Imagine a little girl in the Bronx, circa 1957. Who does she look up to? Who is her first role model?
For me, it was a fictional character by the name of Lois Lane. In the TV series Superman, and the comics I loved to read once I could read, Lois was a young female reporter who worked alongside her male counterparts and did the same job. Dressed in a skirt and heels, she would end up in some dangerous situation, and would have to be rescued by Superman. Mild-mannered Clark Kent, who worked alongside of Lois and would disappear just as Lois needed saving, had nothing to do with Superman, of course.
Somehow, Lois never figured out the connection.
But I didn't see the "Lois needing saving" part. I saw the strong career woman instead, the one who faced down her enemies and got the story. The one who did her job.
Noel Neill, the actress who played Lois Lane in that TV series, was my first role model. And, although her Lois Lane didn't cause me to go into journalism as a career, she influenced many other young women who grew up in the same era I did.
Ms. Lane taught me that I was an equal to any man, in an era that had "help wanted male" and "help wanted female" ads in the paper, and encouraged women to engage in one career and one career only.
Lois Lane, in a number of movie serials and later, in that TV series that was first broadcast in the late 1950's and later rerun many times thereafter, was played by an actress Noel Neill.
She even briefly appeared in a 2006 Superman movie.
Ms. Neill died yesterday at the age of 95.
Lois, and Ms. Neill, please know that the young girl in the Bronx school playground grew up and became a blogger who loves to write. You helped that happen.