Have you noticed the virtual parade of badass women out there today? And it’s not that they haven’t been badass all along, it’s just that it seems to have hit some critical mass here lately.
Take Frances McDormand. If you dare. It’s not just that she is a wonderful actress. She has created two of the great badass women of the movies. Her Marge Gunderson from Fargo is number 33 on the American Film Institute’s list of the greatest movie heroes. (Which is really good, since only 15% of those heroes are also heroines.) And while Marge is badass being the law, her Mildred in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is just as badass coming when she is coming after the law.
When Ms. McDormand took the stage to accept her Golden Globe last weekend, her “carriage and demeanor” registered so intimidating that the network censors got itchy and bleeped her saying “Fox Searchlight” and “tectonic shift.” They were so afraid of what she might say that they missed what she actually said. Badass.
In The Post, a real badass woman—in the person of Katharine Graham—comes into her own when she risks everything, including prison, to do the right thing by publishing the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Ms. Graham, as played brilliantly by badass Meryl Streep, grew into her “badassness” over the course of time. That means there is hope for us all.
And I can’t leave the Golden Globes behind and not touch on Oprah. Just Oprah. She gives one barn burner of a speech, and suddenly talk of her running for President gets real. Naturally such talk results in an attempt by some to reduce her to a “celebrity” or a “talk show host.” Seth McFarlane can keep punching up—he’s not a badass—but I think Oprah is going to do what Oprah is going to do.
Of course, I don’t know why Oprah would want to run for President. It’s clearly not an upward career move—it’s not even a lateral one. But I’m not Oprah, and she should listen to God, or the aliens, or whoever it is who has been whispering in her ear all these years. It’s worked out amazingly well so far. Amazingly badass, that is.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, while others were trying to figure out how to make public the controversial transcript of the testimony of the head of Fusion GPS before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein said, “Hold my beer” and released it unilaterally. Maybe she really said handed a martini to the staffer, but you get the idea. Badass.
Over at the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has hired law clerks for at least two more terms, through 2020. Because she won’t give up, give out or give in. (Courtesy of badass Katharine Hepburn as badass Eleanor of Aquitainte in The Lion in Winter.) She is the notorious RBG because she is the totally badass RBG.
We all want to be a badass when we need to be, when the time is right. Maybe not all the time, maybe not every day. Just every once in a while. In those moments when we’re ready, willing and able to cause some trouble. When we spin the wheel on the real game of Life, and our little plastic car reaches the space that says, “Oh, hell, nah, not today.”
And thank Heaven for all those ladies who parade around being badass all the time. Let’s all pick our favorites and let them show us how it’s done. We’re watching, so we’ll be ready.
When the time is right.