My Role Models: Ms. Beatrix Potter

Now Ms. Potter was not just a writer of sweet children’s literature, but also a respected female scientist. Her paper on germination of spores was presented by her uncle in Linnea Society that later apologized of her treatment. Still most people don’t know about this side of hers. At the same time she draw pictures of funny animals wearing pastel clothes and there is no inclination that she took it any less seriously.

Ms. Potter was not afraid in a need to be taken seriously of expressing her imagination, which I also wish to be true of me. I’ve often has felt that I have to hide my creativity to be taken seriously. Alongside whit  my intelligence there is also the creative side of me that I’ve been hiding a lot and have tried to use only in “serious” matters.

Now Ms. Potter was able to draw talking, dressed up, pastel coloured animals. At that time – and still today – there are not many things that would be considered by serious people more silly. Yet she was a serious scientist   –  a botanist, as well.

At the time, when scientist world was mainly closed of women, she studied mushrooms (fungi). She was first to propose the today well known fact that lichens were a symbiosis of fungi and algae. She was widely respected as an expert mycologist.

On the other hand her paper of spore germination was defended by her uncle, because women did not have access to scientific debates. The Royal Society also denied her a publication of at least one of her papers. Although all the male opposition she did not give up.

She did not marry to the convenience of her family regardless of all the pressure she got and she was ready to marry out of her class irrespective of all the opposition. She was also able to wait as long as it took to find a right kind of person to her, although this ment that she could not get children of her own I believe she would have wished for. For best part of her life she was in fact a spinster and married only at the older age. She was a strong and emotionally independent woman, I would wish to be. Yet she was a lady.

Although she was played in the film by rather strikingly beautiful Ms. Zellweger, in real life she looked rather plain. Yet she was not driven to despair in a society that valued female beauty almost as much as ours.


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