In search of extraordinary women!


A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in a coffee shop reading a book, while a conversation at the next table suddenly caught my attention.

There were three people at the table; one man and two women, and the man was doing 99% of the talking. His message was basically this:

Women are mediocre.

They have no talent.

No matter what field you are looking into; literature, art, politics, you name it; women are always creating less interesting work than men.

Oh, lord.

I really, really wanted to break in. I wanted to get up and walk over to the table and look the guy in the eyes and be extremely convincing and say:


But I didn’t. I just remained seated two meters away, all angry, hiding my long, red ears behind my book.

And then I went home and started making a list of incredible women.

I scanned my memory in search of women that have inspired me; Women that have made me better. Made me laugh. Made me move. Made me want more. Brave & brilliant women that have pushed the limits of society and culture, in order to make great changes in their and our world.

This is what I found:

Anaïs Nin (French author, 1903–1977)

Fearless and brave, extravagant and hard working. She never gave up her dream of becoming an author. She refused to let her gender limit her (one of the things she did was to publish erotic literature in a time where women were absolutely not encouraged to talk about (or even think about) sex). She was full of wisdom – and not afraid to spread it. Several of my favorite quotes are from here (“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are”, Life shrinks and expands in proportion to one’s courage and so on).

Miranda July (american musician, writer, actress and film director, 1974-)

OH, MIRANDA! I’ve been in love with her ever since I saw her movie “Me and You and Everyone We Know” back in 2006. My crush just grew bigger as I read her book No one belongs here more than you (a collection of strange and poetical short stories) and discovered her wonderful project Learning to Love you More (where she is collecting different kinds of stories from people all over the world). Humor, brains, energy and style – what a combination. I am most definetely a fan!

Patti Smith (American poet, musician and photographer, 1946 -)

Patti Smith was one of the first women I really looked up to. I remember walking around with her music in my headphones, longing to have her courage and her voice. I admire her poetic approach to life, her faith in patterns & coincidences, her political radicalism and her unconditional love for great art. She definitely has her own opinions – and she’s never afraid of speaking out loud.

Sophie Calle (French artist, 1953-)

A great source of inspiration. Her work is a continuous investigation of life, and I love the way her art expresses curiosity, openness and ability to look at the world from many different perspectives. She is using a lot of different media, never limiting herself to just one thing. Seeing her work always makes me want to get to know people around me. And it makes me want to create!

Lady Gaga (american singer, 1986-)

Ok. I never thought I would say this, but after reading this blogpost and watching this interview, I have to admit that I have a lot to learn from Mother Monster. I might not be the biggest fan of her music, but i DO admire her courage, her creativity, her will power, her eagerness to make a difference, her optimism, her talent and the fact that she is working her butt off to achieve her very ambitious goals!

Karen Blixen (Danish author, 1885-1962 )

No list of great women without Karen Blixen! She was a fabulous storyteller and an adventurous traveller, living at a time where women were expected to do little more than cooking, cleaning and giving birth. Almost 50 years after her death, her words most definitely still have their value. Like this quote for example, When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself.



I will be very happy if you share your female role models with me, so we can make a much longer list of extraordinary women!

Scientists, politicians, mothers, teachers, religious leaders, actors, lawyers, clowns, musicians, hard-working workers, nannies, athletes, friends…..BRING THEM ALL ON!

  1. Cornelia said:

    Sara Stridsberg, Beate Grimsrud, PJ Harvey, Astrid Lindgren, JK Rowling, Simone de Beauvoir, my mom, my sister, my friend Oda. You :*
    To name the first i could think of.

    • hvatthode said:

      Thank you! Cornelia! The list is twice as long already! I’ve never heard of Beate Grimsud before – just googled here, and will definetely check out her writings…!

  2. Ida frøken Rosa said:

    laskarina bouboulina, hanna arendt, frida kahlo, bartolina sisa & coco chanel!

    • hvatthode said:

      Ahhh…..Coco! And the russian-sounding names sound very interesting. Will check them out!

  3. Samuel Harman said:

    Judie Sill, Joan Didion, Fran Liebowitz, Annie Liebowitz, Astrud Gilberto, Alice Coltrane, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Annebert Yoors … and it is really endless, this guy sounds very sad and I feel sorry for his girlfriend

    • hvatthode said:

      Wow! Nice ones! And many!
      Thanks for adding to the endless list, Sam 🙂

  4. Louise Toftdal said:

    Billie Holiday – for putting all her haunted soul into her singing…. still gives me the shivers, so many years later……. Simone De Beavouir for the capacity af her mind, and courage to choose a different lifestyle than other women at her time……………. Georgia O’keefe (is’nt spelled right, I guess), for her very sensual “flower” paintings…. which all together looks more like genitals!!

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