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The history books are full of the achievements of men; what they often forget to tell us is that women forged history too.
They say history has been shaped by men, crafted by the wars that they won and the empires they conquered. They tell you tales of men with the strength of a thousand bulls or of their epic quests of freedom and victory.
They do all this while painting a picture in your head about women who patiently awaited their husbands’ arrival, whose sole role was to cook and serve their husbands, their lords.
The picture of this patriarchal theory spread far and wide, inspiring a few such ‘painters’ over the world to instigate domestic violence and control over women, leading to society now as we see it. Alongside these attacks of violence, the theory left a deep imprint, spanning centuries that made women believe that they were inferior to men and deserved to be treated any way the menfolk liked.
If this patriarchal theory and violence was spread by a few tales, I’d like to tell you some of mine
So let me tell you about the hidden pages of your history books,
tales of women who dared to do
Let me tell you old stories anew.
She smiled and an empire was conquered, Rome hath fallen.
all hail the queen
This is probably the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Cleopatra right?
Cleopatra, one of the most famous people to walk the planet is often described as an immoral figure and a mere consort of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. However, Cleopatra was in fact a scholar and patron of many languages.
She actively influenced Roman politics such as playing a vital role in Octavian’s propaganda war against Antony. She led fleets of ships and armies into battle all while being a regular visitor at the library of Alexandria. She was breathtakingly stunning as many describe her to be, but there was so much more to her than the way her eyes caught the sunlight or how many rose petals she put in her baths!
Arguably one of the best scientists the world has had to offer, Marie Curie became the first person to receive two Nobel prizes. She was an acclaimed mathematician, physicist and chemist accredited with the discovery of two new radioactive elements- radium and polonium.
As a child, Marie Curie was incredibly talented but couldn’t attend the male-only University of Warsaw. Instead, she found a secretive underground university of Warsaw where she received a part of her higher education. A few years later with enough funds, she attended the Sorbonne University in Paris and got degrees in physics and maths while extending her research.
She was a pioneer of success and laid the basic foundations of elemental radioactivity without which we would be lost today.
In the early days of the French Revolution, when a tyrannical monarchy still ruled France and the clergy controlled the land, a bunch of women tired of waiting in lines to buy some bread gathered some pitchforks and hoes and set off to Versailles.
In Versailles was the palace of the king, Louis XVI. Together they marched into the palace, grabbed the king and queen, and marched back, in hopes of some reformative measures that would be implemented in their favour. I mean, how incredibly brave and cool is that?
This is what I feel French women should be known for, instead of being stereotyped as sassy and petite.
So the next time if any of my fellow women should ever feel low,
Remember the French women of Bordeaux,
Or the ingenious scientist of the Sorbonne,
For they are never truly gone,
And you my girl are backed up by thousands of women before you,
With that I bid you adieu.
Image via Wikipedia
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