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Fantastic article by Mary Beard about the silencing of women

(14 Posts)
Ballsballsballs Sun 16-Feb-14 19:04:09

EBearhug Sun 16-Feb-14 19:10:17

See here.

Mignonette Sun 16-Feb-14 19:15:39

"My aim here – and I acknowledge the irony of my being given the space to address the subject"

And how they will try drown Mary Beard'w words out ipso facto.

Excellent article Balls . I was particularly interested in the story of Philomela losing her tongue, but still managing to denounce her rapist by weaving the story into a tapestry. This has parallels with the crafts of slaves brought to the USA to work in the cotton fields. They used song and quilting to tell their stories and ensure the passing on and documentation of their heritage.

Ballsballsballs Sun 16-Feb-14 20:11:18

Whoops EBearhug I'd somehow missed the thread!

marybeard Sun 16-Feb-14 23:35:33

I hope Mumsnet commenters will see how i have learned from you. A couple of years ago I used the word strident (re women) and defended it. I see why I did, and that it seemed different from "whining"and "whinging". Now i think it is very much in the same group of pejorative words. Thank you!!

LRDtheFeministDragon Sun 16-Feb-14 23:53:22

I thought about that thread when I read the article! You got a bumpy ride and a half there.

Great article. thanks

Ballsballsballs Sun 16-Feb-14 23:56:53


UptoapointLordCopper Mon 17-Feb-14 10:00:34

Is marybeard really Mary Beard?

I like the article very much. I have never noticed that young so-and-so Telemachus telling Penelope to shut up. shock It reminded me of the old Chinese tradition of how a woman is to obey her father, then her husband when she's married, and then her son if her husband died. Used to give me the rage. Still does. angry angry

One thing the article made me think was this: if David Starkey or George Galloway were female, imagine the abuse they would get. There's no shortage of people lining up to call them halfwits, but if the things they said and did were said and done by women they'd be getting all the death threats, rape threats and misogynistic abuse imaginable.

rosabud Wed 19-Feb-14 12:40:32

Very much enjoyed reading this article.

Re the point that women are silenced in public, not only because men don't agree with what they are saying, but also because women should not be speaking in public at all ( and linking that to the fact that public speaking is power and women have always been debarred from power):-
This made me think that it is not just what women are expected to say that is the issue, it is also what they are expected to listen to. As Mary points out, Penelope doesn't just shut up - she physically leaves the room, the public domain, too. This is echoed when modern politicians/male media commentators refuse to alter their words to make them "politically correct" ("Calm down, dear"/ "She is a good journalist and a good-looking woman too" and other infamous examples). By refusing to alter their language from what may be appropriate in a private social setting with other male friends, men who do this refuse to acknowledge that women could be listening to their public comments. So, effectively, by the language they use, men not only tell women to shut up but let them know that they are not expected to listen to public debate either. Sometimes it feels like we are still fighting for the right to listen, never mind the lofty heights of participation or speaking too.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 19-Feb-14 12:51:11

That's so true.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TeWiSavesTheDay Wed 19-Feb-14 15:05:28

Weirdly none of this came up in my classical education hmm very true though. I always rather felt Penelope got treated like shit!

I do feel like a big chunk of discussion I read about feminism, is justifying why the person is even talking about it. It's not something I see very often in other topics.

AskBasil Wed 19-Feb-14 20:41:29

I was ambiguous about this article.

It depressed me that I remember reading stuff like this when I was a teenager. I remember reading about Samuel Johnson commenting on a woman preaching being like a dog preaching - it's not whether she does it well, the remarkable thing is that she's preaching at all. And knowing that that still held true.

Here we are thirty years later and women with a voice like Mary Beard, are still having to comment on this. It's still true. After post-feminism and third wave feminism, we're still in the same position of not having the right to raise our voices in public (IE male) space, without being attacked for doing so while having a vagina. (Especially if we have conspicuously not paid any attention to giving the men there a boner while daring to use our voice.) I'm glad she commented on it, but depressed that she still has to IYSWIM.

Mary, thanks for acknowledging taking on board comments on MN. smile

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