Donate Now
We've Moved! Check out our new boards.
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | directory login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » Women In History

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Women In History
orca
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 33665

Icon 1 posted      Profile for orca     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In one of my classes, the professor pointed out that on the History Channel, quite often the only time women are discussed is in relation to sex (see: the History of Sex). I was wondering if you all think that this is true, or if you did learn about famous women in contexts outside of sex when you were growing up.

If you think it's true, why do you think women are so often portrayed in this way or that this aspect of their lives is focused on so much? Can you gals and guys think of famous women in history that you have learned about in a context outside of sex? And this can include writers, artists, scientists, explorers, monarchs, leaders, etc. (Let's just try and keep away from Hollywood-type celebrities, though. [Smile] )

--------------------
Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Posts: 2726 | From: North America | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DaisyMazy
Activist
Member # 36719

Icon 1 posted      Profile for DaisyMazy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
We'll this isn't exactly what you're looking for, but one example that does show the relationship between the social connection that people but on women and sex is that "the oldest profession" is considered prostitution. As if from the beginning of time this was our only ability. (on a side note I do consider the first profession still one done mostly by women, midwifery)

I do have to say that I always find it somewhat upsetting when our history books (even in high school)would always mention something about a women's sexuality when talking about them. (rumored to be a lesbian, never married, married twice, had an affair,had a baby six months after being married or whatever) Men's sexual behavior is talked about some, but not near as much.

I really think this is a really interesting topic, I hadn't thought too much about it. I'm interested to see what other people come up with.

Posts: 74 | From: Austin, Tx | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
libertatissacra
Activist
Member # 35773

Icon 1 posted      Profile for libertatissacra     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I learned a good deal about women in my various history classes, literature classes, etc., and very few (if any) of the lessons about them were focused around sex.

Though I will say, one thing that always annoyed me was how teachers and textbooks alike tended to make a big deal about how any given woman was indeed female. Like what they had done was made ten times greater by the fact that the person who did it had a vagina. I mean, can't we just appreciate her because she made an interesting scientific discovery, or wrote a good book? It seems kind of patronising to make a big deal out of a historically significant woman's sex when we don't do that for historically significant men. If I ever did anything worth mentioning in a text book, I'd like my the paragraph to focus on what I actually did rather than what happens to be between my legs.

--------------------
"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between."
-Oscar Wilde

Posts: 115 | From: San Francisco, CA | Registered: Nov 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
orca
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 33665

Icon 1 posted      Profile for orca     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You have to keep in mind, though, that for so long anything great that a woman did was ignored or treated as less significant than the contributions of men. One form the second-wave feminist movement took was to go back through history and look at the contributions women have made in math, science, art, literature, and many other fields and say that these contributions were worthy of being praised, too, and shouldn't be considered inferior to men's contributions. So because women's efforts throughout history were ignored or treated as inferior for so long, that may be why your history teachers do try and elevate it more.

And you may have a point in saying that it seems ridiculous to make a big deal about it just because the person is a woman, but I think until our society does get to a point where it says that these contributions made by women have as much value as men's contributions (and says so willingly), you are going to have a lot of people exaggerate it. We also are still at the point where there is a pretty big imbalance in academics in that at a higher level, there are fewer women than men and at the college level, women are less likely to obtain tenure than men. There are a lot of other factors which do contribute to this exaggeration, but you can get the point that at this point in time it is necessary in a way or at least to be expected.

[ 04-24-2008, 07:38 AM: Message edited by: orca ]

--------------------
Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Posts: 2726 | From: North America | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PenguinBoy
Activist
Member # 28394

Icon 1 posted      Profile for PenguinBoy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think a factor is that women have been suppressed by many societies which are studied in history. And in many of these Men have been in positions of power, and the people who made big decisions and initiated historical monuments. And the only way women were able to be involved was to be married to these men - ie be sexually involved with them.

However when i studied history we talked about loads of women, i think we did a bit on the suffragettes, definitaly elizabeth the first. Much of the history I learnt was based on the british monarchy, so there was also stuff about Queen Victoria, Mary Queen of Scotts, Mary the first.

--------------------
Jacob - my Scarleteen Blog - Please help sustain scarleteen

Posts: 633 | From: Bedfordshire, UK | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
sundial
Activist
Member # 37371

Icon 1 posted      Profile for sundial     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Interesting topic. I think we learned about famous historical woman outside of the realm of history of sex (Madame Curie and Barbara McClintock (science), Kate Chopin, Georgia OKeefe, Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart). Part of what gets lost in the emphasis of the femaleness of these people is discussion of the realities that these women had fewer options than men in terms of education and had to overcome cultural bias to accomplish what they did. (Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor graduated third in her law school class at Stanford but after graduation found that no law firms in California would hire a woman attorney). I think that the biological reality that women can get pregnant and have babies and men can't is partly responsible for the emphasis on women's sex lives. Even today, I think women bear a greater responsibility for childcare after birth and care of the home, so it seems natural to me to be curious about what responsibilities a woman is managing and how does she do it.

edit: But I would prefer if the child and home related responsibilities could be more equalled out so that these issues weren't worth mentioning any more. [Smile]

[ 04-24-2008, 03:57 PM: Message edited by: sundial ]

Posts: 47 | From: San Francisco, CA | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TSuper
Neophyte
Member # 38472

Icon 1 posted      Profile for TSuper     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hmmm. The way we learned about them in my AP US History class was mostly through the women's right movement. Susan B. Anthony, for instance, is most known for that. Also, charity movements and the female role in movements that were not neccesarily primarily for women (such as prohibtion). And of course, one of my personal idols, Abigail Adams always has her "remember the ladies" qoute over everything. I see your point, and I wished we talked about women as much as we do men, but at least we seem to be inching our way towards that. At the same time, that doesn't mean that men should recieve less coverage, as that would be another form of sexism. I think the more important thing is to study the history of the event being studied and to make sure all important figures are included in decent levels, regardless of gender.

--------------------
Its all in the way one looks at the world

Posts: 13 | From: Unites States | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
At the same time, that doesn't mean that men should recieve less coverage, as that would be another form of sexism. I think the more important thing is to study the history of the event being studied and to make sure all important figures are included in decent levels, regardless of gender.
Save that, if you have one year and X number of class hours to study history, and most of the subjects being studied are men, in order to make room for women of equal important someone is going to have to do some editing.

And that doesn't really fit into the definition of sexism, and it's doubly tricky to talk about sexism when we're talking about a class who is not the oppressed class. For instance, if we're studying American history, and we get half a clue and work to make more room for noteable people of color, so have to edit out some of the whites dominating all of the pages or hours, it's not racist towards whites (where again, how in a white-dominated culture we even can be is questionable) to make those edits in order to more accurately represent everyone as a whole, rather than through a white-dominant or earnestly racist lens.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TSuper
Neophyte
Member # 38472

Icon 1 posted      Profile for TSuper     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm sorry, I guess I was just trying to say that, to me, it doesn't matter what gender the person is, just what kind of person he/she is. So I was just trying to say that its more important that what someone did is covered, and that there shouldn't be any bias in the study of History based on...well anything. I'm sorry if I caused any confusion.

--------------------
Its all in the way one looks at the world

Posts: 13 | From: Unites States | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Get the Whole Story! Go Home to SCARLETEEN: Sex Ed for the Real World | Privacy Statement

Copyright 1998, 2014 Heather Corinna/Scarleteen
Scarleteen.com: Providing comprehensive sex education online to teens and young adults worldwide since 1998

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.

Powered by UBB.classic™ 6.7.3