Celebrating our own women of Character, Courage and Commitment

By From page A10 | March 09, 2014

It’s National Women’s History Month, and I must say, Winters is having a great showing for the theme, “Women of Character, Courage & Commitment.”

On Thursday, Winters Mayor Cecilia Aguiar-Curry was amongst the honorees at the Yolo County Women’s History Month luncheon. Noted for her loyal and relentless service to the Winters community, Cecilia chose to use her time at the podium to honor the people in her life who’ve supported and encouraged her, in particular, her father and her best friend. Despite all she’s done for Winters by sheer determination and boundless energy, she wanted pass the honor to those who’ve cheered her on.

(Note to Cecilia: We’ll work on that.)

Another Winters (well, former Winters) name in the news is Rina Younan, now of Woodland, who beat the competition in “Cutthroat Kitchen,” which aired on the Food Network on March 2. This follows on the heels of her “Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell” victory last fall. I knew Rina (Ashurina, back then) when she was literally the little girl next door. Frankly, she drove me nuts. Rina was no shrinking violet. If she was in the room, you knew she was in the room. And if she wanted something and was told “no,” she just want it a little louder, and a little louder, until she’d wear down her opponent (even if that was one of her parents). I hereby dub Rina: She Who Will Not Be Ignored.

While Rina’s tenacity was exasperating years ago, it’s exactly what propelled her to victory. The takeaway is this: If you know what you want, pursue it and pursue it, and don’t let anyone shush you. As the saying goes, “Well-behaved women never make history.” Nor do they land spots on television shows. Watch out, Emeril. Chef Rina’s on your heels.

Yet more Winters women making the news during Women’s History Month: the Winters High School girls soccer team, the first girls soccer team in WHS history to snag the Northern Section Division II championship. These young athletes are rock stars, in particular, Sofia Evanoff, a lightning-swift 6-foot-tall golden gazelle of a girl, with a national ranking in track. Baby, remember her name. We’ll be cheering for her in the Olympics someday.

While I’m proud of the team’s accomplishment, there’s one little issue that gets me growling: the moniker “Lady Warriors.” I bristle every time I see it, and years ago, I used to edit the “Lady” out of all the sports stories. Female students are Warriors, same as the boys. We don’t call boys Americans and girls Lady Americans. We’re all Americans. The same goes for sports.


However, a sports editor (a female, mind you!) a few years back insisted that the girls like the “Lady Warrior” moniker and wanted to be called that. OK, fine. If they don’t have a problem with it, and don’t find it belittling and insulting, than it’s none of my business. I’ll print it the way they want. But I reserve the right to growl every time I see it.

And then came this post on the Express Facebook page this week, in the comments section under the photo of the soccer champs: “These are strong young women and after spending so much time with them, they are far from ladylike. We say boys or girls teams, not gentlemen and ladies. How about we call the championship football team the ‘Gentlemen Warriors’?

“They aren’t going to tea parties …We need to celebrate strong athletes for their accomplishments. These girls are simply Warriors.”

Holy mazoly! Be still, my feminist heart! I wanted to jump up and down in my chair and holler to the heavens! That’s exactly what I used to say until I was told to shrug and get over it, because everything’s not about me.

(Note: Everything should be about me.)

That Facebook comment was my green light to resurrect this irksome issue.

Winters High School female athletes: I beseech you — drop the “Lady.” And not just soccer, but all sports. You aren’t ladies. You aren’t frilly, silly little girls prancing around in pinafores. You are strong, serious athletes. You are Warriors. Look at the swim and track teams — they are all Warriors, male and female alike. There are no Lady Warriors in the pool or on the track, nor should there be on the field or on the court.

A “lady” is demure, polite, weak, shy, quiet, helpless, well-behaved at all times and, most important of all, deferential and obedient to intrinsically stronger, more talented and more intelligent males. What sort of warmed-over, medieval backwards B.S. is this? Ladies are for the Royal court, not the basketball or volleyball court. This “lady” stuff is so five eras ago. It’s demeaning. It’s embarrassing. And, you deserve better.

My wonderful chiropractor, Rich Naval, who specializes in sports chiropractic, has a poster on his office wall that gives me chills. From behind an outstretched hand holding a volleyball, a young woman stares you down like a tiger. On the poster, it says, “You run like a girl. You hit like a girl. You throw like a girl. You serve 60 mph in their face LIKE A GIRL.”

And, might I emphasize, not like a lady.

So. It’s National Women’s History Month. Hats off to Winters’ first female mayor, first TV star and first champion soccer players. You are all women of Courage, Character and Commitment. May you be inspirations to girls everywhere. And, girls, take note: Us older gals have carried the baton this far. It’s your turn to grab it and run. Like Cecilia, gather people around you who encourage and support you, and weed out the ones who don’t. Like Rina, do not be ignored, and never take “no” for an answer. And like our champion Warriors, you must run faster and kick harder than those who would thwart you. You must be the champion of your own life.

— Email Debra DeAngelo at [email protected]; read more of her work at www.wintersexpress.com and www.ipinionsyndicate.com

Debra DeAngelo

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