My name is Sarah (Sarah-Louise, actually, but you can only call me that if you are one of my grandparents), and I am 26. I am married, and have been for 4 wonderful years, to my best friend in the world. He is American, which has apparently resulted in my sounding Irish, due to the strange, sub-conscious adoption of a half-American accent. We live in a little village in Norfolk, with our fat, adorable cat-child, Richard Parker.
I just graduated with a BA in History, which was my second degree. The first is in Theology, which I gained in New York, along with the aforementioned American who I brought home along with my degree certificate. I commence work on my PhD in September, which will focus on the women of the US Air Force who were stationed in Great Britain, between 1939 and 1990. My field is very much women’s military history.
In one of my undergraduate classes at university, a favourite professor of mine once said that he finds if funny when people say, ‘I’m not a feminist, but…”. I say this often. I once said to another professor that I hated gender history and wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. Two years later, my career is headed entirely in the direction of gender history. My former sentiment was based mostly on how frustrating I found gender history to be. I got tired of hearing about how women were subjugated and down-trodden throughout most of history, and I didn’t want to dwell on it. It was nicer to try to forget about it and focus on the fact that I live in a very different world, where things are better for us ladies. Not perfect, but better. Then I heard about Vera Atkins and her SOE agents, and I saw things differently. It’s true that gender history can be quite difficult at times, if you can’t detach from it (emotional people like me can’t, sometimes). But it can also be beautiful. Rather than focusing on general trends and attitudes, I began to look for those individuals who challenged the status quo and pioneered change – the consequences of which I am grateful to live under. I looked for the ladies who didn’t just accept what society wanted them to, but who made themselves conspicuous by being something else. Ladies who jumped out of airplanes in the dark in Nazi-occupied territory, and led thousands of resisters in armed combat, and fought for credibility, recognition and equality. Ladies who were willing to boldly go where no woman had gone before.
I am not a feminist, but I do believe in equality and fair treatment. I don’t blame, rant or accuse (well, I try not to…but I’m human). I don’t dwell on the struggles women have faced. I dwell on those brave ladies who fought to overcome such struggles. I love the messages embedded within their stories – that no-one is better than anyone else, that when something isn’t right we have the choice to do something about it, and that if we fight hard enough, we can overcome, even if literally the whole world is against us. I am grateful to them all, because everyone needs inspiration to get through life. They are mine.
I am blessed to have married a man who supports my research, and more importantly, my super-hero/Star Trek obsession. In fact, I’m just blessed. Thanks be to the God I cannot live without – especially for the lessons I have learned about right and wrong, and about unconditional love.
That’s me. In another life, my degree would be from Starfleet Academy, and I would be employed by the United Federation of Planets. But in this one, I shall continue to follow inspirational women, tell their stories, write papers, read books, attend comic book conventions and have shrimp Friday with my boys at home. Do get in touch should you want to – I am always delighted to find like-minded enthusiasts (history and nerd-stuff).
Live long, and prosper.