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Women & Power

A Manifesto
Narrated by: Mary Beard
Length: 1 hr and 35 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 back as Homer’s Odyssey, Beard shows, women have been prohibited from leadership roles in civic life, public speech being defined as inherently male. From Medusa to Philomela (whose tongue was cut out), from Hillary Clinton to Elizabeth Warren (who was told to sit down), Beard draws illuminating parallels between our cultural assumptions about women’s relationship to power - and how powerful women provide a necessary example for all women who must resist being vacuumed into a male template. 

With personal reflections on her own online experiences with sexism, Beard asks: If women aren’t perceived to be within the structure of power, isn’t it power itself we need to redefine? And how many more centuries should we be expected to wait?

©2017 Mary Beard (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"[A] sparkling and forceful manifesto... The book is a straight shot of adrenaline." (Parul Sehgal, New York Times)

"Beard's thrilling manifesto turns to ancient times to find the seeds of misogyny, beginning with Homer's Odyssey (the first instance of a woman told to shut up) and continuing through Elizabeth Warren's 2017 silencing in the Senate. An irresistible call for women to speak up, act and redefine their power." (People)

"Beard is our most famous classicist, with a gift for bringing ancient Greece and Rome alive on the page like no one else. She is a writer of exceptional erudition and biting wit, and reading her is always a pleasure. This latest manifesto...is no exception... Beard has written an indictment, perhaps her most uncompromising to date, of an ancient past that she is hardly asking us - has never unequivocally asked us - to celebrate. As far as women are concerned, in relation to this ancestral legacy, there is very little to be proud about... The question I finally take from this brilliant book is: what would such power - no rape, no guns, no shutting up of women - look like?" (The Guardian)

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