Name your real-life Superwomen

It seems that there are many male historical figures who have been well promoted as being an iconic “superman” who achieved their greatest potential in life (depending on your sensibilities, one might choose Leonardo Da Vinci, Genghis Khan, George Washington or many others…)

I was more interested in who would one choose as their iconic real-life “Superwoman”? I can think of possibly, Queen Elizabeth I, Cheng the pirate queen or Florence Nightingale but surely there are other and better examples who don’t get enough mention. Ideas?

Leonardo Da Vinci, Genghis Khan, or George Washington’s mom. LOL just kidding.:smiley:

That’s hot
I suppose Joan of Arc and Cleopatra would be an obvious choice.

Boudica (often mispelled “Boadicea” by everone, including Enya), the Welsh tribal queen who fought the Romans.

Female Russian sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko.

Was Mulan a real person?
That’s all the comes to mind really. And in two of the cases, the “greatest female military commanders” ran a moderately successful campaign for a brief period of time until they were defeated and killed. Making them roughly the equivalent of a mediocre to above average male military commander.

There is a reason there is no Ms. Alexandra the Great.

Michelle Duggar certainly seems to think she’s achieved her greatest potential in life.

I’ve got a real list, but I’ve got to sleep on it.

I’d go with Nancy Brinker.

The Night Witches

Zoe Bell

I am going to go with Heddy Lamarr. She had a very unusual mix of talents especially for her time and she was extremely beautiful which unfortunately has to be a factor for me in defining a Superwoman. Sorry Amelia Earhart

“Hedy Lamarr (pronounced /ˈhɛdi/; November 9, 1913 – January 19, 2000) was an Austrian-American actress. Though known primarily for her extraordinary beauty and her celebrity in a film career as a major contract star of MGM’s “Golden Age”, Lamarr was also a scientist, inventor and mathematician who co-invented an early technique for spread spectrum communications, a key to many forms of wireless communication from the pre-computer age to the present day.”

Her autobiography claimed:

“…once while running away from Friedrich Mandl, she slipped into a brothel and hid in an empty room. While her husband searched the brothel, a man entered the room and she had sex with him so she could remain hidden. She was finally successful in escaping when she hired a new maid who resembled her; she drugged the maid and used her uniform as a disguise to escape”

Hey, Amelia Earhart goes on my list.
Also Violette_Szabo - SOE agent in World War 2, Helle Nice - Grand Prix racing driver for Bugatti in the 20s and 30s, Getrude Bell - 19th-20th century archaeologist, for a start.

From the Netherlands a few recent superwomen:

Marianne Thieme, founder and member of parliament for the worlds first succesfull political Animal Rights party;

Inge de Bruijn, model and world class swimming champion.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Starting out as an Ethiopian refugee fleeing from an arranged Muslim marriage, to media personality, to top politician. She became so controversial in het vocal stance against fundamentalist Islam that the whole Dutch government had to resign because of a scandal involving her. She came to the US and is now a member of a powerful Washington think-tank.

Thanks for that - the article on The Night Witches was the coolest thing I’ve read in a long time!

Zoe Bell is awesome, but as far as stuntwomen go, Michelle Yeoh wins it for me after that motorcycle-onto-a-train jump in Police Story 3.

Boudica was not remotely Welsh: in the first place, the Welsh as a people did not then exist; in the second place, she had no associations with any of the places that have ever been home to the Welsh. She was a Brythonic-speaking Celt as were the ancestors of the Welsh, but it’s a little bit like saying that Julius Caesar was Romanian.

My own entry is Lillian Gilbreth. I’ve had a sneaking fondness for her ever since I read Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes. On her behalf, I’ll never forgive Steve Martin his movies.

ETA: Her professional accomplishments are in engineering and psychology, which is not what you’d expect from the movie portrayal.

Doris Day toughest woman in history.

She was a promising dancer in her teens but then injured her legs in a car accident. Never having sung before she started performing at 17 and was one of the best jazz vocalists in the world at 21.

She became a movie star and ended up the biggest female box office star in Hollywood. In 1968 when her husband died, it turned out that he and an associate had embezzled all her money and lost it. She was in fact millions in debt.

So she reinvented herself as a TV star, her husband having signed her to a contract without her knowledge, taking control of the series and making it a success. She only worked to pay her debts, hating television.

She made back her lost millions, won a court case against her husband’s co-conspirator (she thought her husband was a patsy) and retired again.

When she found out that Rock Hudson had AIDS she helped him out.

She became a keen animal activist and has been known to pull over and chastise pet owners who have dogs tied up without water.

There are a lot of movies I’ll never forgive Steve Martin for. But the 1950 Myrna Loy film is pretty good.

I was going to suggest Fanny Burney, daughter of Charles and accomplished novelist and diarist. Apart from getting a novel published and critically acclaimed in an era when women weren’t generally allowed to do that sort of thing, she had a fairly eventful life on both sides of the Channel. And if you’re ever tempted to think her weak, read her *extremely *detailed description of her own mastectomy (done without anaesthetic) some time. The part about the bone being scraped made me wince.

Freya Stark, basically a female Richard Burton (the explorer, not the actor).

Possibly also Hypatia though TBH we don’t really know enough about her.

My grandmother is 87 years old and gets up at 4:30 am every morning to run a chain of soup kitchens which provide no- and low-cost meals to local laborers, schoolchildren, homeless people, and pretty much anyone else who doesn’t have any money.

Dolly Parton.

Self made from rags to riches, a decades long career in several genres of entertainment, succesful business woman, philanthropist, and by all accounts still a down to earth person who guards her privacy and her family life.

Ophrah, by the same count.

My vote: Sally Ride, Carolyn Porco. Just sayin’

Jane Goodall

Well then, you’d have to add Barbra Streisand. How many people of either gender are accomplished singers, actors, song writers, directors, producers and political activists . . . and also self-made, from rags to riches? Not to mention winner of an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Awards.

But at the top of my list would be Cleopatra and Catherine the Great. They both were accomplished in many fields and rose to prominence with minimum reliance on men.

Dorothea Dix, patron saint of crazy people.

Helen Keller. Because she spoke out for those who had no voice.

Eleanore Roosevelt.

My Aunt Annie.