Widgets Magazine

Brave, WAVE, and My Little Sophie

Originally from Wikipedia

My six year old daughter, Sophie, is the apple of my eye. She is incredibly sharp, beautiful, and has been the cause of one or two gray hairs on my head. The last few years we have made a habit of having time just the two of us where I get to embellish my artsy side, and she gets a date with dad. This past summer was one of those occasions as we went to see the latest Disney/Pixar movie, Brave. If you are unfamiliar with the storyline, it is set in Scotland during medieval times. The main character, Merida, is a princess but is also the heroine in the storyline. She is set to be betrothed to another kingdom’s prince when she decides to win her own hand. Don’t think too hard about that last statement, it will ruin the piece for you. By doing so, she has a typical teenager fight with her mother, says some regrettable words and turns her mom into a bear. A real bear. Claws and everything. In the end, Merida makes the right choices, fights for what she believes in, and proves to everyone, including herself, that she is a strong and capable woman.
About a year ago, as we were just getting our feet wet with AVNation, I was made aware of the Women in AV. WAVE is a group dedicated to promoting and mentoring women in the AV industry. Not a small task and very laudable. Women’s issues in general have always been a passion of mine, even more so with a daughter to help raise and shepherd through the world. Jennifer Willard and I began to talk about possibly collaborating on the one thing I know how to do, make podcasts. It took some time for our schedules to mesh, but once they did, it was a great project to work on. WAVE began by interviewing the three female members of the InfoComm board. In addition, Jennifer has talked with female editors-in-chief, programmers, and the young up-and-coming women in our industry. Women in AV is essential to this industry as we try to grow and mature. Not because we need to make sure there are “openings” in the industry, but to make certain that smart, talented women interested in the STEM disciplines choose our industry to conquer.
The science, technology, engineering, and medical (STEM) areas have traditionally been the realm of men. Over the last few decades, women have made great strides in these areas, proving they are just as smart as the “boys” in these fields. What WAVE allows us as an industry to do, is court these women, for lack of a better term, and convince them that not only can you exercise your STEM brain, but you can do so for the most exciting and engaging industry in the world. Before these STEM women become WAVEs they have to become the technologists that we need, and that will require the confidence to do so. Which leads me back to Brave.
Merida is not some Pollyanna princess waiting to be rescued. Get the idea of Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Snow White, or Fiona out of your head. Merida is the hero of the story, and should be the hero of girls everywhere. To boost Disney’s profits? No. In a culture where media is the filter through which we all see what is normal, accepted and possible, Merida is an example to little girls that they can be the hero; they can claim their own destiny. We need more movies like Brave and more characters like Merida so girls like my Sophie can see in media what their parents are hopefully instilling in them already; that they can accomplish anything they set their heart to. More than some damsel in distress, these girls will grow into the self-rescuing princesses that the world needs more of. In doing so, they have the potential to rejuvenate this industry with unique insights, energy, and expertise. Just look at what the WAVE group has done in just one year. I can’t wait to see what year two has to offer. And when she is old enough to ask what daddy does for a living, I can show her and say, with confidence, that this industry welcomes her and her friends with open arms.

About Author

Tim Albright is the founder of AVNation and is the driving force behind the AVNation network. He carries the InfoComm CTS, a B.S. from Greenville College and is pursuing an M.S. in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. When not steering the AVNation ship, Tim has spent his career designing systems for churches both large and small, Fortune 500 companies, and education facilities.

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