Women & Power: A Manifesto

Women & Power: A Manifesto

At long last, Mary Beard addresses in one brave book the misogynists and trolls who mercilessly attack and demean women the world over, including, very often, Mary herself. In Women & Power, she traces the origins of this misogyny to its ancient roots, examining the pitfalls of gender and the ways that history has mistreated strong women since time immemorial. As far b...

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Title:Women & Power: A Manifesto
Author:Mary Beard
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Edition Language:English

Women & Power: A Manifesto Reviews

  • Ina Cawl

    It is a shame for women to be loud

    I don’t know who told me this this stupid wisdom and I don’t remember

    Maybe in my school or maybe in my house but nevertheless I feel guilty for believing it.

    Why some men or most of traditional men are scared of women talking loudly, what about women doest those feel irritated by it ?

    Lack of public speaking to group of people was curse that befell on women for most of time and still now that right to speak in public place ( usually men’s areas ) .

    For many centur

    It is a shame for women to be loud

    I don’t know who told me this this stupid wisdom and I don’t remember

    Maybe in my school or maybe in my house but nevertheless I feel guilty for believing it.

    Why some men or most of traditional men are scared of women talking loudly, what about women doest those feel irritated by it ?

    Lack of public speaking to group of people was curse that befell on women for most of time and still now that right to speak in public place ( usually men’s areas ) .

    For many centuries and centuries women in many countries and continents were usually forbidden or discouraged from speaking in public area to group of people.

    Mary Beard which is very important historian and Author of many historical book

    Has tried to understand why misogyny and men’s fear of women being in power came to being,and why this irrationally still haunts to this day.

    Since the author is a lot of experience in greek roman history and usually that is the historic origin for most of European traditions and norms.

    The book starts with Homer and if you read you remember this scene when

    «Telemachus intervenes: ‘Mother,’ he says, ‘go back up

    into your quarters, and take up your own work, the loom and the distaff … speech will be the business

    of men, all men, and of me most of all; for mine is the power in this household»

    There is some tragicomedy in this scene on how a young boy can order his mom like that and how can his mom allows him to order her like that

    This scene teaches us a lot about what is to be a man in that era

    Mostly being capable of speaking in public and simultaneously disempowerment and subjecting household women to men’s order.

    Miss trigg’s example

    What happens when women in a group of men tries to voice her opinion on the subject

    ( that’s excellent suggestion, miss triggs , perhaps one of the men here would like to make it.)

    Even after voicing her opinions what usually occurs after a few awkward silence is either dismiss it and the men continue from where they were talking or outright ignore her.

    The lucky women who survived the abomination of public speech were either the victims or martyrs .

    Even if women were allowed to speak in classical era they were usually allowed to speak for her own gender and nothing else

    Public speech and the choices women have

    Even if women were allowed to talk in front of many people there were not many subjects to talk about excepts women’s issues or family issues,I know this is important subjects to talk about but even so to minimise women role of defending only to this issues and relegating all other subject as men profession is hidden sexism that contaminates every society then and still now

    Modern internet troll and women speech

    Watching youtube and sometimes reading the comments down below the amount of hate speech directed toward is quite mind boggling and disturbing at least

    I don’t want to generalise but the amount of troll rape threat men send toward far exceed many times the amount of trolls threats women send toward men

    Eventually with coming of 2018 and with so many women speaking against sexual harassment in workforce in media in hollywood and in politics also

    The leeway men got with their outrageous behaviour are coming to end and society for now listens and takes women opinions and thought seriously

  • Lisa

    We've come a long way.

    If we compare our lives today with any earlier time and our place here in Northern Europe with any other place, we should celebrate. And there is nothing wrong with celebrating either, for example by reading an entertaining volume on the voice and power of women - written by one of the many women who have used the luck of time and place well - to become a professor with a clear and loud, and female voice.

    So, let's celebrate.

    But... there is still so much to do.

    How often is

    We've come a long way.

    If we compare our lives today with any earlier time and our place here in Northern Europe with any other place, we should celebrate. And there is nothing wrong with celebrating either, for example by reading an entertaining volume on the voice and power of women - written by one of the many women who have used the luck of time and place well - to become a professor with a clear and loud, and female voice.

    So, let's celebrate.

    But... there is still so much to do.

    How often is a wish for more equality in the contemporary power distribution met with a condescending comment referring to "how grateful we should be to have achieved so much already", thus silently telling us to shut up and stop fighting for more, to be pleased with having almost reached equality? Almost.

    As long as power and masculinity are paired, there is no natural place for women within power. And Mary Beard argues beautifully that the target must be to change the structure and definition of power rather than woman.

