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Why the popular resonance of ‘mansplaining’ (despite the intense dislike of the term felt by many men)? It hits home for us because it points straight to what it feels like not to be taken seriously: a bit like when I get lectured on Roman history on Twitter.
Britain’s best known classicist Mary Beard, is also a committed and vocal feminist. With wry wit she shows how history has treated powerful women. With examples ranging from Medusa and Athena to Theresa May and Elizabeth Warren, Beard explores the cultural underpinnings of misogyny, considering the public voice of women, how we look at women who exercise power, our cultural assumptions about women’s relationship with power, and how powerful women resist being packaged into a male template.
With personal reflections on her own experiences of sexism online and the gendered violence she has endured as a woman in the public eye, Mary asks: if women aren’t perceived to be fully within the structures of power, isn’t it power that we need to redefine?
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