What Makes Amelia Earhart So Captivating?

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What is it about Amelia Earhart that continues to inspire and intrigue so many? There have been a number of articles lately in honor of the 75th anniversary of her disappearance and, personally, I can’t get enough.

For me, her disappearance is not what interests me, but rather her remarkable life. I am interested in learning more about women throughout history who have bucked societal trends and accomplished great things. Why do we not learn more about these inspiring women in school?

I had a teacher in high school who made a point of teaching us about women’s history. I believe that she faced some challenges from the school administration and from other teachers and students as a result of this emphasis, but I have always appreciated the fact that she was willing to face those challenges in order to ensure that we learned about both the great men, and the great women in history. To this day, I would credit this teacher with helping shape my sense of right and wrong and understanding of social justice.

But what is it about Amelia Earhart that makes her so universally admired? It probably helps that she was not a political figure and did not politicize her activities, despite the fact that her very life challenged conventional paradigms.

But I think there is also something about the fact that she appeared to be fearless and we worship such bravery in this country. Many can understand that Eleanor Rossevelt, who is one of my heroes, was also required to be fearless in her activities. But Amelia Earhart’s brand of fearlessness, being willing to risk her life to acomplish something that had not been done before, was something that eveyone, men and women, could relate to.

I am glad that Amelia Earhart is so celebrated and the more I read about her, the more fascinated I grow. And, I hope that more women heroes in our history are recognized for their bravery and sacrifice.

What do you think? Did you learn about women’s history in school? Why do you think this is the case? Why do you think Amelia Earhart is so celebrated? Who are some of your female heroes in history?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks so much for reading!

37 Comments

Filed under Culture, Politcs, social pressures, Stereotypes, travel, Women

37 responses to “What Makes Amelia Earhart So Captivating?

  1. I think we do learn a bit here in Europe … but then you also have to remember history books are written by men … one of my favourite is Sophie Scholl, a German freedom fighter during the second world war. I read a book a bout her when I was 15 or so and wanted to be like her. I also really admire many femal authors … come on Mary Shelly was so young when she wrote Frankenstein and also Grace O’Mally the famed Irish pirate Queen from the 1500

  2. You know…I never even thought about it but no, I did not learn about great women of history in school…sad, very sad. I too admire Amelia. Great post – thanks. 🙂

  3. Amelia and Eleanor Roosevelt are two of my favorites. It’s sad that it’s harder for me to think of great women leaders than men. In today’s world, I admire so many different types of women including Hillary Clinton, Aung San Suu Kyi from Burma, Mary Oliver the poet and also everyday women. I’m not sure if we have any equivalent to Amelia Earhart now. That’s a good contemplation! 🙂

  4. Awesome teacher! Yes, I also find it messed up that we don’t learn more about women throughout history. One of the largest problems I would imagine is that what they did simply wasn’t recorded, due to their gender deeming both them and their achievements as worthless. That would be my guess anyway. So I find it important to focus on what we do know about women.

  5. It’s very sad that the strength of women is not recognized as it should be. I am intrigued by the brave women who gave us the Right to Vote. Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul. The suffering, or down right torture they ensued is mind blowing. I did a post of this as a result of an email I received on the subject. If nothing else, it will make you vote on election day! This was a very interesting subject, thanks for sharing and educating us.

    • I would love to see that post. If you have a minute, maybe you could paste the link here for everyone to see. I went to a Quaker school and the teacher I mentioned here is a Quaker so those are just the women she taught us about! Thanks for reading and for the comment!

      • My daughter went to a Quaker school and I attend a Meeting…small world. At Day School each member researched a Quaker woman and we discussed each one at length..now those were some tough cookies. Saving the world and having 12 or more children to boot! Here is the link..http://fretym.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/fascinating-friday/

        • Wow! Small world! It definitely changes your perspective. I love this post! Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity. Ain’t that the truth! But how remarkable for a doctor from that time period to say publicly? It seems like women of my grandmother’s generation (she would have been 98 years old this year) understand the value of the vote so much more than later generations. But what an important accomplishment for those women and what a great reminder from you. Thanks for sharing it here!

  6. I hope everything is OK your way.

    Courage knows no gender. Some of the most courageous people in our history have been women and you mentioned two. There are many women in the middle east who face obstacles that western women do not face – they will actually be the ones who eventually bring peace to that region given the religious machismo that flavors the area. I think courageous people’s stories should be taught regardless of gender and so the teacher needs to make sure there is a good mix for all. The boys need to see what real courage is like from men or women – Atticus Finch was more courageous to not fight the man who spit in his face. Rosa Parks was courageous for her civil disobedience.

    Your articles always make me think. I thank you for that. Keep the faith.

    • Absolutely. Balance is the key. But so many history courses ignore women’s contribution. It is striking. All is OK in our neck of the woods right now, but this fire is devastating and incredibly dangerous. Thanks for asking.

  7. These are some of my favorites:
    http://expatalien.com/2012/04/07/famous-expat-women/
    Women need to write more history books!

  8. globalanni

    I love Amelia and find her so fascinating. Look for the book, “I Was Amelia Earhart” and enjoy the fictional story of her surviving on a deserted island! Here is my historical woman hero: Gertrude Bell. She is someone most of us have never heard of. She united the bedouin tribes in the Middle East alongside Lawrence of Arabia. She was the most brave and unconventional woman. After the Ottoman Empire fell, she really created Iraq. There are numerous biographies about her, but I have not found any of them an “easy read.”

  9. I always enjoy reading about women doing things that their generation didn’t think a woman should do – and Amelia Earhart is just such a person. Since Manitoba (Canada) was the first province to give women the right to vote, our history classes discussed Nellie McClung, who was a suffragette-type woman, constantly in men’s faces about women’s rights and poking fun at some of the views of women at the time. I admire all women who have that kind of bravery, too. 🙂

    • Me too! I admire that type of bravery at least as much if not more. Thanks for giving me a heads up about another inspiring woman! I am sure there are books about all these great women, but if not, I am getting inspired by all the great responses to get out my pen and paper on this one! Thanks for the comment!

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