Independence Day: What it Means to Be an American Woman

Photo by: Dani Skoog
"For me, this is what America is: it is a land where I can do anything I want, despite being female. I can fight. I joined the army in 2004, and also have participated in martial ... more 
Photo by: Dani Skoog
"For me, this is what America is: it is a land where I can do anything I want, despite being female. I can fight. I joined the army in 2004, and also have participated in martial arts since college. I can protect my country and the people I love, even from elephants. But in addition to fighting and taking on traditional male roles, I can take on traditional female roles such as teacher, artist, or baker at the same time. There is no one prescribing my role like in so many other countries. This is something that so many women before me have fought to ensure, and it is what makes our country great and strong today." -- Dani Skoog less 
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Fri, Jun 28, 2013 5:48 PM EDT
Whether women choose to be a nurse or a truck driver, or decide to "lean-in" or be a mom, we are afforded the freedom of choice. This Independence Day, while fireworks are blasting, the smell of barbecued chicken wafts in the air, and children are dressed in red, white, and blue, we remember the women who have fought for our rights. In honor of the Fourth of July, we asked Shine readers to reflect on what it means to be an American woman today. Tell us, what does it mean to you to be an American? -- Ali Swank