Emily Gagne
Updated June 12, 2015
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“Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth.”

If you don’t recognize this quote, let me introduce you to the amazing, sadly fictional woman behind it: my role model in work, style and life in general, Dr. Ellie Sattler. You know, the coolest paleobotonist ever created from Old Lady Movie Night fave and general life ruiner Jurassic Park?

While I can’t comment on Claire, the female protagonist played by Bryce Dallas-Howard in Jurassic World, just yet, I can say I have always felt a kinship with not-at-all-dumb blonde Ellie and have since even before our hair (and glasses) tastes lined right up. This so-called “clever girl” might be the only actual human woman in the first Jurassic flick (hey, Lex was still a girl, okay?), but she is truly a perfect specimen, proving that female characters don’t have to be damsels in distress while a host of equally strong or informed men looks after the hard stuff. (FYI: The forced damsel of the orig JP? Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm. And forced mother figure? Dr. Alan Grant, albeit begrudgingly. How brilliant is that?)

She doesn’t put up with sexist dudes

You know that quote I mentioned above? That’s Ellie’s response to this know-it-all observation from Ian: “God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.”

Oh, and then there’s this excellent exchange between her and Jurassic Park founder John Hammond as she attempts to take action and get the power up and running again.

I don’t know about you, but I think back to Ellie any and every time I’m faced with a totally prehistoric and gendered comment like the ones above. I know I can’t stand by and let us ladies get trampled by patriarchy like so many innocent victims get trampled by a T-Rex, whether theoretically (see: Ian) or literally (see: John), and as Ellie proves, I can fight for my rights as a woman through some very calculated and cutting responses that show I’m bigger and better than the person making them might expect.

She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. Really, really dirty

Yes, it’s hard not to respect Ellie’s one-time partner in dino discovery and love, Alan, as you watch him do his thing in JP and JP III, but Ellie is really the one who gets her hands dirty in the name of work. Case in point: when she literally gets her hands dirty (read: covered in poop!) to try and find out what’s wrong with a sick triceratops (spoiler alert: this lady’s been eating poisonous plants that the clearly unqualified Jurassic Park staff placed near her habitat).

That moment, as gross as it might seem to non paleobotonists, is a true shining moment for Ellie and passionate worker girls everywhere. Sure, I don’t actually fiddle around with feces as a journalist, but I do to put myself in uncomfortable-for-most-people situations in the name of my work. Whenever I’m unsure of whether to take on a new and scary assignment, I just think of Ellie and dive in, hands first.

She owns her look