Watching “The Revenant,” I was struck by the stunning cinematography, and reminded of how much I missed the Alaskan wilderness, at least aspects of it–the scene in which Hugh Glass is repeatedly mauled by a bear made me thankful to be experiencing it second hand from the comfort of my movie seat. I was impressed with Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of the legendary mountain man and surprised myself by finding DiCaprio at his most attractive as he crawled inside a horse’s carcass to stay warm. But still I couldn’t help but wonder, Where is our female Hugh Glass? Legendary women have always existed, but if Hollywood has a minority issue, it also has a female heroine issue.
I want a movie about a woman who can brave a bear attack, eat raw bison liver, and find her way across the wilderness. How about a film dedicated to Fanny Bullock Workman, an explorer, cartographer, writer, and mountaineer? Or, what about Sacagawea? How far would Lewis and Clark have gone without her? How about Aliy Zirkle, currently running fifth in the Iditarod? Largely considered a male event, the Iditarod would lose roughly one-third of its competitors if it weren’t for female mushers.
In honor of Women’s History Month, I’d like to celebrate what the movies have not — women in the wild. Woods women like Edna Korth who has lived in the middle of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for more than 30 years. Female mountaineers like Melissa Arnot who has summited Everest five times. Adventurers and explorers like Kira Salak who at the age of 24 became the first woman to backpack across New Guinea.
Hugh Glass might have been a tough mountain man, but these modern day women would give him a run for his money.