• Fatima Learn

Female Pioneers And Wonder Woman

Updated: Mar 15, 2021


A colleague of mine wished me a Happy Woman’s Day on March 8th. I was taken back a bit and not sure whether I should say thank you, then I heard myself say “thank you but everyday is Woman’s day for me sweetheart”. I delivered my words as Mae West casually holding a cigarette. The female pioneers in film have always been a big influence on me growing up and I thankfully always looked up to the bold examples. I am sure they are a big reason why there is even a “Woman’s Day” at all.


Hepburn is one of my favourite leading women. Her mannerisms and strong presence on screen always impressed me, especially for that time. Society perceived woman as 100% nurturers and were only meant to be strong in that area (ex. teaching and nursing). Everything else that did not fall under nurturing was difficult or restricted from them. The roles of females in films I watched broke many of those moulds. I would look for information about these woman so I could understand who they were and one day I discovered something I thought was interesting.


The Bohemian

Some of the woman I admired on the silver screen had something in common. They all were the first females to wear pants as everyday wear in the movies. I thought this was extremely interesting, and I went on to discover that they received a lot of criticism for doing that as it was not acceptable at the time. I painted a homage to that courage to bookmark this historical occurrence. They were judged as having become “bohemian”, which supposedly made them undesirable to men. However, females applauded them because they began liberating woman’s fashion and comfort.


Wonder Woman


When I was a little girl, I was a big fan of Wonder Woman, the DC comic character. I remember getting an undergarment that was Wonder Woman’s outfit. I was told I couldn’t show it to anyone because it was meant to be hidden under my clothes. That made me sad, but I secretly pretended I was Wonder Woman in disguise. I never actually stripped away my clothes and yelled “Wonder Woman to the rescue!” until it was time to put on my pyjamas. I think that is when I became conscious of how other people perceived me.


My kids got me a mug with Wonder Woman on it as a gift. This particular mug leads me to believe they perceive me as a fearless woman. I am honoured and fortunate for the gift but they are my kids, after all. Nevertheless, I will always look at the mug as a reminder to be nothing less. It also tickles my heart when I think that my children might look at me the same way that I do at Hepburn.


Awareness Days


I usually do not recognize calendar awareness days or months that have appeared in the last decade or so. It should be something recognized 365 days of the year as far as I am concerned- but there is one good reason for it. Highlighting an achievement or cause for a month or even a day might help people remember more often to appreciate the topic. Even if you believe the topic of awareness is something that should be natural behaviour, there are some people that need to be reminded. Maybe that explains why “Woman’s Day” turned into “Woman’s Week” and why we are now recognizing “Woman’s Month”.


Top Image - "1930 Bohemian", by Fatima Learn, 24" x 36" acrylic (metallic) painted on canvas board