Reducing a woman to nothing more than romance is to say that that is all she is worth. It is to say that women are shallow, with little interest in things outside the realm of pleasing men, and it is also to reinforce the idea that women are defined by the relationships they are able to secure. To make a woman’s story little more than a love story is to tell little girls that they are valuable only when they can capture a man; a dangerous precedent to set in a world of social media and internet predators.
E.B. Johnson, NLP-MP
This the fundamental and extremely distressing issue I have with “Circling the Sun,” which diminishes the extraordinary Beryl Markham to a romantic fuckup. She was a supremely extraordinary horsewoman in colonial Kenya who beat men at the track with lesser horses in her teens when women were not given the right to train and race. The first African female bush pilot. The first pilot of any gender to fly from east to west across the Atlantic AGAINST THE WIND. Lindy didn’t do that. She was a force of nature. That book reduced her to a breast-beating caricature of a woman obsessed with a limp-wristed asshole of a colonial aristocrat, given gravitas he didn’t deserve by Robert Redford in Out of Africa. . She wrote two novels as well.
To your excellent point:
Why is this important? Because by reading HER autobiography and the true stories of her life, she motivated me as well. I am also a pilot, an international horse back rider and have written two prize winning books. That’s the bare minimum. Like Markham I have made lousy choices in men. But that by god in no way shape or form is the story of my extraordinary life.
Thanks for your piece. Great points.