A few of my favorite women

Tommy Richardson

Each March, Women's History Month, I read those annual lists of the most influential (or powerful, or admired) women and scoff at some of the choices (Princess Di? Really?). This WHM, for your scoffing pleasure, I offer this list of 10 of my favorite women -- four from the politics/human rights arena and six from arts/entertainment.

1. Heroine for all time:  Harriet Tubman.  A real life action hero.  Born a slave in Maryland, she escaped to Pennsylvania in 1849 but made daring trips back into slave territory to lead others to freedom.  Who says history is boring?

2. Heroine for our time:  Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  Death threats from Muslim terrorists and scoldings from politically correct multiculturalists haven't stopped this Somali-born former Muslim and self-proclaimed "infidel" from speaking out against the brutal oppression of women in Islamic society.

3. Woman for president:  Susana Martinez.  Currently, Scott Walker is my 2016 favorite, but if Martinez (R-Governor, New Mexico) were nominated, I'd be happy to have her as our first female (and Hispanic) president.  Even if she doesn't run for president, she'll almost certainly be considered for the VP slot.

4. Columnist/pundit:  Mona Charen.  I read her opinion column every Tuesday and Friday.  Her sensible conservatism (more F.A. Hayek than Pat Robertson) and measured tone make hers a voice of sanity in the news media circus.

5. Novelist:  Stella Gibbons.  Her comic novel "Cold Comfort Farm" (1932) mocks the emotional characters and overwrought prose of rural melodramas, a popular genre at the time.  Young Flora Poste moves in with her neurotic cousins the Starkadders and applies common sense to their messy lives.

6. Actress, big screen:  Claudette Colbert.  She played in all sorts of movies, but she's at her witty best in screwball comedies like "It Happened One Night" (1934), "Midnight" (1939), and "The Palm Beach Story" (1942).  Who says classy can't be funny?

7. Actress, small screen:  Mayim Bialik.  In addition to playing neuroscientist Amy on "The Big Bang Theory," Bialik really does have a Ph.D. in neuroscience, making her the only actor on the show who actually understands all the scientific lines her character speaks.

8. Painter: Rosa Bonheur.  She's remembered for her realistic depictions of animals.  Her most famous works are "Oxen Ploughing in the Nivernais" (1849) and "The Horse Fair" (1853), but I like "Shepherd of the Pyrenees" (1888) for its background of gray mountains and slithering clouds.

9. Singer:  Gladys Knight.  Her performance of "Midnight Train To Georgia" is intense enough to let listeners know she's serious about making a long term commitment, and the rasp in her voice suggests she's mature enough to make such a decision.

10. Athlete:  Steffi Graf.  When I was fifteen I read in Sports Illustrated that the seventeen-year-old Graf didn't care for noisy discos or expensive accessories, but preferred working on her tennis, playing backgammon, or throwing frisbees to her dogs.  I hadn't seen her in action yet, but I liked her already.

Scoff if you must, but I hope I included at least one pick you can agree with.

Tommy Richardson lives in Erath County. His column appears monthly. He can be reached at tommy.richardson71@yahoo.com.