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Women & Power: A Manifesto

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  14,337 ratings  ·  1,848 reviews
At long last, Mary Beard addresses in one brave book the misogynists and trolls who mercilessly attack and demean women the world over, including, very often, Mary herself. In Women & Power, she traces the origins of this misogyny to its ancient roots, examining the pitfalls of gender and the ways that history has mistreated strong women since time immemorial. As far b ...more
Hardcover, 115 pages
Published December 12th 2017 by Liveright (first published November 2nd 2017)
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Stephanie Saulter I'm struck by how many of the respondents to the original question – while all praising Mary Beard's arguments and wishing for more – nevertheless…moreI'm struck by how many of the respondents to the original question – while all praising Mary Beard's arguments and wishing for more – nevertheless refer to her as 'Ms. Beard' and not 'Professor'. Her academic credentials must have been clear to anyone who read the book, even if they knew nothing about her otherwise. I suspect this was an unthinking and unintentional slight, but nevertheless: to choose a gendered title which confers no authority over an ungendered one which confirms authority is precisely the type of elision and undermining of women's status and expertise that the lecture-essays of Women & Power are about. The irony would doubtless not be lost on Professor Beard. (less)

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4.08  · 
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 ·  14,337 ratings  ·  1,848 reviews


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Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
I question the intelligence and moral integrity of any man who does not consider himself a feminist, and I also question the fact that I am the only male in my friend’s list to read this book. Books like this are so vitally important, important for both men and women. So go read it! I’m not trying to shame my male friends, but merely point out the imbalance in the readers of this book, at least, here on goodreads.

Why is this I wonder?

Mary argues that ever since the ancient Greeks women have be
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Ariel
Feb 01, 2018 added it
“But my basic premise is that our mental, cultural template for a powerful person remains resolutely male."

I read this text because I thought it might be useful to my investigation of our treatment of instapoets. Adapted from two speeches that Beard made in 2014 and 2017, she tracks what women's relationship with power has been, from ancient myths to current twitter discourse. I personally think a third essay was missing - it would have been great to have an essay of conclusions and solutions. I
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Ina Cawl
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a shame for women to be loud

I don’t know who told me this this stupid wisdom and I don’t remember
Maybe in my school or maybe in my house but nevertheless I feel guilty for believing it.
Why some men or most of traditional men are scared of women talking loudly, what about women doest those feel irritated by it ?
Lack of public speaking to group of people was curse that befell on women for most of time and still now that right to speak in public place ( usually men’s areas ) .

For many centur
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Lisa
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We've come a long way.

If we compare our lives today with any earlier time and our place here in Northern Europe with any other place, we should celebrate. And there is nothing wrong with celebrating either, for example by reading an entertaining volume on the voice and power of women - written by one of the many women who have used the luck of time and place well - to become a professor with a clear and loud, and female voice.

So, let's celebrate.

But... there is still so much to do.

How often is
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a very thought-provoking read, as long as you understand what it is - the texts of two speeches Mary Beard has given in the 21st century. Honestly, I do wish she'd used them as a starting point and written a much longer book about the topic, because I think she is drawing some connections I have not seen before - between classical imagery and modern politics, the cultural precedents for the oppression of women in the oldest literature, etc. She completely blew my mind about incorrect inf ...more
Jan-Maat
So short, I had not quite intended to read it, when I did, but having in idleness picked it up and read a few pages nonchalantly, I found I was near enough half way through. There are two lectures padded out with illustrations (perhaps Beard had slides for her lectures) in the book, I felt these talks were her in conversation with Virginia Woolf's A Room of one's Own. Both naturally very revealing about their authors. Woolf the novelist deals in pictures: Woman excluded from public places, woman ...more
Thomas
Feb 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: feminism, nonfiction
A splendid start to the discussion about the silencing of women and how patriarchy precludes them from gaining power. Mary Beard traces the roots of this hatred against women back to Greek and Roman mythology, and she connects these historical examples to the modern-day mistreatment of women like Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton. My favorite part of this book: how Beard argues that instead of trying to make women powerful like men, we should change the structure of power to value more tradit ...more
Nicola
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I pretty much wanted to underline the whole thing. Review coming in The Big Issue soon.
Monika
Nov 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, non-fiction
There's really nothing new here, but Mary Beard does a wonderful job bringing classical history/misogyny into the 21st century. My biggest complaint is that it just didn't go far enough. I would have loved a full length book on the subject, and she did raise some really interesting comparisons. It just wasn't fleshed out enough for me, and I think it's a better pick for readers just getting started with feminist texts.
Trish
This book is two lectures modified and dispensing the understanding of a classicist with regard to “The Public Role of Women,” the very title of the first lecture. My markers are all in the second lecture, delivered in March 2017 and titled “Women in Power.” Mary Beard applies her knowledge of ancient languages and civilizations to uncover for us the origins of our notions of sexuality and power. It is not all she knows. It is merely her opinion of what she knows.

