In the last four years, 16-year old adventurer Jade Hameister has summited Everest, travailed across Greenland’s icecaps, and skied to the North Pole, reports CNN. The final chapter of “Jade’s polar quest,” as she refers to it on her website, came to a close at the end of January, when, taking a never-before-used route, she completed an unassisted, 373-mile ski journey to the South Pole. Her accomplishments caught the attention of National Geographic, which plans to release a feature-length documentary about her expeditions later this year.
In a TedxTalk in August, 2016, Hameister spoke about following her dreams, encouraging girls to defy gender stereotypes and pursue their ambitions. “As a young woman, I live in a world where I’m constantly bombarded with messages to be less…to shrink my ambitions…to avoid activities that are ‘for boys’ because I’m not as strong enough or as tough. But imagine if all the young women in a particular country took one-step forward in the level of belief in their own possibilities? How much brighter would the future of that country be?” she asked.
The video circulated widely. And, as when a woman does anything good and wonderful online, Hameister gathered a large following of trolls in the process — because we know men have nothing better to do than try to tear down a teenager whose accomplishments exponentially outweigh their own. Their responses didn’t stray far from run-of-the-mill diminution, as they liberally bantied about the phrase “make me a sandwich,” in a nostalgic salute to the gender rolls of yore, where women were relegated to completing household chores between popping out babies.
But, ever dauntless in the face of adversity, Hameister shook off their comments and served up some ice-cold shade of her own, posting a photo of herself holding a plated sandwich at the South Pole with the caption, “I made you a sandwich (ham & cheese), now ski 37 days and 600km to the South Pole and you can eat it."
She might just be my hero.
top photo from jadehameister.com
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Sarah C. Epstein is a writer and creator living in NYC. In her free time she enjoys eating berries, reflecting on her dreams, and hanging out with her pet snake, Sydney. Find her online at cricketepstein.com.