The Brilliant Mind of Hedy Lamarr
"I can excuse everything but boredom. Boring people don't have to stay that way." -- Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr is often remembered as a beautiful actress from the 1930s to the 1950s who became the first actor to depict an onscreen orgasm--a scandalous piece for 1933. Her appearance is rumored to be the inspiration for Snow White and Catwoman, yet her most groundbreaking contributions to society went largely unnoticed for nearly 50 years.
On top of being a glamorous Hollywood starlet, Hedy Lamarr had an exceptionally brilliant mind. In 1942, Hedy patented her new technology called frequency hopping, a communications tactic designed to prevent enemies from intercepting Allied torpedoes during World War II. Hedy's technology laid the foundation for GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth, yet when she took her patent to the U.S. military, she was laughed at, written off as a starlet who should focus on using her beauty rather than her brains.
Though the military did implement Hedy's technology shortly after WWII, drastically changing communications as we know it, she had donated her patent to the U.S. military, essentially stripping her of any royalties or even recognition for decades. It wasn't until Hedy was in her late nineties that the U.S. military gave her any sort of public recognition for her achievements.
For almost her entire life, Hedy Lamarr was recognized as the most beautiful actress of her time, an honor that unfortunately overshadowed the groundbreaking technology she invented. Today, Hedy is beginning to get the recognition she truly deserves for her most impressive accomplishments. Later this year, a movie called "Bombshell" will be released, paying tribute to the real Hedy, not just the pretty face history tried so hard to reduce her to.
So why does it matter that Hedy is remembered for all of her accomplishments? Because it's important that society recognizes beautiful women as more than just their outward appearance. Was Hedy beautiful? Absolutely. But she was continuously pigeon-holed by her appearance, preventing her from experiencing a multifaceted career and from receiving credit for her breakthrough technology. The erasure of her accomplishments from history until just recently also perpetuates the stereotype that attractive women are dumb.
Here's to Hedy Lamarr-- brilliant inventor and today's #Shero. And thanks for laying the foundation for us to tag each other in memes all day!