The legend of an ordinary girl growing into an extraordinary woman who dared to attempt seemingly unattainable goals in a man’s world all began in 1897. Amelia Earhart, born on July 24, 1897, was a far more distinguished American aviator than esteemed aviators of her time. Earhart had very firm beliefs regarding feminism and inspired other women to begin to push for more equality between the two sexes. Moreover, as a national celebrity due to her exploits in the air, Earhart became the perfect heroine for the media-conscious age due to her modest demeanor and short, tousled hair. As Earhart gained fame, her aviation career made a significant impact in history, forever changing the future of the women in America. Through her record-breaking aviation, Earhart and her aviation career forever changed the world’s stereotypical view of women.
It is Earhart’s strong personality traits that led her to the career that would soon change the future of feminism forever. The growing love for speed, desire for adventure, and willingness to try out new things, by the encouragement of her mother, allowed Earhart to embrace a sense of experimentation. This sense of experimentation led Earhart to approach the experience of real flight – in an airplane. Moreover, due to her being a tomboy, Earhart acted like the boys at the time, such as becoming an aviator. She ignored the “standards” the world had set for females and set goals for herself and sought opportunities without taking into consideration for whether or not women traditionally had achieved them.
However, the actual idea of pioneering the career of an aviator emerged due to the influence of her surrounding environment. As a young adult, Earhart moved to Southern California, where aviation was popular. This was significant because Earhart became more interested in the aviation career once she was actually in a place where aviation was common. Nonetheless, the environment in Spadina Military Convalescent Hospital affected Earhart the most. As a volunteer for the nurse’s aid in Spadina Military Convalescent, Earhart listened “avidly to the stories told by military pilots who were convalescing at Spadina from their war injuries” (Ware 35). After becoming fascinated by the military pilots’ stories, Earhart’s love for flying awakened, making her more determined to fly than ever.
As her love for flying grew, Earhart’s accomplishments as an aviator enabled the world, especially the United States, to realize their stereotypical views on women. On January 3, 1921, Earhart’s first flying lessons began. Even though Earhart was not naturally good at flying, her determination began to pay off. She began breaking records, and people worldwide began to understand that their views on women were misguided stereotypes rather than facts. In 1928, Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean as a passenger, and in 1929 Earhart participated in the Women’s Air Derby, which served to increase public interest and confidence in women in aviation. Then, in 1932, Earhart became the first woman to fly solo transatlantic flight as an aviator. Later on, Earhart completed the first solo flight across the Pacific Ocean in 1935. Finally, Earhart tried to accomplish an around-the-world flight. Even though she failed to accomplish the around-the-world flight, the reputation she gained through all of her accomplishments spoke volumes. These accomplishments provided evidence that her liberal feminist message had gotten through loud and clear.
In addition, Earhart’s courageous and adventurous spirit caused many people to change their minds about women. Her adventurous spirit made Earhart break free from what was expected of females at the time, while her courage led her into capturing the world’s utmost attention. These qualities Earhart had played a significant role in changing the world’s view on women through her career, because “during a time when it was considered unfashionable for women to seek careers, she demonstrated through her own example that opportunities thought to have been reserved for men were available to women as well” (Randolph 221). Through her zest, boldness, and courage, Earhart inspired women to challenge themselves and seize their dreams. It was due to Earhart’s ambitious spirit that she managed to give a message of individual achievement that plays an important role in the survival of feminism in the post-suffrage era. Earhart conveys an aura that she belongs there, wherever she went, boosting the other women’s confidence: if Earhart belongs there, then other women belong there as well.
Of course, not only the achievements in her career but the actions Earhart took involving her aviation career proved the commonly believed stereotypes of women wrong. First, her decision to fly instead of staying home impacted the world. She took on a male profession and was very successful in it. This disproved men’s beliefs that women had to stay home and proved to the world that women were capable of controlling their own lives.
In the end, through her aviation career, Earhart made a huge impact on the world. She inspired countless generations of people, including men, in the field of aviation. Even President Hoover, a very important and influential man, told Earhart, “You have demonstrated not only your own dauntless courage but also the capacity of women to match the skill of men in carrying through the most difficult feats of high adventure” (Ware 59). As a man himself, President Hoover could have looked down upon Earhart, but he did not. Instead, he praised Earhart, telling her that her actions and achievements proved that other women were just as capable as men. This opinion of President Hoover, differing to those men still with their stereotypes of women, only emerged due to the evidence Earhart provided with her aviation career. There was no doubt left that women and men were equals.
Therefore, Earhart’s aviation career in general affected the world. She helped more women lead independent lives and careers, and inspired other women aviators to fly more, to fly faster, and to fly better through her accomplishments. Due to this, Earhart became “an excellent symbol of women’s emancipation in the post-suffrage era” (Ware 63). Earhart symbolized what could and can be achieved by a woman if she dares to recognize her full potential as a woman. This meant that Earhart had become a role model for everyone, especially young women, who were fighting hard for their equality against their male counterparts.
Nowadays, many people remember Earhart of her influence in strengthening feminism, as well as changing the world’s view of women. Earhart’s feminist message is still compelling and fresh today because it showed the world that there are no limits to what a woman can accomplish if given the change. Due to Earhart’s contribution in changing the world’s opinion on women, women and men became equal and received equal opportunities. As the world began to pay close attention to Earhart’s career, her “widely distributed iconographic image served to challenge and potentially to subvert traditional notions of women’s subordination” (Ware 173). The large attention Earhart got made the world keep up with her accomplishments, as her aviation career slowly but surely began to change their perspective on women. Many of Earhart’s devotees “seemed to derive a real sense of inspiration from her example, and a spur to personal and political change” (Ware 200). With Earhart’s ever daring ways to prove that women and men are equal, the world began to reconsider their views on women and gender roles.
Earhart forever changed and reshaped the world’s perspective on women. By becoming an aviator and not a housewife, she showed the world that women were just as capable. Therefore, Earhart affected the world tremendously through her aviation career. She strengthened feminism and proved that women were capable of all the things only men were thought to be capable of. Through this, Earhart changed the world’s view of women; women can survive without depending on their male counterparts. In the end, she redefined women’s public image, social expectations, and cultural mandates. Also, through her aviation career and accomplishments as an aviator, Earhart taught the world, especially America, that gender did not matter.