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Debate of the Month 2

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  Quote Mila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Debate of the Month 2
    Posted: 31-Jul-2006 at 22:14
DEBATE of the month

Has the general understanding of women's history been shaped by men in order to conform to societal practices that oppress women?

I love belly dancing. I know most every style and movement, even those I'm not yet able to do (stupid Egyptians and the swords balancing on their heads while they spin as fast as figure skaters).

Belly dancing is, today, understood primarily as an Eastern form of seduction. It is most notably remembered as an Islamic style of dance originating from harems. Concubines did well to attract the attention of their masters and they developed elaborate methods - including dress, make-up, and - yes - belly dancing in order to achieve this goal.

Belly dancing is, we're led to believe, something that was invented for the pleasure of men.

In reality, there is an abundance of evidence that suggests belly dancing pre-dates Islam and was actually born as a method of female worship, dedicated to female divinities.

We'll never know the truth because the men who, more often than women recorded history, did not record it as such. Is this a fair assessment?

I believe it is, and I believe there are countless other examples littered throughout history.

At the same time, there is history that has been passed down by men that relates to women. Famous females like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc and others were remembered mainly by men. Our understanding of them today is certainly framed by male eyes but it is a detailed understanding that shreds any idea that women were purposely forgotten from history entirely.

There are also histories that have been passed down through women. An example would be rural villages throughout the former Yugoslavia where women, and only women, know exactly which plants can be used for which purpose and how to properly prepare them. This may not sound like a very impressive aspect of history but every plant comes with a story of women from centuries in the past and the circumstances that surrounded their use of it. Legends and myths, and a little bit of fact.

So - do you agree with the statement at the beginning of this post - why or why not? Share examples, possible solutions, ideas - whatever comes to mind.
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  Quote Mila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Aug-2006 at 01:06
The idea for this debate came from one of Komnenos' threads. http://www.allempires.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=13253&KW=homer+woman. When it was mentioned that the poem is too complex to have been written by a male, in one person's opinion, it made me wonder... would women have really remembered history vastly differently? Did women contribute significantly to historical memory as it is already or not? Etc.

I think women might have recorded history differently. Certainly the "good old days" wouldn't be remembered as such. Early Islamic history wouldn't be remembered as a paradise for women but as a time of hard work and more rewards for them, more rights - but people still died of infections caused by thorn scratches and things like this. Hmmm...
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  Quote morticia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Aug-2006 at 16:15
Mila, I'm not really sure what to respond here. I'm a bit confused as to the point you are trying to make. As I see it, women's oppression was something women were not even aware of. Women were traditionally raised to bow down to men and not trained to do anything else but please him and maintain a house, bear children and protect the family unit. That, in and of itself, is a HUGE job for any woman. Just being a housewife and mother(even in the modern world)is a 24/7 job. Historically, I don't think women knew that they were "oppressed" simply because that's how life was back then. Women had no time for anything else.

Mila, due to the lack of response from forumers here, I think maybe everyone else is also missing the point of this thread.   Do you mind elaborating a bit more? Thanks!
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  Quote Mila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Aug-2006 at 16:32
I suppose what I'm wondering is if you think the memory of women's history is wrong. Could it be possible, for example, that most of Europe was matriarchial in the Dark Ages, or that Alexander the Great's mother was the one who conquered Greece, or whatever else you could imagine... is it possible that women's history as we understand is is wrong simply because we went through patriarchial phases and everything was remembered according to the objectives and points of view of men, etc...
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  Quote Master_Blaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Aug-2006 at 20:22

*chauvinistic response*LOL

 

Nope. Women's history is not wrong. If we left it up to women to write history, it would have never been written - you women are so indecisive and melodramatic!

 

*a bit more serious response*

 

I think herstory would have been written much more differently. All you have to do is take a look at how non-Western history was written by the Western Europeans it turned out to be highly ethnocentric, chauvinistic, and inaccurate. No doubt, herstory, would have presented a more positive view (and probably one more accurate as well) of women.
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  Quote morticia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Aug-2006 at 15:56
Originally posted by Master_Blaster

No doubt, herstory, would have presented a more positive view (and probably one more accurate as well) of women.


True, but remember that historical women did not have the right to an education, did not have the right to get a job outside the home, did not have the right to participate in men's conversations, did not have the right to vote or participate in any political debates, did not have the right to live an adventurous life, etcetera. Women's role was that of being a wife and procreating. Women were totally dependent upon her male counterpart for survival!      
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  Quote akritas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Aug-2006 at 16:22
Originally posted by Mila

that Alexander the Great's mother was the one who conquered Greece, \
Maybe should know  of course dear Mila the name and the origin of Alexander mother before make again your known  arbitrarilies conclusions
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  Quote Master_Blaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Aug-2006 at 16:36
Originally posted by morticia

Originally posted by Master_Blaster

No doubt, herstory, would have presented a more positive view (and probably one more accurate as well) of women.


True, but remember that historical women did not have the right to an education, did not have the right to get a job outside the home, did not have the right to participate in men's conversations, did not have the right to vote or participate in any political debates, did not have the right to live an adventurous life, etcetera. Women's role was that of being a wife and procreating. Women were totally dependent upon her male counterpart for survival!      
 
And that is why women were viewed so negatively as well. They were considered as "booty" or "spoils of  war" and not much thought was given to their suffering. Notice that MEN (in the guise of male historians) have been responsible for romanticizing war, and glorifying generals, and the soldiering profession while ignoring the fact that many of these so-called "skilled military generals" (i.e. Alexander the Great) were responsible for the mass rapes of women and their enslavement?
 
Had a woman actually written history, then no doubt, that in our schools, we would not be taught about what a great leader or conqueror Genghis Khan or Attila the Hun were - we'd be taught that they were pigs and rapists.
 
^^^ And that would be a far more accurate discription!
 
 


Edited by Master_Blaster - 08-Aug-2006 at 16:48
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  Quote akritas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Aug-2006 at 16:51
Originally posted by Master_Blaster

 And that is why women were viewed so negatively as well. They were considered as "booty" or "spoils of  war" and not much thought was given to their suffering. Notice that MEN (in the guise of male historians) have been responsible for romanticizing war, and glorifying generals, and the soldiering profession while ignoring the fact that many of these so-called "skilled military generals" (i.e. Alexander the Great) were responsible for the mass rapes of women and their enslavement?
 

Just to add  that sources to mention rapes(we the today derivation) and  e.t.c. we don't have recorded. The sexual possession of these bearers of status, whether legitimatedby marriage or not, was a particularly powerful symbol of victory-a kind of second victory, both sexual and military, over the males to whom the women had belonged. Victory as rape and conquest as sexual union were commonplaces of Greek literature, metaphors but more than metaphors

Thus, that Alexander came into control of the women of the Persian royal family and other women of the Persian elite after the battle of Issus in 333 BC meant both that he had achieved a real victory and that he had acquired a potent set of symbols of that victory which he could manipulate to his own ends in the varying contexts of Greek,and Persian audiences. However, these Persian women were or could be,thanks to another old Greek literary tradition, dangerously ambiguous symbols to the Greeks .

The family of Alexander's mother, the Aeacids, asserted their essential Hellenism via connection to the great saga of Troy, not only by claiming descent from Achilles, through his son Neoptolemus, but also from Andromache,the captive of Neoptolemus.The strong influence of the story of Troy in Greek literature has created the image of a male Greek conquering and taking captive an Asian woman.

By the 5th  century and after the  Greeks had defined themselves as superior because they had defeated Asians, Trojans and Persians had been conflated, and by then both were characterized as mere barbarians. Thus the capture  and marriege of Asian women by Greeks could be understood as part of the victory of civilization over barbarism.



Edited by akritas - 08-Aug-2006 at 16:54
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  Quote Master_Blaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Aug-2006 at 17:05
I don't care for any justifications for it. Rape is rape and it is a heinous crime and male historians were wrong in glorifying such scoundrels and sexual predators such as Alexander, Attila, Genghis Khan, and so many others.
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  Quote akritas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Aug-2006 at 17:08
Originally posted by Master_Blaster

I don't care for any justifications for it. Rape is rape and it is a heinous crime and male historians were wrong in glorifying such scoundrels and sexual predators such as Alexander, Attila, Genghis Khan, and so many others.
Agree with you, but we must consider also the circumstances(historical,social and political) in the era that we want to critisize.
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  Quote Master_Blaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Aug-2006 at 17:20
No, we don't need to take anything into consideration when it involves RAPE! It has always been wrong! And will always be wrong!
 
I can excuse the mass slaughter of able-bodied males who may have posed a threat to the conqueror, or the enslavement of these males, but I can never excuse rape. When Alexander was on top of a woman and she was screaming "No! Please no!" and trying to fight him off - he would have known that what he was doing was immoral, and a crime. The same goes for every other scumbag "warrior" who thought it was his "right" to rape as many enemy women as he could.
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  Quote morticia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Aug-2006 at 12:30
[QUOTE=Master_Blaster] No, we don't need to take anything into consideration when it involves RAPE! It has always been wrong! And will always be wrong! /QUOTE]

Well said, MB! I agree 100% There are absolutely NO EXCUSES when it comes to rape!    
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  Quote Master_Blaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Aug-2006 at 20:28
Thank you morticiaApprove
 
This is another example of how herstory may have been written differently. Too often, male historians have glorified war and excused the atrocities committed against women during wartime. We must never let male historians' version of history interfere with out view of sexual predators, and violators of women such as Alexander "the Great"!
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  Quote morticia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2006 at 10:47
Originally posted by Master_Blaster

This is another example of how herstory may have been written differently. Too often, male historians have glorified war and excused the atrocities committed against women during wartime. We must never let male historians' version of history interfere with out view of sexual predators, and violators of women such as Alexander "the Great"!

    
You're right, MB! It's almost as if women were the "booty prize" after a long day of battle for the men. It sickens me!
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  Quote Master_Blaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Aug-2006 at 21:07
morticia,
 
I don't know what is more disturbing, that soldiers would take possession of an enemy's women and do with them as they please, or that male historians have simply brushed this terrible part of history aside and excused it as "the spoils of war" or as "casualties of war"!
 
To the rape victim, I do not feel that she views or viewed herself as a "prize" for the victors or war or as a "spoil" or "casualty" or "unavoidable consequence" of war. It's truly disgusting that men would view it in such an unimportant and excusable manner.
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  Quote Mila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Aug-2006 at 14:01
I think, at the time, women expected as much. Women's place in society was completely reliant on the men and I believe they saw nothing wrong, in essence, with being included in the failures of the men they chose. I'm not saying they liked what happened to them, but I don't believe they were shocked that it happened.

When the Sultans changed, the harems changed. The favorites were given comfortable retirement homes, most were set out on the street, many were killed. The thing is, they never expected anything different. When your Sultan died, that was it. You could be dead tomorrow, that's how it goes.

I think most women handled these things with a level of strength and dignity, honor, and all these male qualities that goes unnoticed. And that's what annoys me most about this situation.
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  Quote Master_Blaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Aug-2006 at 16:42
Being a concubine is different than being the child of a commoner and having your entire life shattered by some ruthless soldiers who think they have the right to do with you as they please b/c they are the conquer and you are the conquered.
 
Speaking of sultans, I was watching the history channel the other day and they stated that the Turkish sultan of India, Akbar had 300 wives and 5,000 concubines in his harem. How does a single man satisfy so many women? I have trouble with one! :(
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  Quote morticia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Aug-2006 at 23:11
Originally posted by Master_Blaster

Speaking of sultans, I was watching the history channel the other day and they stated that the Turkish sultan of India, Akbar had 300 wives and 5,000 concubines in his harem. How does a single man satisfy so many women?

    
The sultan still has some catching up to football player, Wilt Chamberlain, who publicly admitted bedding 20,000 women in his lifetime. I don't understand it! Is that supposed to make them proud?
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  Quote LilLou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Sep-2006 at 14:09
No it doesn't make them proud but 20,000 women that's like 4 women a dayConfused
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