When I was in college, for one of my classes in world history, I was assigned a textbook called “Herstory – the underside of History”. The premise is that human history has been written by the victors, men who for many years denied literacy to women. I began a critical examination of the history we are taught in school – tales of geopolitical conquest, tales of religious wars, tales of pharaohs and emperors, and concluded that these chapters are actually not that important. Not to our evolution as a species. Cultural and scientific breakthroughs, changes in the definition of family, the fall of matriarchies and the rise of patriarchies – these are the truly historical events. Lines drawn on a map, borders and country names changing as soldiers and warriors bled to crest a hill for the right to rename it – what we celebrate – it is all decidedly one-sided. “Progress” towards this goal of complete subjugation of the natural world is actually taking the human race backwards. The so-called Renaissance was the Dark Ages for woman’s rights – the Napoleonic Code and the blithe assumption that women are chattel was the opposite of a giant step forward for mankind.
Possessing a left and right brain working at full capacity in a society willing to accept only one per gender, I find that logic, reason, intellect, numbers, analytical thinking are not expected from one who pines to take brush to paper and paint EVERY branch of those stark trees silhouetted by the sunset. From one who works steadily at the art of turning a phrase like a lump on the potter's wheel, without knowing what shape it is going to take. And I wonder how many half-uttered thoughts died a-borning' because some pitiful pre-programmed inadequacy department determined that no-one wanted to hear them?
So I take much of what has been written with a grain of salt. There was a female Pharaoh named Hatshepsut who ruled one of most peaceful and abundant periods in Egyptian history. Her name was literally erased from history – the hieroglyphics were chiseled out of the stone monuments and tablets, her name was not included in the lists of rulers. I always picture that chisel and the chunks of stone where once there was wisdom whenever I read an account of the period I’ve been researching for the historical novel. Important contributions, I assume, will have been left out if those contributions were made by women.
Catherine G. Tripp writes for grownups, for the curious, for those who appreciate wry humor. Her work has been published in Pilcrow and Dagger, Wingless Dreamer, Reedsy, and she has read her work for several Zoom shows in 2020, including the Mask Monologues, Coffee and Grief and Creative Caffeine. Her recent writings and blog posts have been insightful, fast-paced, evocative essays about current events, and thought-provoking memoirs about the tangled branches of her family tree.