    With funny but disturbingly accurate examples from classical times to our present political atmosphere, she shows the reality women face when they try to empower themselves. Either they turn into hybrids like Antigone, Clytamnestra or Medea, powerful by the male attributes they acquire at a high cost, or they face the ridicule and abuse of those who identify power as a male concept per se, and try to push women back into the private or sexual sphere in order to control their voices.

    A thought experiment made it vividly clear to me, myself a privileged, well-educated woman in a liberal democracy: closing my eyes and imagining a professor or a successful politician - I saw a man. An old man. A baby boomer man. A white baby boomer man. How can I blame anyone else for the lopsidedness of perceptions of power if that is what I see?

    Naturally, that is not what I WANT to see, necessarily, so I force myself to imagine a staff picture at a Cambridge university department or in a government of any random country, and I try hard to imagine it in all possible colours and shapes and age groups.

    And I know why I see what I see before my inner eye when I imagine intellectual or political power. We are not there yet. And we are not done until we are there.

    We have a voice. And we will use it. And we have had time since Antiquity to get used to the abuse following a woman's voice speaking up for humanity!

    Mary Beard has a voice that deserves to be heard and respected for her intellectual power and emotional courage.

    Let it be heard!

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    This is a very thought-provoking read, as long as you understand what it is - the texts of two speeches Mary Beard has given in the 21st century. Honestly, I do wish she'd used them as a starting point and written a much longer book about the topic, because I think she is drawing some connections I have not seen before - between classical imagery and modern politics, the cultural precedents for the oppression of women in the oldest literature, etc. She completely blew my mind about incorrect inf

    This is a very thought-provoking read, as long as you understand what it is - the texts of two speeches Mary Beard has given in the 21st century. Honestly, I do wish she'd used them as a starting point and written a much longer book about the topic, because I think she is drawing some connections I have not seen before - between classical imagery and modern politics, the cultural precedents for the oppression of women in the oldest literature, etc. She completely blew my mind about incorrect information I had internalized as part of my education, about Elizabeth I and Sojourner Truth, and it just makes me wonder what else she knows that I don't.

    I was glad to see that she included a long list of additional readings and resources, but I

    think there is work for Mary Beard herself to do in this arena.

    The focus of this book is politics and history in the UK but of course there is a healthy dose of the USA in there, as well of some mentions of other world leaders.

    It is making me want to go back and read her well-loved book,

    , because if anyone can bring it to life, surely it is Mary Beard.

  • Bookdragon Sean

    I question the intelligence and moral integrity of any man who does not consider himself a feminist, and I also question the fact that I am the only male in my friend’s list to read this book. Books like this are so vitally important, important for both men and women. So go read it! I’m not trying to shame my male friends, but merely point out the imbalance in the readers of this book, at least, here on goodreads.

    Why is this I wonder?

    Mary argues that ever since the ancient Greeks women have be

    I question the intelligence and moral integrity of any man who does not consider himself a feminist, and I also question the fact that I am the only male in my friend’s list to read this book. Books like this are so vitally important, important for both men and women. So go read it! I’m not trying to shame my male friends, but merely point out the imbalance in the readers of this book, at least, here on goodreads.

    Why is this I wonder?

    Mary argues that ever since the ancient Greeks women have been held back and their voices subsequently silenced. Are we not as men, in effect, silencing her by not reading her words? Food for thought.

    Mary Beard often picks up on the small things, tiny details, but together they represent a cultural mind-set that is inherent and almost imbedded into the human psyche. Often objects of power are associated with ideas of masculinity, which is something women take on when they acquire power. She draws on modern examples, political leaders, who dress like men and take on other traits in order to be more persuasive. Her arguments are often generalised, though what she touches upon is something that cannot by its nature be accurately recorded.

    So this is a rather compelling little book, but I can’t help but feel that it is a wasted opportunity. She really could have expanded upon the ideas here and strengthened them by exploring them further. Although her arguments are intuitive, she only scratches the surface: she could have said so much more.

  • Ariel

    “But my basic premise is that our mental, cultural template for a powerful person remains resolutely male."

    I read this text because I thought it might be useful to my investigation of our treatment of instapoets. Adapted from two speeches that Beard made in 2014 and 2017, she tracks what women's relationship with power has been, from ancient myths to current twitter discourse. I personally think a third essay was missing - it would have been great to have an essay of conclusions and solutions. I

    “But my basic premise is that our mental, cultural template for a powerful person remains resolutely male."

    I read this text because I thought it might be useful to my investigation of our treatment of instapoets. Adapted from two speeches that Beard made in 2014 and 2017, she tracks what women's relationship with power has been, from ancient myths to current twitter discourse. I personally think a third essay was missing - it would have been great to have an essay of conclusions and solutions. I'm also not sure if it should be called a manifesto, it felt more like A Few Interesting Thoughts.

    But overall I really enjoyed it, I underlined so many passages from it, and I really liked thinking more about our understanding of power!

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