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Women Who Inspire Generations

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Aberdeen chapter.

Phoebe Waller Bridge  

Coming from an upper-middle class family and having attended an array of private schools some may deem Waller Bridge too privileged to be a true embodiment of feminism, but she had to fight for her place at the table by writing her own shows and scripts which makes the societal value bursting from her work, in particular ‘Fleabag,’ somewhat revolutionary.  

The series follows an unnamed woman, referred to as ‘Fleabag’ as she navigates life entrenched with pain and grief, having lost both her best friend and mother. The fact that the lead character lacks a name may seem confusing to some, but it in fact outlines a stark message that society will judge someone without even knowing their name.  

Her work is shocking at times, perhaps an indication that a female who shocks; is a female who is heard. However, it explores womanhood, sexuality, and pain working in conjunction with humour and joy, ultimately showing that emotions are not mutually exclusive and that taboo subjects can be dismantled.  

Waller Bridge is inspired by the notion of transgressive women, by being one herself she is rousing younger generations to break free of the conformity society imposes upon them.  

Ruth Bader Ginsburg  

Just over a year on from her death, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, affectionally referred to as RBG, remains a feminist icon across the globe.  

While attending Harvard, RBG balanced being one of a few women in her class with motherhood, and being a devoted wife to her husband, even taking on double the workload by attending his lectures to make sure he didn’t miss out due to his cancer prognosis. She then moved on to Colombia Law School where she graduated joint first in her class. Her tenure at both Harvard and Columbia sent a clear message that women were more than mothers and wives.  

She would go on to become a professor, attorney, and the second female Supreme Court Justice. As the latter she made judgements on topical issues regarding women’s rights, such as abortion and gender discrimination.  

When asked, at 82 years old, what advice she would give to young women, RBG replied ‘fight for the things that you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.’ This encapsulates her life and legacy which will inspire generations past, present, and future. Considering the current climate, perhaps more than ever, it is important to pay respect to RBG for her unwavering and uncompromising quest for fairness and truth.  

Sally Rooney  

Sally Rooney has been hailed the novelist of a generation because of her works, namely: Conversations with Friends, Normal People and most recently Beautiful World Where Are You? 

Her work usually centres around young women and their relationships with themselves, friends, and significant others. She manages to create fictional characters who each have unique personalities and flaws, in turn allowing the reader to form a love/hate relationship with the characters. This love/hate relationship with Rooney’s characters and their individual traits reflects how we battle with ourselves. Sometimes we wake up ready to soak in the world, other times we want to hide under the duvet for the day and escape reality. Above all, her work highlights that people are flawed, and the sooner we accept this, the more we can enjoy ourselves and each other.  

Rooney’s work is pivotal for generations of young women who struggle with relationships and communication, but her writing transcends this and discusses other issues such as endometriosis, religion, societal pressures, and climate change. She has the incomparable ability to immerse a reader in a work of fiction which feels so authentic.  

Billie Jean King  

Billie Jean King is a former world number 1 tennis player and a pioneer of equality within sport.  

King famously participated in ‘The Battle of the Sexes’ where she defeated former world number 1 Bobby Riggs in straight sets. She stated that she knew she couldn’t lose the match as it would set the women’s game back 50 years. This shows the pressure she was under to silence her critics, including Riggs himself who taunted female players with the threats he, as a retired player, could beat them in their prime as they were inferior. 

Her fight for equality continued as she declared she wouldn’t play at the 1973 US Open if the prize money for men and women was not equal, as a result the US Open became the first major to have an equal prize pot. This shows the influence King had, and still has, over the game. King campaigned for a women’s tour, and in 1973 became the first President of the women’s players union, the WTA.  

Off court, King was married to her husband Larry King, who she credits with introducing her to feminism. However, throughout her marriage she questioned her sexuality, and had relationships with women. In 1981 King was outed making her the first prominent sportswoman to come out. She is now married to her former doubles partner and is known not just for her illustrious tennis career and radical fight for equality within the sport, but also as a steadfast ally of the LGBTQ community. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 for her work with the LGBTQ community.  

King is an inspiration for many both in her career and personal life, and when celebrating the achievements of other icons like Serena Williams, and emerging talents like Emma Raducanu, it is important to pay homage to the powerhouse that made it all possible. 

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zoe brown

Aberdeen '23

Currently a law student at Uni and have a particular interest in how society perceives and treats different minorities, genders, and especially women. I love feminist based literature and have a real curiosity regarding womanhood and the expression of such! I'm a big Sally Rooney fan so also find relationships, and communication within those relationships, interesting to explore. I have to admit, I also love pop culture such as Taylor Swift and the Real Housewives Franchise!