As though in a long, amusing co
...more
Ted
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 1/2

the author

Beard, born in 1955, is the author of the popular SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome (2015 finalist National Book Critics Award for non-fiction), and is Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge and the Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement. She makes frequent media appearances, gives many public lectures, and is active on social media. The Wiki article about Beard ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Be... ) references many of the controversial statements she
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Hannah
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I don’t have all that much too say about this book which is why my review will be rather on the short side (quite like the book). This book collects two speeches Mary Beard has given, one called “The Public Voice Of Women” and one “Women & Power” and as speeches I am sure this worked wonderfully. As a book however, it really fell a bit short for me. I might not be the target audience and this might work better as an introduction to feminist thinking but for me, while I agreed with Mary Beard ...more
Raymond
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
"When it comes to silencing women, Western culture has had thousands of years of practice." -Mary Beard

Beard’s Women & Power is a collection of two lectures that she gave in 2014 and 2017 both on the subject on how women are treated and perceived in the public sphere and the historical roots of this treatment. Beard shows through her lectures that the silencing of women as well as the way we view women in power has its roots in Greek and Roman mythology. In many ways this book reminded me of
...more
Becky
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will get straight to the point, with no ladylike silly shally.... this is bloody brilliant.
Paul
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminism
4.5 stars rounded up
This brief book is based on two lectures, one from 2014 and one from 2017 by Mary Beard. Beard is a classicist and historian, a very good one. The primary subject is female voice and silence and is very much concerned with misogyny and links to the abuse Beard and others have experienced on social media. Given the recent revelations relating to Harvey Weinstein and the current social media landscape it is a much needed wake up call.
Beard looks at the origins of misogyny and
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Markus
I'm reminded of this lovely George R.R. Martin interview

description

As a (male) scholar of women & power in history, I've always found it both important and interesting not to see women primarily as mere silent victims of patriarchal oppression (although that certainly happens in most historical periods), but as individuals with their own motives, agency and stories to tell. That is the change that is needed in our collective perception of the past. Scrutiny and victimisation are two sides of the same c
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Alice Lippart
Very interesting, especially liked how Beard draws parallels to ancient history.
Julie Ehlers
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
There have been a lot of tiny feminist books published recently, and there's not much point in comparing them—just read them all; they all have worthwhile things to say. Nevertheless, I thought Women & Power was more fun to read than Rebecca Solnit's small volumes and had more depth than Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie's. I liked the look at the classical world (something I haven't thought about much since my university days), and I thought she made some interesting and timely arguments. Of course, ...more
Abigail Bok
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Women are having a moment—though this aged cynic believes it will last only a moment. And into this moment steps Mary Beard, a British classical scholar who has taken more than her share of abuse, mostly via the Internet, to speak truth to power (or at least truth to trolls). In response to the haters she published two essays in the London Review of Books, in 2014 and 2017; and this slim volume is a reissue of those essays, with some emendations and updates.

