In her BBC documentary and recent book, historian and author Amanda Foreman unveils the true role of  women throughout human civilization.

Unveiling Women`s History: Inside The Amanda Foreman's Documentary

 

Changing perspective

“But wot ‘ave women ever done?” shouted someone in the back. “I am content . . . that we should be classed with the common people, who keep the world going,” – states The Convert (1907) by Elizabeth Robins. Indeed, along the history women have been in a shadow. But now Amanda Foreman, an author and historian, is going to unveil the truth. Her “The Ascent of Woman” series on BBC tell the story of women in civilization in four parts and her recent book The World Made By Women: A History of Women From the Apple to the Pill will shed light on the role of women in history.

Unveiling Women`s History: Inside The Amanda Foreman's Documentary

Unveiling Women`s History: Inside The Amanda Foreman's Documentary

The first main task for Dr. Foreman was to initiate public conversation. “That was more important than anything else. If [these women] are invisible,” – she says. “Then it doesn’t really matter how important they are, because in the public consciousness they don’t exist.” So it was crucial to get them out there with “The Ascent of Woman.” And the reaction was astonishing. Social media accepted it stunningly.

The series last 4 hours, answer and illustrate several important questions about the origins of patriarchy: How is it that structural power ended up in the hands of men? Why did we end up being the second sex? Was it always this way? Is it biology being our destiny, or is it something else? How is it that men ended up co-opting the public space and women were confined to the domestic space all over the world in every culture? Why is that? How did that come about? The answer to all of these questions does not lie on the surface. “They’re not miasmas in the atmosphere,” as Dr. Foreman says. “They didn’t magically come down to us. And anything that can be made can be unmade. That’s the difference between reality and magic”. So, the series cover issues of marriage, education, religion throughout the Middle Ages to modern days.

Unveiling Women`s History: Inside The Amanda Foreman's Documentary

About the book

The World Made By Women is a narrative history of women from prehistory to present day. “ It’s the most joyous and in a way utterly inspiring project,” – claims Dr. Foreman. “Because I’m basically writing a history of the world, right back to the very beginning, to the dawn of humanity and civilization, and I’m doing it because I want to shift the perspective.” She tries to narrate an alternative story. We got used to think that men are made for hunting and women for taking care of a cave and children. But it turns out that this might not be true. As we know from modern hunting and gathering societies, meat provides less than half the nutrients that these societies depend on. Therefore, women who gathered might have been the main providers. Going further, the literture was invented by a woman.  Enheduanna, High Priestess of the moon god Nannain the Sumerian city-state, is the first named literary author in history.

Unveiling Women`s History: Inside The Amanda Foreman's Documentary

 

However, there were some challenges in depicting stories of everyday women. Obviously, what we know a lot about is lives of the elite. There is almost no information about ordinry people or slaves unless there is any kind of written or tangible record left after them. But Dr. Foremanhas another atitude then relying only on diaries. “You can look at parish statistics and see changes in labor patterns, changes in the age people got married, changes in when people decided to have children or not, and that can help you get a general view of non-elite light, but actually getting their voices, what they thought and what they said that can be very, very difficult the farther back you go.”

In short, the book featuresthe experiences of individuals with those of the ‘common people…who keep the world going’. Dr. Foremanhas vividly demonstrates what has changed about women’s lives and what has endured. Our civilization`s timeline  has a rich history that should be appreciated. So check out Dr. Foremanhas` recent book and series.

Unveiling Women`s History: Inside The Amanda Foreman's Documentary

 

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