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

  • Nicola

    I pretty much wanted to underline the whole thing. Review coming in The Big Issue soon.

  • 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

  • Raymond

    Beard’s Women & Power is a collection of two lectures that she gave in 2014 and 2017 both on the subject on how women are treated and perceived in the public sphere and the historical roots of this treatment. Beard shows through her lectures that the silencing of women as well as the way we view women in power has its roots in Greek and Roman mythology. In many ways this book reminded me of

    Beard’s Women & Power is a collection of two lectures that she gave in 2014 and 2017 both on the subject on how women are treated and perceived in the public sphere and the historical roots of this treatment. Beard shows through her lectures that the silencing of women as well as the way we view women in power has its roots in Greek and Roman mythology. In many ways this book reminded me of a book I read earlier this year

    about the history of racist ideas in America. I always knew that misogyny existed but was not fully aware of its roots. This book is essential reading.

  • Trish

    This book is two lectures modified and dispensing the understanding of a classicist with regard to “The Public Role of Women,” the very title of the first lecture. My markers are all in the second lecture, delivered in March 2017 and titled “Women in Power.” Mary Beard applies her knowledge of ancient languages and civilizations to uncover for us the origins of our notions of sexuality and power. It is not all she knows. It is merely her opinion of what she knows.

    As though in a long, amusing co

    This book is two lectures modified and dispensing the understanding of a classicist with regard to “The Public Role of Women,” the very title of the first lecture. My markers are all in the second lecture, delivered in March 2017 and titled “Women in Power.” Mary Beard applies her knowledge of ancient languages and civilizations to uncover for us the origins of our notions of sexuality and power. It is not all she knows. It is merely her opinion of what she knows.

    As though in a long, amusing conversation with a friend, Beard argues and then changes her mind as she makes her argument, rethinking her earlier teaching of Aristophanes’ comedic play

    as not just about girl power—“though maybe that’s exactly how we

    now play it.”

    I have recently found myself willing to modify my thinking on #MeToo: I opposed young women deciding, precipitously I thought, which behaviors went too far when some we clearly agreed did meet criterion for harassment. Those younger women will probably succeed in modifying men’s behaviors when earlier generations did not. They are the ones who have to live with success or failure of their guidelines.

    The conclusions Beard shares with us at the end of the second lecture are especially trenchant: that power should be recognized as within each of us—within our reach—if we would only seize that power and exercise it. Power exercised does not have to be attached to celebrity, and perhaps is best if it is not so glorified and so removed from each of us. Beard gives an example of this non-celebrity notion of power by pointing to the three women (whose names many of us still do not know) now credited with beginning the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

    If power is attached to celebrity, it is interpreted narrowly, circumscribing and controlling that power. The current structure of public prestige is male-dominated and will forever resist the fundamentally different understanding of power as collaborative and diffuse—not a possession but an attribute or a verb. I am excited by Beard’s acknowledgement of power as something quite different than what we have come to accept, for power is individual, and within each of us.

    The dignity we gain in light of that realization is very affirming. It entirely works when thinking of oneself in a democracy, for instance, but also as an employee, family member, a member of any group, sect, or religion. Individuals hold the actual power in a society, and it is only our transfer of attention and currency to celebrities that gives them power. When we notice and state publicly “the emperor has no clothes,” well then…it’s over for the emperor.

    Beard wishes she'd had the foresight to defend women's

    without collapse of women's privileges and rights as leaders, spokespeople. This notion parallels the notion of acceptance of people of color as described by Ibram X. Kendi in his groundbreaking work,

    :

    There is more in Beard's manifesto, for instance “if women are not perceived to be fully within the structures of power, surely it is the power we need to redefine rather than the women.” We are reminded that the structures of power may need modification if not dismantling. Beard reminds us there will be winners & losers in this scenario, but these concepts have been a long time coming. I won’t be sorry to see the old ways go.

    I loved the little joke Beard included in her discussion of current female leaders being heralded early in 2017 in a headline, “Women Prepare for a Power Grab in Church, Police and BBC.” Beard reminds us that only Cressida Dick, the commissioner of the Met, actually succeeded, surely a comment on who is perceived to have the equipment to lead.

    Beard begins her first lecture with a reminder of the earliest example of a man exerting control over the right of women to plead her case or to speak in public: a teenaged Telemachus silencing his mother Penelope in the beginning of

    . The view of women in the western world has followed on from those earliest myths.

    Subtle differences in interpretation of the language of those myths is now giving us new ways to look at sexuality, at women and power. That ancient text has been recently

    for the first time, and the resultant work has differences from earlier versions. It is wonderfully accessible and thrilling to read, so make sure you give it another go round with this new version.

  • 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.

  • Monika

    There's really nothing new here, but Mary Beard does a wonderful job bringing classical history/misogyny into the 21st century. My biggest complaint is that it just didn't go far enough. I would have loved a full length book on the subject, and she did raise some really interesting comparisons. It just wasn't fleshed out enough for me, and I think it's a better pick for readers just getting started with feminist texts.

  • Thomas

    A splendid start to the discussion about the silencing of women and how patriarchy precludes them from gaining power. Mary Beard traces the roots of this hatred against women back to Greek and Roman mythology, and she connects these historical examples to the modern-day mistreatment of women like Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton. My favorite part of this book: how Beard argues that instead of trying to make women powerful like men, we should change the structure of power to value more tradit

    A splendid start to the discussion about the silencing of women and how patriarchy precludes them from gaining power. Mary Beard traces the roots of this hatred against women back to Greek and Roman mythology, and she connects these historical examples to the modern-day mistreatment of women like Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton. My favorite part of this book: how Beard argues that instead of trying to make women powerful like men, we should change the structure of power to value more traditionally feminine traits. A passage that exemplifies this:

    I only wish that this book had been longer and geared more toward creating solutions. Essentially, how do we change a society that glorifies traditionally masculine ideals of competition, dominance, and achievement instead of traditionally feminine ideals of connection, caring, and nurturance? Other books explore this idea more in-depth, such as

    by Caroline Knapp,

    by bell hooks, and

    by Rebecca Solnit. I also wish Beard has discussed how some women oppress other women, like how white women and White Feminism

    . Still, a good start and quick read for those interested in gender studies and history.

  • 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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