The packaging is charming—high-quality
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Bradley
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are few books like this anymore. We're used to long scholarly treatises and we're used to little soundbites that say everything and almost nothing at all.

What we've been missing is a call to arms. That's what a manifesto is. A mixed mission statement and an outrage. A rallying call and a hot pinprick of a single idea meant to sear itself into your brain.

That's what a manifesto is supposed to be. A wake-up call.


But what is this one in particular?

It's about the nature of power and misogyny,
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Kristen
Mar 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I would probably give this a 3.5.

This book offers a wealth of history on the treatment of women, particularly in regards to their attempts at having an accepted public voice. As others stated, where this book falls short is in its offering of any strong solutions to the problem. Granted, when I stopped to really think about it, I had a difficult time coming up with any solutions either. How do we go about correcting a problem that has been so deeply ingrained in our society?

I did very much appr
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Anna Baillie-Karas
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A gem. Crisp, erudite writing on women and power. Especially interesting about women’s voices and how they are silenced, ignored or worse. Up to the minute but draws on the classics (Mary Beard’s specialty). Beard says we should redefine power so women can participate in different ways. Lightly written but much food for thought. My first of her books but won’t be the last.
Bfisher
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a repackaging of two essays written for the London Review of Books in 2014 ("The Public Voice of Women") and 2017 (Women In Power).

As a classical scholar, she has some illuminating comments about long running cultural constraints on the voices of women in the public sphere.
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
Read in one late-train-journey gulp and very much enjoyed. There isn’t a lot new here from a feminist theory perspective but I really appreciated how Mary Beard foregrounds the impact of speech and speech imagery. It’s engaging, thoughtful and so inventive in the connections made between the classical and the contemporary world. I just wish it was longer, with more space to expand.
Joanna Flis
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very important book. Loud voice about voiceless women.
Jaya
At the beginning itself Beard mentions that this is mainly about Women vis-a-vis Power wrt to "the western civilization". Drawing examples from Classical Graeco-Roman times and creating parallels with contemporary incidents/events makes this quite an engaging read. The arguments and issues that Beard throws up surely will resonate with most of us in some way or the other.
I wish there were similar studies, (there very well might be and am ignorant of their existence) if not on India in particular
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Debbie "DJ"
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism, non-fiction, own
And here I thought I’d read pretty much everything on feminism...NOT!
Beard took me back to Greek and Roman mythology. How the silencing of women in these myths translate to the present. She uses examples of modern day women such as Hillary Clinton, and Elizabeth Warren to really drive home her point. I was amazed at just how relevant these early myths are. What a fascinating and short read!
Jo (A follower of wizards)
"When it comes to silencing women, Western culture has had thousands of years of practice"

I love Mary Beard. She's clever, interesting and really raises some rather thought provoking issues. I have enjoyed watching her documentaries, and when I noticed she had written "Women and Power" I'll admit, I was quite delighted.
This rather short book consists of two lectures given in different years based on the subject of the treatment of women in society, and the history behind this treatment. I know t
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Kristi
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reading a book with this title while on public transit felt like an act of aggression. Which is I guess exactly why books like this are necessary.
Steven
"If we want to give women as a gender—and not just in the shape of a few determined individuals—their place inside the structures of power, we have to think harder about how and why we think as we do. If there is a cultural template, which works to disempower women, what exactly is it and where do we get it from?" (58)
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Winifred Mary Beard (born 1 January 1955) is Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge and is a fellow of Newnham College. She is the Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement, and author of the blog "A Don's Life", which appears on The Times as a regular column. Her frequent media appearances and sometimes controversial public statements have led to her being described as "Brita
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“You cannot easily fit women into a structure that is already coded as male; you have to change the structure.” 57 likes
“For a start it doesn’t much matter what line you take as a woman, if you venture into traditional male territory, the abuse comes anyway. It is not what you say that prompts it, it’s simply the fact that you’re saying it.” 29 likes
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