Amelia Earhart: “I do it because I want to.”

Amelia Earhart“Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off! But if you don’t have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.” Amelia Earhart

She also commented, “Flying may not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.” … “I lay no claim to advancing scientific data other than advancing flying knowledge. I can only say that I do it because I want to.”

Developing multiple talents

In addition to flying, Earhart published books, wrote newspaper articles, promoted her own lines of luggage and fashion, and became an advisor at Purdue University.

In her review of the movie “Amelia” directed by Mira Nair and starring Hilary Swank, Rachel Abramowitz notes Earhart became “the first woman and second person to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932. In 1935, she was the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California and from Los Angeles to Mexico.

“She founded the Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots, and barnstormed the country giving lectures about aviation and exhorting women to break out of their “platitudinous sphere.” In 1935 alone, she gave 136 lectures, reaching about 80,000 people, says Susan Butler, whose Earhart biography was a source for the film.” [East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart.]

“What struck me about Amelia was not simply her daring and recklessness and her courage, but the connection between her recklessness and her open vision of what a woman should be interested in doing,” said “Rain Man” writer Ron Bass, who wrote the screenplay with Anna Phelan Hamilton.

Hilary Swank thinks “Amelia epitomizes living your life the way you see it. She’s a great inspiration to a lot of people . . . certainly women. We get so caught up in living for other people, and all of a sudden, life’s passed us by. Our dreams are unfulfilled. Amelia reminds us to make no apologies for living your life the way you want.”

[From Making a private woman public for ‘Amelia’ – by Rachel Abramowitz, The Los Angeles Times October 24, 2009]

Roger Ebert noted in his movie review: “before she wed publisher George Putnam, she wrote him their marriage would have “dual controls,” and said neither one should feel bound to “a medieval code of faithfulness.” Maybe she was keeping a loophole for Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor), the founder of TWA and father of Gore, who told his son he loved her but didn’t marry her “because I didn’t want to marry a boy.”

[Related page: Androgyny / gender]