I have a girl-crush on Lara Logan. I have for ages.
Growing up, it never occurred to me that I might ever be limited by my gender. I was a Title IX girl, raised by a mother and father who were the type of people who firmly believed in such things, and I don’t ever remember being told that one thing was more or less appropriate than another because I was a girl. Both my parents pushed themselves physically and intellectually, and my sister and I were encouraged to do the same. I’m not sure if what was expected of us would have been any different had we been boys.
Believing there was nothing a girl could not grow up and become, in my teens I narrowed my options to pursuing: A) The life of a globe-trotting, beautiful, impoverished and yet wickedly chic artist going city-to-city, lover to lover, leaving brilliant artwork and broken hearts in my wake when the spirit moved me to move on with no apologies or excuses. OR, B) The life of a globe-trotting, gritty and yet impossibly feminine hard news reporter, going war zone to war zone, lover to lover, traveling light, throwing back whiskey with the boys, leaving broken hearts and a reputation for top-notch journalism behind me when I left without warning to pursue my next story.
This all seemed so very reasonable, and yet at every turn my gender pushed me towards the path I walk today. Just because options are available for women doesn’t mean it’s easy, or even in our nature, to pursue them.
And that’s why I admire Lara Logan so: She’s doing what the reckless, badass, fearless side of me boldly imagined it would be doing if I were so much less me.
Since the first time I saw Lara Logan interviewed by Jon Stewart –me, sitting surrounded by the accoutrements of my very gender-based choices– I’ve thought she was impossibly cool. When I see a picture of Lara Logan pop up in a news feed, I almost always stop and read up on what she’s doing, mentally cheering on a woman who makes living a fearless life look easy; who has used her brains, kept her femininity, and set her own limits. I’m sure her success hasn’t been as easy as she makes it look.
The news of her attack has stuck with me in a way that other, similar stories have not. I don’t want to believe that men–men who went home to their wives and mothers and daughters after sexually assaulting Lara Logan–could visit such violence upon someone simply because they can, because their victim was a woman. No woman should have to suffer such brutality, but I don’t want this to have happened to her in a way that’s a bit different from the way I wouldn’t wish this type of horrific attack on any girl or woman.
In a public square with her news team, doing her job, she paid a price for her success no male reporters did, and I didn’t want to believe that a barbaric sexual assault could be one of the hurdles of success she’d have to jump. Sure, bad things happen, but she’s Lara-F***ing-Logan, living my young woman’s Title IX dream life, and my dream of being a gritty, sexy, hard news reporter did not include “and maybe getting gang raped while doing your job” in its description.
The grown-up part of me empathetically wants to cry when I think of any woman having to suffer in the way she must be suffering, but another part of me feels differently. The idealistic part of me left over from childhood–the part that my parents nurtured to believe girls can do anything, and women only have the limits they take upon themselves– that part is really pissed off because….well, girls can do anything boys can do, damn it.
Put both those parts together, though, and I’m rooting for Lara Logan more than ever. She’s Lara F***ing Logan, and she’s just cool. I hope she shows the world that she will continue living her life on her own terms, because yes, girls can do anything.