Are you a November 22 born ? Here’s why you should be proud! Practical and confident, those born today are also persuasive and sincere. Born on this day, here are four women who broke all stereotypes.
#1 Tennis Legend Billie Jean King
“When we reach the point where the women athletes are getting their pick of dates just as easily as the men athletes, then we’ve really and truly arrived. Parity at last!”
Tennis Legend Billie King Jean has been an advocate of gender equality from a very young age. But it was the Battle of the Sexes in 1973 that helped her make an indelible mark as a sportsperson and an advocate for equal rights. Former #1 men’s tennis star Bobby Riggs claimed that the women’s game was inferior and that he could defeat any women’s champion even though he was now 55 years old. Billie Jean accepted his challenge.
“I’m taking this match very seriously. I love to win. I welcome the responsibility and the pressure. Bobby had better be ready.” – Billie King Jean
On September 20, 1973, Billie Jean beat Bobby Riggs in straight sets, 6–4, 6–3, 6–3, and earned the winner-take-all prize of $100,000, in a game that was viewed by an estimated 90 million people worldwide.
It was in 1966 that Billie Jean King achieved her goal of being ranked #1 in the world in women’s tennis. She continued to hold this rank during the years 1967-1968, 1971-1972, and in 1974. The champion began her unabated campaign for equal prize money in the men’s and women’s games. Now 75, Billie Jean continues to address issues of inclusiveness and equality through her Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative.
#2 Author & Novelist George Eliot
“An accomplished woman almost always knows more than we men, though her knowledge is of a different sort.”
Author and novelist George Eliot is one of the leading English novelists of the 19th century. Born as Mary Anne Evans, she first used her pseudonym in 1857 when she published her short story ‘Amos Barton’. In a world where women hardly took to writing, Mary decided she wanted to do just that. But the fear of discrimination and a bigger fear of not being published just because she was a woman, made her take up the pen name of George Eliot.
Eliot began contributing to the ‘Westminster Review’, a leading journal for philosophical radicals in 1850, and went on to become its editor. Now a part of the literary circle, she met George Henry Lewes, an English philosopher and critic of literature and theatre. In an era when marriage was supposed to be the be-all and end-all of every woman’s life and purpose, Eliot chose to live with Lewes until his death in 1878. Lewes was already married and his relationship to Eliot caused a scandal, with the latter being shunned by her family and friends. It was in 1871-71 that she went on to publish her masterpiece ‘Middlemarch’.
“Marriage is so unlike everything else. There is something even awful in the nearness it brings. Even if we loved someone else better than – than those we were married to, it would be no use. I mean, marriage drinks up all our power of giving or getting any blessedness in that sort of love. I know it may be very dear, but it murders our marriage, and then the marriage stays with us like a murder, and everything else is gone.” – Middlemarch by George Eliot
#3 Actress Scarlett Johansson
“How old-fashioned, this idea that behind a great man is a great woman. What about being in front of that person, or next to that person?”
Actress Scarlett Johansson, aged 34, is 2018’s highest paid female lead with a whopping $40.5 Million. As per a 2016 study, female characters fill only 28.7% of all speaking roles in film. The lack of roles lead to fewer opportunities of female stars to earn more. However, with Johansson’s success as the Black Widow, and the audience eager to watch female leads occupy more screen space, there well could be a massive ‘shape-shift’ in the industry.
Though considered a sex symbol, Johansson has always been vocal about her criticism of the media promoting an image that causes eating disorders in women. She has even posted a no-makeup image of herself in one of her Facebook fan pages. Encouraging body positivity, she explains why tabloids and their criteria of ‘good looks’ should not influence young women. Instead starving oneself of becoming unnaturally thin, it is better to stay fit and eat healthy.
“Love the real you. The way you are so that even if you are without makeup, you can look into the mirror and with a big smile embrace your imperfections. Just imagine if you don’t even love yourself how do you expect anyone to love you.” – Scarlett Johansson
In the Avengers’ series, Johansson plays the Black Widow, which is perhaps the most well-known female superhero in the Marvel world. A femme fatale, Romanova, or the Black Widow, is feisty and psychologically superior to those around her. It is about time someone made a movie on the Black Widow.
#4 Graphic Novelist, Author & Illustrator Marjane Satrapi
“I finally understood what my grandmother meant. If I wasn’t comfortable with myself, I would never be comfortable.”
If you haven’t read Persepolis yet, well then, you must! Written and illustrated by Marjane Satrapi, it takes readers to pre and post-revolutionary Iran, a country where Satrapi was born. She grew up in Tehran with parents who supported Marxism. Later in 1979, when the Iranian Revolution took place, the family and 10-year-old Satrapi had to witness several atrocities and brutalities of the regime. Many of her family friends were arrested and even murdered, which included her uncle Anoosh, whom she admired and loved. This loss left the young Satrapi troubled and she began protesting against public codes and began buying music banned by the regime.
“I had learned that you should always shout louder than your aggressor.” – Marjane Satrapi
Worried, her parents sent her to Vienna, Austria, where she lived with friends and then finally in the streets. After a deadly bout of pneumonia she returned to Iran and studied visual communication there. She later married and moved to France. Her works, which she prefers to call ‘comic books’ rather than ‘graphic novels’ mostly describe her childhood in Iran and her adolescence in Europe.
“When you say ‘revolution’ when you have only men outside, you know that something is going wrong… I think that one of the things that makes the society advanced is equality between men and women. If half of the society is oppressed by the other half, it’s not fine.” – Marjane Satrapi
Content developed by Debarati Chakraborty
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