~ Virginia Woolf.
Do a quick check and scan your bookshelves, movies stubs, think about the last few shows you saw… How many female artists are playing at the next festival you’re going to? How many women had lead roles in the last 10 movies you saw?
Have you heard of the Bechdel Test? It’s quite straightforward. To pass the Bechdel Test a movie must have the following.
1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man
A word of warning. Once you start testing for this you will never stop. And super fucking annoying things like the number of times Annabelle Wallis’ character in the 2017 movie The Mummy screams the name of the male lead…arrghh. I kinda liked the movie and her role was good but did she have to scream his name so much? Here’s a website with a list of movies that pass and those that don’t.
Over the last few years, I’ve been actively seeking out female writers, movie makers and singers to support. Before this, if you asked who my favourite singers were, at least my top 5 would have been men. One day when I noticed that the last 10 podcasts I’d listened to were made by men I decided I needed to be more aware of where I was getting my information.
Having said that…okay hear me out…I’m a fan of Dr Jordan B Peterson. If you haven’t heard of him, please go directly to his podcast or website and read/watch everything you can. He is a genius and a gentleman and he is passionate about education. If you have heard of him but only within the context of the alt-right/homo/transphobia accusations please go to his website and read/watch everything. What the press has told you is bollocks and you need to educate yourself. If you watch every video and still think he’s Satan, you are welcome to your opinion.
Right, that’s done. Now the only reason I mention the good doctor is that I really wanted to quote him. On his podcast last week (click the word genius above) he said’
“Feminism and everything we gained from it has given society access to the genius of women.”
The genius of women. I love that. I don’t think he’s implying that all women have a huge IQ or should be in charge of everything…although…
And, yes, I know it’s ironic that I am quoting a man…
For centuries the genius of women was confined to the home, the farm, the loom, the family. In many cultures it around the world, it still is. I am always amazed and so impressed when I hear about women who are smashing those boundaries daily. Now and in the past. Women like Malala Yousafzai, Manal al-Sharif and Elizabeth Warren who continue to inspire us every day, pushing back against oppression so other women can fully realise their genius.
But then you think about women in the past…They must have been badasses, to say the least! Women like Rosa Bonheur, Christine de Pisan, Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickenson, Zhang Ailing really had to push against what was considered acceptable in society.
You had to be crafty if you wanted to publish books or sell your art in male-dominated societies, which was pretty much all of them. It certainly helped if you were wealthy. Your only problem then was deciding if you also wanted to exist in polite society because quite often you couldn’t do both. Berthe Morisot was an Impressionist but remained very much a dutiful daughter and wife, unlike say, Gertrude Stein who worked and lived life on her own terms.
Women have pretty much been relegated to the areas that men didn’t really want to deal with like raising children, preparing meals, caring for the sick and elderly. The genius of women is equal to and different to the genius of men, and not every woman (or man) has the same genius. That’s the…genius…of this amazing planet we live on. We each have an essential role to play.
So for all those centuries that women have been oppressed, men have missed out too!