Blog post for Women’s History Month written by WriteGirl mentee Jackie, 12th grade.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to travel around the world. But not in the usual sense: I didn’t dream of five-star hotels or hyped-up restaurants. I wanted to be in the midst of it: to take in the culture and really connect with the people of that specific country. And Christiane Amanpour represented that dream for me. I tracked her closely on the news, whether she was in Libya or in Pakistan or in Washington, D.C. A globetrotter with short, dark hair, keen brown eyes, and a deep, serious voice, to me she was always recognizable.
For foreign correspondents, there is a constant reminder that death is looming above your head. This career entails sacrifices. Most foreign correspondents leave behind the comforts of consumerist America for a desolate village in Venezuela or a crowded factory in China. While most people would run away from the discomfort and the level of risk involved, she has a certain fearlessness in her that I admire: the way she kept calm even while chaos was unraveling around her.
I had always felt I was seen as weak because of my skinny frame and soft-spoken ways, and it was something that I detested. I hated being labeled as fragile or incapable as a result of my appearance; it made me angry that people did not even bother to look beyond the exterior.
When I saw Christiane Amanpour on ABC News or on CNN, I longed for her bravery, her vigilance, and her compassion. Many people would say that as a woman, she shouldn’t have been out there “gallivanting” in the most violent and dangerous places on Earth. But I never saw her as weak. Or dependent. She not only broke the barriers that outlined what it meant to be a foreign correspondent: male, male, male, but she also proved that through hard work and a level of tenacity, a girl could be anything that she wants to be.
And I don’t want to be seen as incapable of achieving more just because I’m skinny, because I’m a girl, or a bunch of other useless “because’s.” I don’t want to be seen as weak or dependent. I want to be fearless, to possess the ability to place myself in a new world and take it in with fresh eyes, without the protection of anyone but myself. I want to see in myself what I see in Christiane Amanpour.