On average, women have 13 negative thoughts about their bodies, daily. And 25 percent of young American women would rather win America’s Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. The kicker: this university study showed that nearly half of three- to six-year-olds surveyed were worried about being fat.
Some factors contributing to these perspectives and priorities are clear. For decades, our culture has touted female "perfection," using unattainable beauty standards to sell us products and clothes.
But today a torrent of celebrities and civilians are providing a counterpoint to perfectionist propaganda — to give the next generation permission to be who they are. Women like Mindy Kaling, Amy Schumer, and Melissa McCarthy are being honest about their body image struggles. Viable female candidates are being considered for the U.S. presidency. With issues like equal pay, consent, and birth control still in flux, it's clear we've got a long way to go. But positive change is tangible. Now, to value a woman as an equal — for what she has to say, rather than simply how she looks — is the rule more than the exception.
These major strides didn't just happen. It wasn't just "time." Change has been fomented for centuries by women who refused to submit to the status quo. So, here are 14 badass chicks — from a Renaissance painter to a paralympian — who wouldn't accept that femininity implies feebleness, that being different is a disadvantage, or that success is a product of sameness. I, for one, owe them quite a lot.