Women as powerful role models (despite TV portraying them as weak).
The preliminary studies are in, and the results are depressing, if obvious. In a study conducted by Christopher Ferguson, a psychology professor at Texas A&M International University, sexually violent television shows with submissive female characters made men reflect more negative attitudes towards women, and made women more anxious. Fortunately, the inverse is also true. Seeing sexual violence in the media, but with strong female leads (think Buffy and Law and Order: SVU) actually reported less anxiety than the control group.
The message is clear: The more strong role models that women see, the stronger we feel. And as bona fide members of the media, we at EcoSalon felt we had to do out part to cover as many strong women as possible. These ten real-life heroines went above and beyond to help protect others.
This 25-year-old wrangler from Roanoke, Virginia, saved an eight-year-old from a charging grizzly bear. Bolster was guiding eight clients on a short trail ride when a grizzly, chasing a deer, cut into their group. The eight-year-old’s mount panicked. Rather than following suit, Bolster turned her truck-sized horse Tonk and galloped after the griz. She charged the bear three times before the bear gave up, allowing her to return the boy to his very worried father.
An onlooker filmed this seventy-plus British granny making a beeline towards six men breaking into a jewelry shop in Northampton, England. Initially, Timson thought that the men were beating someone up. When she realized that they were robbing a jewelry store in broad daylight, she started hitting them with her handbag. The men cleared out, leaving Timson a little winded but unharmed.
A stunning actress and devoted mother, Winslet added “action hero” to her resume when she saved Richard Branson’s 90-year-old mother. During Hurricane Irene, a lightning strike hit Branson’s vacation home in the British Virgin Islands. Branson was staying in the Great House next door while his mother and twenty other guests stayed in the main house. By the time that Branson heard screams and rushed outside, he found that Winslet — who had already ushered her boyfriend and two children to safety — had carried out his mother.
For those who lost friends and family in the Colorado shooting earlier this summer, platitudes are an empty consolation. But Barack Obama commended 21-year-old Stephanie Davies for keeping that number just a little lower than it might have been. When Davies’ friend Allie Young was felled by bullet wounds to the neck and liver, Davies pulled Young out of the aisle, applied pressure to the wound and kept Young calm. After the shooting stopped, Davies carried Young out and placed her in a waiting ambulance. Both survived.
Mothers have been known to find superhuman strength to save a child in need…but what about daughters? Alec Kornacki was pinned underneath his BMW when it slipped off the jack. His 22-year-old daughter Lauren found him in the garage and lifted the car off him, shoved it aside, and grabbed her father out from under it. Alec’s heart had stopped beating, but Lauren performed two sets of mouth-to-mouth until his breathing resumed. He had two broken ribs and other fractures, but he survived.
The chairwoman of Columbia Sportswear is as tough as her gear. After escaping Nazi Germany at 13, her family came to the United States and founded the now world-famous outdoor clothing company. When a group of men attempted to rob her house and hold her for ransom, Boyle told them that she had to disable the home alarm system. Instead, she hit the silent panic button. Within minutes, the police had arrived, foiling the group’s plans.
The 37-year-old nurse had just finished the bike portion of the Meek & Mighty triathlon in St. Anthony’s, Florida, when she saw cops huddled by a downed fellow rider. The cops thought he had had a seizure, but McCoy checked for a pulse and didn’t find one. She yelled for a defibrillator and got to work, performing CPR on the man and then shocking him. When the paramedics arrived, McCoy got back on her bike and finished the race.
When the 22-year-old woman saw twelve men beating another man at an Oakland bus stop, she assumed that the fight would quickly break up. After all, nearly 40 people were watching. When no one made a move, she ran across the street and pulled two men off him before attending to the victim. The assailants continued to harass and threaten Dove, but a witness said that she responded, “You’ve done enough. You can either keep threatening me, a defenseless unarmed woman trying to provide medical services to a dying man, or you can go get this guy some water like a decent human being.” Paramedics assured Dove that the man will likely make a full recovery.
Most people would stay well away from a flipped-over big rig on the highway, and especially one that was on fire. But when 22-year-old Keenia Williams saw the truck driver struggle out of the cab and collapse, she immediately stopped her car and ran over to help. She dragged trucker Michael Finerty out of the path of the flames and restored him to consciousness by splashing water on his face. For her actions, Williams was named a finalist for the 2012 Congressional Medal of Honor.
Traffic videos show a mystery woman coming to the rescue of a young man sustaining a vicious attack. The woman crosses the street, shoos the attackers off the victim, and stands over him while waiting for help. She remains unidentified — as do the millions of other women who perform daily acts of heroism without being acknowledged or praised. The next time you see women playing the part of helpless victims on television, remember these real life wonder women.