Charlotte Wilson (De Lisle College) reviews Mary Beard's 'Women and Power'
Participants in Worcester's Bookshelf project are all in year 11, 12 or 13 at UK state schools. They are asked to review the book in no more than 300 words, as well as to respond to the three prompts at the bottom of the page. Here Charlotte Wilson, who is studying at De Lisle College, reviews Mary Beard's book, Women and Power:
In focusing on subversion Beard establishes the rallying cry implied by a manifesto – we must challenge this male centric view of power and instead think about it through a prism of collaboration to include women. Collaboration, however, doesn’t imply efficiency and it seems archaic to suggest that female inclusion in power rests on a willingness to stand in the background and work for the greater good. This somewhat discredited the value of the book in its neglect of a tangible solution.
Nonetheless, I admired Beard’s ability to parallel the modern to the classical to develop solutions and found it central to Beard’s innovative style and engaging narrative. Overall, I found the book an enlightening read that I would highly recommend and would love to read more of Beard’s writing.
Something I agreed with in this book was…
Beard’s suggestion that antiquity should not be considered as the foundation of all civilisation but a perspective from which we can come to reflect upon ourselves and therefore a useful means of examining the challenging cultural relationship between the public voice of women and power.
Something I disagreed with in this book was…
I do not find Beard’s resolution of female exclusion from power through focusing on cooperation satisfying particularly in her use of the Black Lives Matter movement to illustrate the potential for collaborative leadership to include women. However the movement has faced criticism in its lack of centralised leadership leading to confusion and misrepresentation in its goals where its vital message has been lost, in effect suggesting that the practical solutions provided by Beard are inadequate.
Something I learnt from reading this book that I didn't know about this subject before was...
The observation of how the political utilises the classical; Beard does this most remarkably through the image of the Medusa figure being imposed onto female politicians like Clinton and Merkel. Beard in this way made me reconsider what the Perseus myth stands for this instance, i.e. the brutal ending of female power which is perceived to be, unnatural and dangerous. Beard in this instance made me aware of how dramatically Classics can be manipulated and politicised.