That time 55 years of her life were spent studying social and familial interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania.
5. That time when she thought, yeah, chimps are good, but I’m also going to save people’s lives. Poverty sucks! So she founded the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) to lead community based conservation methods to preserve and halt destruction of human habitats and resources.
6. Then that other time she was like, renewable energy is my preference ya’ll, but lets work on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation too. (REDD+).
7. When Jane Goodall Institute teamed up with other non-profits to form Global Forest Watch. Hey world, here’s an iPad; track some wild chimps, illegal deforestation, and forest health.
8. Jane’s husband passes, she climbs a mountain alone, and then writes Reason for Hope—an extremely inspiring book about spirituality, science, and faith.
9. No big deal, United Nations named Jane a UN Messenger of Peace in 2002.
10. That time she reminded us to stand up for what we believe in: “Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don't believe is right.” Enough said.
Images via 66south, bournemouthecho, Lewis Leaky Foundation, Mongababy, TopicNow, JustinBratton.com, Janegoodall.org
Bee Gray is a creative writer and essayist living in Oakland, California. She loves studying contemporary culture, media, and human behavior. She thinks life is art, she thinks women are art, she surrounds herself in goddesses, she can't stop talking. Follow her on Instagram @beesuschrist.