Badass Ape Ladies

I like the term badass. I use it frequently, but not lightly. There are a lot of good and interesting people in the world, but not everyone can be a true badass. There is some sort of unquantifiable, evolving formula for supreme badassery. It’s something special.

Curious as to how others define the designation, I turned to my much beloved Urban Dictionary. There, I was brutally disappointed, and actually pretty pissed off to tell the truth, in two out of the first three definitions.

Badass: (1) Ultra-cool motherfucker.

Okay, fair enough. I concur.

Badass: (2) The epitome of the American male. He radiates confidence in everything he does, whether it’s ordering a drink, buying a set of wheels, or dealing with women. He’s slow to anger, brutally efficient when fighting back.

Wait, what? Since when is badassery limited to men? Or Americans? Or boozing at a Corvette dealership while hitting on the saleswoman?

Badass: (3) The badass is an uncommon man of supreme style. He does what he wants, where he wants.

Again with the maleness! Was Ellen Ripley not a badass? What about Boudica? Or Marie freakin’ Curie? They sure did what they wanted to, and with style. I’m not going to sit here tallying up badasses of either gender, but I am going to say something about three of my favorites:

Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas were/are the groundbreaking, ultra-badass, pioneering ladies of primatology. These snugglers of countless chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, these conservationists, these lone-jungle-living, discovery-making, intrepid, stubborn, heroic women didn’t just follow their dreams, they chased them down and tackled the shit out of them, paving the way for so many women in science today. And what, I ask you, is more badass than that? Yeah, nothing.

So grab a cup of coffee or Kombucha and take a break for a minute to watch my latest SciShow script about Leakey’s Angels, and get inspired.


And if you still haven’t gotten enough, order the new graphic novel Primates by Jim Ottaviani, illustrated by Maris Wicks. I can’t wait to get my copy in the mail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *