Much of history is silence. perhaps too much.
The thousand tiny incidents which all build up to the big thing – the snippets of tales that make up the backbone of all the events that shaped the human story (or at the very least the Western history edition of that) – they fall silent, often, almost always, when they run up against a woman in the narrative. The accepted writ runs back just far enough to find a great man who might have had his fingers in a particular pie – and anything beyond that, that’s immaterial. There are suddenly doubts and fissures, it is never quite possible to be certain about the women in these men’s lives – or about any women who might have played any part at all – because the record becomes sketchy. There are those who will speak of Albert Einstein’s wife Mileva Maric as a gifted mathematician who helped shape Einstein’s thinking and had at least a passing role in the formulation of the theories which have shaped our physical world for a hundred years – but for every such account there is a counternarrative that Mileva was a wannabe who never amounted to much or would never have amounted to much anyway and is entirely dismissable as the “little woman” who played a rather larger role in stifling Einstein’s creative development than in helping it flower.
That’s just one example.
I’d like to see a version of history where all the lost women and their contributions would be acknowledged, brought into the light. And no, by that I don’t mean that I want a history written by Amazons who will erase the male presence from their world. But it would be nice, just once, to be acknowledged – in our own right, as the other half of our species – because of our own contribution to what the human race was, is, and is still in the process of becoming… and NOT just by bearing and nursing the children that will continue the species.
We are real, and we are alive, and we hold so much that is important and precious and wise.
It is time – past time! – for our voices to also be heard in the echoing silence of the narrative of human history.