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Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard

Women & Power: A Manifesto (original 2017; edition 2017)

by Mary Beard (Author)

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5041830,284 (4.09)66
Title:Women & Power: A Manifesto
Authors:Mary Beard (Author)
Info:Liveright (2017), 128 pages
Collections:ART (Art and Architecture), Your library
Tags:GEN (Generalities)

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Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard (2017)


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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Women and Power:A Manifesto
By Mary Beard
Liveright Publishing Corporation

This pocket size book was interesting and thought provoking. I think she has a point....it's not power, it's the notion that it's obtainable for all women.
The aim is to take a long view "on the culturally awkward relation between the voice of women in the public sphere of speech making, debate, and comment...
"Get beyond simple diagnosis of "misogyny" and understand "women, even when they are not silenced, still have a high price to pay for being heard." Amen to that.

"Think harder about how exactly we might go about re-configuring these notions of 'power' that now exclude all but a few women." ( )
1 vote over.the.edge | Sep 16, 2018 |

Though billed as a manifesto, this is actually a collection of two lectures delivered by Beard for the London Review of Books in 2014 and 2017, looking backward rather than forward - but looking very clearly. It is powerful, well-founded stuff, looking back at how women's voices have been marginalised from the political discourse of power since at least the days of Homer. It is brief but punchy - a telling illustration shows how women aspiring to power are always caricatured as Medusa (and men never are). She ties this into the phenomenon of internet trolling, which is much more visibly directed against vocal women than men. Many good points made very effectively and swiftly. ( )
1 vote nwhyte | Sep 1, 2018 |
Two essays, delivered as lectures and somewhat refashioned for the print form, still have some of the momentum of the spoken word. Beard offers no solutions only directions in which to move our awareness and our thinking. In the first essay she outlines the Greek and Roman narratives--in literature and histories--and the ways that women are traditionally silenced, either by ridicule, by being ignored, or by, in some cases, having their tongues cut right out of their mouths. In our political culture, oratory is still the province of men. The deep, sonorous voice is preferred. Think of it the way you might imagine that a blue potato tastes 'different' from a white potato. We simply do not have any idea how deeply our prejudices against hearing and respecting the voices of women go--starting with a visceral response to women's voices especially when speaking outside of the domain assigned to them (protecting the family, women's issues, women's literature) etc. Beard guides the discussion towards the fact that this realization must come first, with awareness comes the possibility to take the next step.

In the second essay, Beard is less directly focussed on the past but rather on how the media (including the internet) use the imagery of the ancient western eras to portray women who have achieved positions of political power--usually negatively. She shows how some women have used female symbols creatively and, yeah, powerfully -- Maggie Thatcher and her handbag (Queen Elizabeth has also been a valiant handbag wielder -- apparently with nothing but a hankie and a few mints in it since she has no need to carry ID or money!). Beard took the time to analyze, for example, how often women who speak in public are described as shrill and whiney as well as how a woman politician who makes a mistake is vilified more strongly than a man who makes an equivalent mistake (or, um, like thousands that are far worse?). Again Beard can offer no solutions, only ideas for directions in which to move our thinking on these matters. A quick read, worth reading. ****1/2 ( )
2 vote sibyx | Jun 4, 2018 |
You wouldn't think that a middle-aged classicist would attract the attention of the internet trolldom. You would be wrong. By appearing on television classical historian Mary Beard, of Cambridge University, managed to garner all sorts of attacks on her appearance, personality, sexuality and general right to be a public person. I mean how dare she expose an unwitting public to grey hair, a visibly middle-aged face and a lack of any effort toward sex appeal. Being an intellectual, her reaction was to think about the origins of these attitudes--the idea that women should keep quiet and never challenge men and generally not be a public presence except in a decorative manner. Not surprisingly, Beard finds examples of "sit down and shut up, woman" in our earliest literature. Interesting and well written.
1 vote ritaer | May 21, 2018 |
A fascinating fast read from much respected scholar Mary Beard on the history of man's attempt to silence and incapacitate women. She reaches back to Homer, and follows the trail through Aristophanes, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, history, and right up Twitter road to present day.

Beard speaks from years of study and also personal experience. - I was following her on Twitter while she was being 'lectured' by men on Roman history.

This book shines a spotlight on what has been happening since Ayla inadvertently invented the patriarchy eons ago.

*eARC Netgalley*

( )
  Critterbee | Apr 16, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
It’s a tonic to encounter a book that doesn’t just describe the scale of a problem but suggests remedies — and exciting ones at that. One solution recommended by Beard — enacted by her, really — is to cheerfully stand your ground. Beard is active on Twitter, where she famously engages with the legion of trolls who pick apart her work, age and appearance. She refuses to quit social media despite abuse that has extended to death threats. “It feels to me like leaving the bullies in charge of the playground,” she wrote on her blog after recent attacks against her. “It’s rather too much like what women have been advised to do for centuries. Don’t answer back, and just turn away.”

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary Beardprimary authorall editionscalculated
Löfvendahl, Annika H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Helen Morales
But I owe most to Helen Morales, once my colleague in Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge, now Professor at the Univerity of California, Santa Barbara. We talked through the issues, classical and otherwise, of women's power and voice over long trans-atlantic phone calls. Among many other things, she pointed me in the direction of the Medusa imagery. This book is for her.
First words
Women in the West have a lot to celebrate; let's not forget.

I want to start very near the beginning of the tradition of Western literature, and its first recorded example of a man telling a woman to 'shut up'; telling her that her voice was not to be heard in public.

The Public Voice of Women.
In 1915 Charlotte Perkins Gilman published a funny, but unsettling, story entitled Herland.

Women in Power.
Turning lectures into permanent print can be a tricky business.

Afterword, September 2017.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Disambiguation notice
Both 'The Public Voice of Women' and 'Women in Power' were originally lectures presented by Mary Beard in the LRB Winter Lecture series. Versions of the lectures appeared in the London Review of Books, 20 March 2014 and 16 March 2017 respectively. The lectures in this book have undergone "some very light updating".
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Book description
Why the popular resonance of 'mansplaining' (despite the intense dislike of the term felt by many men)? It hits home for us because it points straight to what it feels like not to be taken seriously: a bit like when I get lectured on Roman history on Twitter.

Britain's best-known classicist Mary Beard, is also a committed and vocal feminist. With wry wit, she revisits the gender agenda and shows how history has treated powerful women. Her examples range from the classical world to the modern day, from Medusa and Athena to Theresa May and Hillary Clinton. Beard explores the cultural underpinnings of misogyny, considering the public voice of women, our cultural assumptions about women's relationship with power, and how powerful women resist being packaged into a male template.

With personal reflections on her own experiences of the sexism and gendered aggression she has endured online, Mary asks: if women aren't perceived to be within the structures of power, isn't it power that we need to redefine?
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Two essays connect the past with the present, tracing the history of misogyny to its ancient roots and examining the pitfalls of gender.

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