We can't ignore the trailblazing women who have influenced American culture and left a lasting impression on the world. These women have charmed their way into the hearts and thoughts of many, whether as brilliant entertainers or daring advocates. Let's toast the 15 most adored female figures in American culture, inspired by a discussion on an online community.
1. Dolly Parton
Who better to start this list than our dear Dolly? Parton is an undeniable grace. We don't call her the American sweetheart for nothing. She is a great philanthropist with a heart for her cause and the cause of humanity and justice. As a contributor says, we can't agree less that Parton is “our patron saint.”
2. Harriet Tubman
When women were forbidden from holding guns, let alone going to war, Harriet Tubman picked up a gun and decided to sail the deepest waters to rescue her people. She is known as the first woman to lead the raid at Combahee Ferry, which freed over 700 enslaved people which made her the first woman to command an armed expedition in the war.
3. Judy Garland
Our Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz, who went viral overnight for that single role, Judy Garland, broke records in the theatre and musical spaces. For one, she was the first woman to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for her live recording, Judy at Carnegie Hall, released in 1961. Besides that, she was active in her role as a moral supporter for several causes that sought to serve humanity.
4. Louisa May Alcott
Although, in her era, there was zero to no opportunity for authors to have their works published in publication houses, Louisa May Alcott did not back down on her dreams. She held high the fight for feminism and abolitionism to the point of her death — it's no wonder she's been immortalized.
5. Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks was an activist in the civil rights movement until the end of her life. The United States Congress has conferred on her the titles of “First Lady of Civil Rights” and “Mother of the Freedom Movement.” After the infamous bus scene, she motivated the Black community to boycott the Montgomery buses and many marginalized communities to stand up for their rights.
6. Aretha Franklin
Who says a woman can't do more? The Queen of Soul is being honored with many accolades, even years after her death, for instance, being named the greatest singer of all time by Rolling Stone. But Aretha Franklin was more than a singer. She was deeply involved in the struggle for civil rights and women's rights from childhood to death. She was also a firm supporter of Native American rights and fought for all these causes.
7. Eleanor Roosevelt
It's hard to go through what Roosevelt — the longest-serving First Lady of the United States — went through and still have a heart for the people. Till the end, she fought and spoke up against human rights injustice, particularly in African-Americans' civil rights.
8. Dorothy Dix
While Dorothy Dix, her pen name, became the name for which she was widely known, her real name was Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer. She succeeded as America's highest-paid and most widely read female journalist during her lifetime. Her notes on feminism are as motivating as her fierce spirit.
9. Carrie Nation
“Radical” is the word to describe her membership in the temperance movement, which was a social movement that encouraged moderation or complete abstinence from alcohol intake. Besides that, she was often seen admonishing women to avoid wearing certain clothing, as it harmed their vital organs — go figure.
10. Sally Ride
Where can passion and zeal not take a person? Sally Ride is an example of those women who disregarded society's limitations on how far a woman could dream, being the first American woman to have flown in space. She is proof that with the right amount of hard work and perseverance, dreams can come true, irrespective of gender boundaries.
11. Susan B. Anthony
The iconic Susan B. Anthony, who died in 1906, was known as an American social reformer, women's rights advocate, and a key figure in the women's suffrage movement. History shows that Anthony was arrested for violating the act prohibiting women from voting in her hometown. After this incident, she fought for women to have equal rights to vote, just as their male counterparts do.
12. Margaret Hamilton
Margaret Hamilton, born Margaret Elaine Hamilton, is truly a living legend. Who can deny her profound impact on the tech and computer space today? She is a computer scientist, systems engineer, and business owner. You've probably heard a lot about software engineering, but have you ever wondered how the term came to be? Well, Hamilton coined the term.
13. Abigail Adams
Adams was married to John Adams, a former President of the United States. One of the many things she's remembered today is the letters she wrote to her husband, who sought her advice on political and social matters. This goes a long way toward showcasing Adams' level of intellectualism. Adams held the belief that “family and religion were the essential props of social order and considered inequality a social necessity,” according to Lynne Withey.
14. Rachel Carson
The American marine biologist Rachel Carson made waves in the marine biology field. Her discovery of marine biology made her the first full-time nature writer in the 1950s. If there were such a thing as a “mother of marine biology,” Carson would take the crown.
15. Clara Barton
Clara Barton is the nurse who founded the American Red Cross. Her input in the American Civil War can never be forgotten or denied. Besides being a nurse, she was also a teacher and parent clerk. And guess what? She never enrolled in or went through any nursing school. In 1973, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame, and she is known for her humanitarian work and civil rights advocacy.