November 9, 2010


Recently, one of my magazines reported that Angelina Jolie will take the part of Cleopatra in an upcoming film based on a biography written by Stacy Schiff.  Apparently the writer pieced together her information from documents left behind by the queen’s enemy, Octavian. No direct history of her exists as the papyrus documents crumbled and vanished in the humid Egyptian climate long ago. Even so, the mystic of the woman outlives the memory of her enemies. 

That Cleopatra’s story comes to us through the eyes of a man is far from unique.  Most of history is written by men and as such, the lives of many remarkable women have been have been marginalized or tossed into the dust bin of oblivion.  Even today, one has to take a college course in women’s studies to discover a few of them. Even today, while everyone believes American woman are fully equal in our society, there are fewer women in the US House and Senate than in previous years. Few women occupy in the highest rungs of corporate power and those listed as CEOs of smaller companies are largely the women who started them.

True, we can rejoice that 3 females sit on the Supreme Court, but their presence is hardly representative. Women comprise 51% of the population.

As to other forms of wealth and power, women still tend to inherit them through their deceased husbands.

I can hear my readers yawn, the women as well as the men. Society is inured to the inequality and too easily pleased with miniscule progress. If this recitation of facts about a woman’s place in our culture seems stale, it is only because the inequality has lasted so long.