Captain Kirk, get out of that chair.

“I looked to my girl,” Jude Kelly says in her ted talk ‘Why women should tell the stories of humanity’, “and she was crying because she couldn’t save ET.”

And then I started thinking back to my own childhood. Because even as a kid, I could not remember not saving ET. In my mind I still thought I was the one saving ET. Not the little boy. Not little Elliot or Henry Thomas. Not Steven Spielberg. But me. Me, as a girl. I was the kid on the bike with the alien in my basket. I ‘ET Phone’d Home’ all day after watching it.

No matter what movie I watched as a kid. Star Trek, male captain, no problem, I just pictured myself in that seat. Yes I was a 10 year old captain. Youngest of her time. Star Wars. Luke who? You mean Julia the Jedi? The secret daughter of Anakin Skywalker? Matt Damon as Spirit? Please. I spent about five years of my childhood believing I was a stallion until somebody told me that a stallion was a male horse, at which point, I became just a horse. And after that I was Indiana Jones. Simba. Petra Pan. I’d plan out traps in case my parents left me home alone. Because in my eyes, they weren’t men, they were characters. Actors taking on the role. And if they could, I could too.

For me, growing up amongst male heroes and male figures, I was OK with female representation being reserved to Disney princesses because my favourites were Mulan and Kida. I didn’t think much about Cinderella or Belle or the pink dresses or the fairies. I was Kiki the little witch, Dorothy lost on the yellow brick road. My female heroes were exactly that: heroes, and idols, and characters I could look up to.

I never saw myself as underrepresented until I was in my later teens. After reading book after book written by men, watching movie after movie featuring main male characters, one after the other, great movies directed by men and written by men and amazing soundtracks, again, made by men, that I started questioning where were all the women?

What this blogpost actually wanted to address was the fact that I, even as a little girl, saw my self in the men’s roles and positions. Not as the male characters, but as myself, a girl, and that there are girls out there right now who can’t see themselves in those positions or as those characters off saving the world.

And I ask myself why? Why can’t they? Why can’t Jude Kelly’s little daughter Caroline see her self saving ET? Are they brought up with families enforcing gender roles in a different way? Lack of imagination?

What makes some girls, no matter their age, let men get in the way of their imagination?

But no matter the answer, Jude Kelly argues for one thing that is true: women should tell the stories too!