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C07P32 – It was me

C07P32 – It was me published on 34 Comments on C07P32 – It was me

Thank you to everyone that helped brainstorm community events last update. I’ve got some exciting ideas that I’m going to consider. Expect to see some exciting and fun events come April!

LeyLines was reviewed on Your Webcomics! thanks to the fantastic support you all showed in the poll Jack ran last month. Thank you so much!

I’ve been researching early histories of different cultures and today, while reading about Japan, had an interesting thought. You see, Japan’s early history had two very intense, very powerful, very larger-than-life women in it. One ruled the country as both spiritual and military leader, was rumored to consort with kami or oni, and may be the origin of the Ameterasu (sun goddess) myths. The other invaded Korea while pregnant and won. These ladies did NOT mess around! In fact, most of the female figures from history that we DO hear about seem so hard-core that their stories are just too good to be forgotten…but many aren’t quite memorable enough to make the cut.

Other research found numerous female figures that had their names purposefully removed from historic accounts so they would not be remembered, had their deeds attributed to male heirs, or simply had their names and likenesses changed to men as histories were passed down. It made me wonder, how much of our own history are we missing, because it was erased before we could read it? And what about the figures that remain, the Joan of Arcs and Amelia Earharts and Empress Jingo-kogos, made them resist the brush of history that crossed out so many of their peers?

What’s your favorite female figure from history or legend?

34 Comments

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Oh! I was trying to remember the name of one woman whose story I thought was pretty awesome, and found such a wall of names here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Women_in_Medieval_warfare. I thought that was pretty awesome. Of course, as a Quebecker and a former Catholic, I always dug Ste. Jeanne d’Arc, but Nicola de la Haye was super awesome, too. She held her castle against a siege for a month in her 60s back in 1215ish.

Having studied Japanese literature as my major, I also loved the “original” Kojiki and Nihongi texts about Amaterasu, which describe the dance used to entice her out of the cave as quite erotic – it was a strip dance performed by a female goddess, and Amaterasu is lured out wanting a better look. The video game “Okami” totally gives this a nod by having the she-wolf version of Amaterasu literally drool over sexy ladies.

One of the foundational writers of the Japanese canon, Murasaki Shikibu, is now known only by that affectionate nickname. In her time, women were publicly known and recorded only by the men in their lives and nicknames. Softening that awfulness, men were also known publicly by their titles, though their names were properly recorded. This is reflected in her “Tale of Genji” (arguably the first true novel ever), where many modern editions both in Japanese and English have created names for the characters, because their titles change throughout the book and it can become terribly confusing. She and Sei Shonagon had to balance their considerable educations against what was acceptable for women in their time, and they remain among Japan’s most celebrated writers.

That one is easy. Joan of Arc, Amelia Earhart… Died. Not JUST died, but died while trying to do or after doing something that is ‘strictly men!’. So men let us tell their tales, because we percieve it as ’empowering women’ while in truth it is more like… Yeah they did that, but look at the price they paid :p

The other name, I’ll have to look up.

I can see your point, and I do think many stories survive (or are altered) to reinforce cultural norms.

Still, there are many other female figures in history and legend that are known for many other things than “they died”. Queen Elizabeth, Cleopatra, Susan B. Anthony, Marie Curie…These are just the ones that are on the top of my head, and none of them are famous for how they died, but how they lived.

It’s not a great situation, but it’s not entirely hopeless either. 🙂

Cleopatra died. With Snakes :p

I’m sure that with a good look into it, I could find some sort of cynical pessimistic reason men have let them be remembered, and be all sexist and anti-male, but… Not my style. I actually avocate that the Suffrage should have never happened, at least not on the political and economic front. That is a LONG discussion for a different year, though.

I friggin luff your comic *little hearts*

My favorite historical female badass is Empress Theodora of the Byzantine empire. (Possible) Former whore who entranced the emperor so much he changed the laws so he could be with her and proceeded to use his wealth to create programs for education, literacy, and aid for the homeless, whores, and those their society looked down on. When Constantinople was attacked by riots, her hubby and the court were prepared to abdicate/flee, but she convinced them it was better to die fighting for their beliefs.

I hadn’t heard of Empress Theodora! She sounds like a pretty amazing lady! I will have to do more research on her…

She’s a difficult one to research because there are three different histories from her and Justinian’s (her hubby) time period that are all partially valid. Two official histories by two different authors and one unofficial history by one of the same authors. She goes from being actor to whore to fortune teller and goes from being a pious social worker to a slut who would have sex with anyone. It’s fascinating to watch the dichotomy if nothing else. Seeing how the historians dealt with a woman who was as or more powerful than her emperor is really fun.

This page speaks for so many children of divorce (or those who’s father/mother were never there). So much blame they place on their very young, very fragile shoulders. Guilt for something they were really never responsible for.

