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Archive for the ‘What Came Before’ Category

Speaking of Non-Tudor Women

“Hassani’s statements came after two Kurdish feminists in Iran were accused of being members of an armed rebel group and of carrying out subversive activities threatening the security of the state.”

It’s a good thing that all women are naturally passive, submissive and obediant, then. See, this is what I’m talking about. I want more stories about real women (whether or not the accusations are true is a whole different issue, but also interesting).

The Tudors

Showtime’s version of Rome is… well… It has Jonathan Rhys Meyers, so it can’t be all bad?

It’s pretty, and there’s politics, and, Jonathan Rhys Meyers? But holy hell, man, all the women in this story are sex bunnies used and abused by their respective male owners. You’ve got the Bolyn girls’ father basically selling them out for sex to the King (there’s a huge difference, I’m sorry to say, between a woman deciding to advance herself by seducing the king and a woman seducing the king cause her daddy tells her to).

I get that sex and women’s bodies are historical commodities, but I just can’t buy into a show that shows so many women as completely passive vessels. Where are the powerful matriarchs and scheming wives and willful daughters (Did Rome spoil me? And that’s the sad thing, right, there were still way more male characters in Rome than female, but hot damn, the women charcters *didn’t suck*)? One of the most dispicable lies in history is that women were just always passive slaves to men. That, historically, women had no power and no voice and contented themselves with their lot in life. If that was true, nobody would have burned witches, there would have been no laws against women owning property or having jobs, nobody would have considered wrapping up women’s bodies or binding their feet or cutting off their clits.

You know why you make laws and powerful social mores that enslave a group of people? Cause they scare the living shit out of you. Because they have a lot of power. Because they are people too. And those people do what people do, and they often do it by whatever means necessary and whatever they have in their power.

Yes, women were confined by the restrictions of the times and societies they lived in, but you find ways to negotiate power and get want you want even with the worst of restrictions. You make it work. You play the game (a la Dangerous Liasons). There are always women with voices and women who get shit done. Not just the daily living stuff, but the deliberate work of kicking your husband’s ass so he makes something of himself, getting your kids into worthwhile matches and positions, political backstabbing through gossip and rumor (and fashion!!), and whatever the hell else you have at your disposal. You use it because those are the only tools you have.

The tragedy of so much film and television and history books is pretending that these women never existed.

It makes me want to puke.

Looking Back

When archaeologists look back at something like this, what will they see? A religious complex? A city built to honor some god? A complex created to flee the mainland? A high-tech leper colony?

When I look at some of the gradiose projects we put together in our time for the amusement of the wealthy, I can’t help but think that everything we assume about the cities and monuments of the past is dead wrong.

1943 Guide to Hiring Women

Pure entertainment.

Here’s an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine – some tips for male supervisors looking to hire women.

“Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees: There’s no longer any question whether transit companies should hire women for jobs formerly held by men. The draft and manpower shortage has settled that point. The important things now are to select the most efficient women available and how to use them to the best advantage.

Here are eleven helpful tips on the subject from Western Properties:

1. Pick young married women. They usually have more of a sense of responsibility than their unmarried sisters, they’re less likely to be flirtatious, they need the work or they wouldn’t be doing it, they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.

2. When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Older women who have never contacted the public have a hard time adapting themselves and are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It’s always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.

3. General experience indicates that “husky” girls – those who are just a little on the heavy side – are more even tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.

4. Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination – one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit, but reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job.

5. Stress at the outset the importance of time the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.

6. Give the female employee a definite day-long schedule of duties so that they’ll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them, but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.

7. Whenever possible, let the inside employee change from one job to another at some time during the day. Women are inclined to be less nervous and happier with change.

8. Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. You have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.

9. Be tactful when issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can’t shrug off harsh words the way men do. Never ridicule a woman – it breaks her spirit and cuts off her efficiency.

10. Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl’s husband or father may swear vociferously, she’ll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears too much of this.

11. Get enough size variety in operator’s uniforms so that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can’t be stressed too much in keeping women happy.”

Yummy yummy.

The Civil War in 4 Minutes

I took a whole course on the Civil War, and being a history buff, it’s something I have some passing knowledge about (that is, more than most, but it’s not my interest or my specialty). That said, it didn’t occur to me how the north had won that battle, strategy-wise, until I saw this visual representation of the war from Lincoln’s election until the south surrendered.

For years, they just sort of hammered away at each other’s edges until they either got the idea or just finally managed to carve the south in two by working thier way down the Mississippi river. Sherman’s march to the sea was all about creating another line, cutting up the south once again, blocking off supplies and reinforcements from one part of the south to another. Once they got that Mississippi line down the middle, the south was screwed.

Great battle strategy stuff.