I Hear Ya, Susan!
When I was a kid, show creators, Sid and Marty Krofft made a bunch of memorable TV shows for children, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, The Bugaloos, H.R. PuffnStuf and one of my favorites, Wonderbug.
Wonderbug was about a magical car and three best friends, Barry, C.C. and Susan. One of the recurring comedic bits in the show was that whenever Susan had a great idea, one of the guys would interrupt her and say, Hey wait a minute! I have a great idea! And then the guy would proceed to say the exact same thing that Susan had just said and take full credit for the idea. Then the two guys would take off, leaving Susan behind to mumble to herself, Why do I even bother?
My six year old self would scream at the television, That was Susan’s idea! Can't you hear her?!
I kept watching Wonderbug hoping that Susan would finally get the credit that she so rightfully deserved. I can’t remember if that ever happened. I do remember that in my own life, with my two brothers and with other boys in the world, when I wasn’t being heard I thought to myself, This is just like what happens to Susan! The show was a training ground I suppose, a glimpse at what the world looked like at the time for an outspoken girl.
As I got older, I remember sharing my grand ideas about the world to the men in my life. Some absolutely cared about the things I had to say, but before I met them, there were a whole slew of men who would watch my mouth move when I spoke like they were appreciating an amusing mouth performance, void of sound. Sometimes I felt like I could read their thoughts, Keep talking, you feisty, adorable thing, if I find something useable, i’ll take it and promptly forget where I heard it first. You know, like what happens to Susan. That six year old inside of me started screaming again, Can't you hear me?!
Several years ago when I first read about the Hollywood movie star, Hedy Lamarr’s frequency hopping invention that led to the technology we now use for Wi-Fi and bluetooth, I started asking people around me if they knew about this. Most of the older men I asked immediately commented on how beautiful Hedy Lamarr was. True, she was. Don’t get me wrong, beauty is a beautiful thing. I’m a fan! I appreciate the beauty in nature, animals, emotions and even humans, but I was asking about something else. Did they know about this other thing? I’m happy that a documentary was made about Hedy's life, Bombshell, directed by Alexandra Dean (find it on Netflix!) Now more people will know about Hedy’s beautiful brain, as well as her beautiful face.
I’m hopeful that these past oversights are distant memories of how things once were for women. An embarrassing history lesson from a time when respect and attention were easily given to men, but not so much for women. A time when what a woman looked like was always far more interesting than what she had to say. A time when women weren’t compensated as much as men for the same amount of work.
Oh, that crazy past of ours!
Anyway, it all got me thinking about the amazing women that came before us and what their beautiful brains were up to.
In my upcoming art installation, Pardon Me While I Blaze Some Trails, I showcase ten, diverse, trailblazing women, visually revealing aspects of their story that go beyond their exteriors. I aim to honor them through art and keep the spotlight squarely centered on these women’s voices, through this woman’s voice.
It’s time to listen.
Do it for Susan.
You can learn more about my project in this video I made:
And you can help support it here: Pardon Me While I Blaze Some Trails.
Thanks for reading! I love you and all of your beautiful brains!