I was young, cowboys and Indians fascinated me. We had 4 channels pm our black and white t.v. that showed movies about the old west. My first Woman role model was Anne Oakley a sharp shooter on the road in the late 1800’s. It is very exciting to me that she is still a great role model after all these years.
For some time now it has troubled me that we women think they can be just like men which is impossible. Men are stronger and think totally different than women. Why would anyone want to deny being a woman? How could a profession and power be that important? Women’s lib says we can do anything the same as a man. Well that is a lie. I feel that they are trying to get respect the easy way by intimidation. I believe that Anne Oakley (Phoebe Ann Mozee) was able to be a liberated woman in the late 1800’s. Anne Oakley was top shooter in the Buffalo Bill Wild show. She was a capable marksman, better than the men, with a career showing off her ability. The men in her life respected her and accepted her shooting ability. She did not dress or act like a man and never lost her femininity. She did not have children however, her nieces and nephews had all her love.
Anne Oakley is remembered as one of the leading women of the American West. Her father and her stepfather died when she was a child, and she went to live at the Dark County Infirmary, where she received schooling and sewing instruction while helping in the care of the orphaned children. She returned to living with her mother and her second stepfather in her early teens, when she was able to help the family by hunting game for a grocery store. She earned so much from her skills that by the time she was 15, she was able to pay off the mortgage on her mother’s home. A young woman so skilled she independently helped her family. What a testament to true womanhood. A helpmate who supports to the best of her ability her family.
Frank E. Butler a top vaudeville performer and top shooter, Anne Oakley beat him in 1875 at a Thanksgiving Shooting competition. They Married the following year. They were married 50 years. After Frank’s partner became ill in 1882 Anne Oakley took the partners place in the show. How amazing is it that she was even considered to take his place at that time in history. She must have been a competent woman. Not a threatening domineering person. This is why I admire so much. She allowed men to be men and she was not threatened by them. However continued to be the best at her skill. For 15 years they traveled with the Wild Bills Wild West Show. Anne Oakley was the star of the show and her husband worked as her manager. She amazed the audiences by shooting off the end of a cigarette in her husbands mouth. She also shot things by looking into a mirror and shoot wholes through cards. She entertained Queen Victoria and Shot a cigarette out of Kiaser Wilhelm’s mouth. We are now seeing the courageous accomplishments of a liberated woman. A woman that never acted and dressed like a man but was equal and was true helpmate.
Anne and Butler were in a railroad accident in 1901, even though she was partially paralyzed, she recovered and continued to work on stage in The Western Girl and also a Buffalo Show. She shared money that she made with her extended family and giving donations to charities for orphans. During World War 1, Oakley volunteered to organized a regiment of female sharpshooters, but her petition was ignored so, instead, she helped raise money for the Red Cross with exhibition work at army camps. She was a generous giving woman, who cared about her family, and community. Never forgetting to share her knowledge with other women to improve us all.
Anne Oakley’s legacy was captured in the Irving Berlin‘s musical Annie Get Your Gun in 1946, based on her life story, with Ethel Merman and later Broadway incarnations staring Reba McEntire and Bernadette Peters. In 1935 another film which was historically inaccurate called Annie Oakey. Finally in 1950 a film was made Annie Get Your Gun staring Betty Hutton. Many books for kid and adults as well.
My life was impacted by a strong competent woman that Men admired. Woman do not need to change their feminine and nurturing and become more like men. We need to do what we do best and change the world with who we are meant to be.