Ah, Kali, it’s not your fault, though I’m not sure anyone is going to be able to convince you otherwise…

Most of my favourite female figures from legends and myths are goddesses, particularly the goddess Athena. Seriously, the Greeks were awesome, they actually had a female war deity, who was also a goddess of wisdom and knowledge. Plus, Artemis being a goddess of hunting… seriously, that is cool.

Other mythologies, however…. yeah, as much as I love Chinese mythology, I can’t remember any good female deities… well, except for Kuan-yin.

When I was doing research for Project Minotaur OCT, I was really impressed by the Greek Goddesses. I’ve heard some theories that this time period represented a major shift from a matriarchal society to a patriarchal society. So many of the goddesses were remnants of the culture’s female-dominated history, passed down in legend.

The Greek gods were seriously screwed up. They had so many psychological issues, and a SERIOUS lack of ethics and morals.

True. Which is why I find many of them more honest representations of repressed elements of the human psyche than a lot of the more “pure” presentations of religion. When gods hated a person in Greek mythology, they did indeed have a plan. It involved spite. Lots and lots of spite.

…although that may not have been as much a cause for introspection and faith as the “mysterious ways” concept…

I cannot remember her name at the moment, but there was an Egyptian woman who bullied, schemed, and manipulated her way into the regency for the young Pharaoh, and when he died young (many believe she assassinated him, IIRC), she declared herself Pharaoh because there were no male heirs. She was so badass that she bullied the Egyptians into accepting her, was called ‘king’ by the people she dealt with (rather than Queen), and wore the traditional Pharaoh’s garb (with no shirt) because she was badass enough that nobody dared comment that she wasn’t wearing proper clothing for a woman – because they accepted that she was, indeed, the gods’ vessel on Earth like the Pharaohs before her. She won several important military victories and everyone was terrified of her. She’s the reason we have female sphinxes. Because she made them make one for her. She even wore the fake beard, because she was just that cool.

I loved reading about her. She took no crap from anyone and gave as good as she got. I feel awful that I don’t remember her name, since she, and the Agatha Christie historical mystery “Death Comes As The End”, are pretty much all I remember from my Egyptian History unit in middle school XD

Well, it sounds like Hatshepsut mixed with fiction or someone else. But your story about her is probably a bit less cool individually when you know that ancient Egpytian only had one, gender neutral, term for the Pharaoh, that Hatshepsut wasn’t the first and far from the last female Pharaoh, and women *were* in a position much more similar to the modern Western world than to, say, ancient Rome or Greece. Women could inherit and own property, and were generally treated with respect – coruling was not uncommon and courtly ladies were expected to serve in courtly roles just like men.
Also, the lower classes of Egypt wore significantly less clothing than the upper classes, so her breasts wouldn’t have been all that offensive. That said, the Pharaoh’s regalia she’s depicted in were not actually worn by any Pharaoh, including her. That stuff was symbolic of the Pharaoh’s religious ties to Osiris. Egyptians shaved from head to toe, men and woman both, and wore wigs made of human hair. The false beard of Pharaohs is a symbolic thing; people probably didn’t bother with fake facial hair.

Hatshepsut was really, really cool, but not for those reasons. After her early military campaigns (successful), she had one of the most peaceful reigns, marked by advances in art and architecture. The expedition to the Land of Punt was incredibly important, too.

*shrug* I did mention that it was the only thing I remembered from Middle School history which was not only several years ago, but also taught by (I did not mention this part) a radical feminist who always tried to put some kind of big social push into her lessons.

And I didn’t remember (or know) the fact that she had a very peaceful reign after her military campaigns, but that is pretty nifty. Learn something new every day! 😀

In fact it is true that Hatshepsut used to appear as a male in the statues representing her, bu this may be attributed to the Egyptian art as a whole. The statues of all the pharaohs, except, maybe, for the epoch of Akhenaten, were not portraits, they were idealized figures of a “strong youthful ruler”. Hatshepsut’s figure, IIRC, was more Queen Victoria like.

Oh god, Kali, don’t do that to yourself. [all the sad-faces)

You and SkySong are going to drive up the cost of sad faces, due to the sudden increase in demand. I’m not sure sad face vendors will have the stock to keep up! 😉

Dolley Madison. I learned about her recently. While the founding fathers were off constitution-ing, women ran things. Well, they ran everything no matter what, from social life to the maintaining that makes daily life possible, they’re just not credited for it. It wasn’t President Madison running Montpelier or the White House. It was Dolley.

I’ve been reading through the archives telling myself not to join three year old conversations, but I just can’t believe no one has mentioned Rejected Princesses. I mean. Wow. (http://www.rejectedprincesses.com/) It’s just so perfect in regards to this discussion.

(Also: Hi Robin! I’m back! Until I catch up again anyway. ^^)

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