Women – I just Love them, as you can probably guess from my last few postings and as its Valentines Month and the 100th Anniversary (6th Feb) of Women getting the vote in the UK. I am trying my best to keep that focus in my blogs. Yes this is the fourth in the series of Dr Robs Valentine Lectures.
You know, women have been around for quite a while–– for more than a few centuries at least. It is true because I have read about them in the History Books in various university libraries. There are even a few of them mentioned in the Bible, but that may just be a jolly good novel and the figment of someone’s fervid imagination. In the History Books the women mentioned there are usually Queens, Pirates or Prostitutes; although in the History Books they are a bit more polite and called them Courtesans, probably because it was only the Judges in Court who could afford them.
Some people would suggest of course that women have generally been behind the successes of the great men. But it makes you wonder when you read about great men like Ghengis Khan, Alexandra, Julius Caesar and so on, because when they were out conquering the world they were away for about 20 years or more. I can’t believe they took their wives with them. Most women I know would balk at a two week camping holiday in the sun on the Costa’s let alone 20 years under canvas (more likely rancid Yak Skin) in the middle of the wild steppes somewhere. (Of course having the wife around would then put the mockers on all that drinking, raping and plundering that was par for the course back then).
Nevertheless it has to be said that there have been some women who have stamped their mark on history so let’s honour those women here and look at their significant role in shaping the world and made women what they are today.
Women who have changed the World
First on the list has to be Boadicea, or Boudicca meaning Victorious, was Queen of the Iceni tribe of East Anglia in what is now the UK. She led a rebellion in 60 A.D. against the Romans, destroying the cities of Colchester, St. Albans and capturing London. This was not a woman to be messed with. The sort of girl that you could take down the pub and then wouldn’t mind standing in the windy end of Twickenham watching the English team hammer the French (A traditional pastime continuing through the centuries). Indeed she would probably have to be physically restrained from joining in.
She was described by Cassius Dio, a Roman writer as being was very tall. Her eyes seemed to stab you. Her voice was harsh and loud. Her thick, reddish-brown hair hung down below her waist. What with all that destroying of cities and beating the shit out the Romans no wonder she seemed slightly hysterical to Cassius. Of course then they had no medicine like evening primrose oil or valium to calm the pre menstrual woman down.
Next has to be St Joan of Arc. Now to get to be a saint in those days was no mean feat. It’s not like today when any Tom, Dick or Harriet can become a saint. She started to have visions and talking to God when she was about 12. The girls of today don’t know what they are missing. I mean they are now so fixated on fashion, boys and looking at their phone that if they had a vision of the Holy Mother, they would probably put it down to the six Vodka and Red Bulls they had behind the bike sheds at school.
No, Joan was made of stronger stuff than that, she also seems to have been good at maths (another lesson to be learnt by today’s modern girl) why else would they have called her de Arc if it hadn’t been to do with her mastering of Pythagoras’s theorem.
She was also called the Maid of Orleans, which shows how good she was at cooking and stuff like cleaning and laying the table. In her spare time when not doing maths listening to God’s voice and cleaning up she also managed to defeat the English Army who were trying to take over France. Good for her, I say, what a female role model for today’s girl.
Further on in History we find another women Queen – Elizabeth 1st. It was Elizabeth who almost single-handedly invented the concept of perfume and make up. It is well known that the Queen never had a bath and covered herself in ointments, unction’s and aromatic oils to cover the rancid stink that rose from her body and through her black teeth. This caught on amongst the common people who only ever could wash when it rained and then usually in a muddy puddle as this was the Middle Ages and soap hadn’t been invented yet.
She was also a bit of a one with the men, although why she is called the ‘Virgin Queen’ is beyond me unless Richard Branson has invented a time machine and was sponsoring Elizabeth back in the 15th Century. She also enjoyed a romp or two with various Earls, which seemed to be a popular name back then. Like the strong women before her, even though she stunk, was bald and had a thing for guys called Earl (perhaps she was the first example of trailer trash too – remember Walter Raleigh invented America and chips, maybe some Earls went with him) she managed to beat the shit out of the French and the Spanish.
Bringing us up more up to date now let’s consider some modern women who, in my book, are significant role models for women and who have made them into what they are today. Looking through the History Books and the serious research papers like Hello and OK I can’t seem to find any modern women who have beaten the shit out of France or Spain. Of course this is only a minor hiccup and it would be shallow to suggest that to be a good modern role model one just has to have got one over our European Brothers and Sisters.
Ellen Macarthur for example did a good job at being a role model. What with sailing around the world faster than anybody else, even men and getting to be a Dame! She seems to revel in being alone (perhaps she too is a martyr to her PMS) and being in cramped dirty wet conditions, I think Ghengis Khan would have loved her and taken her to invade somewhere. But the thing with Ellen that lets her down is why o why o why did she have to play Dido constantly when she’s sailing around the world? Didn’t it get tedious Ellen? I know girls like girly music like Katie Melua and Suzanne Vega but surely when crashing through the southern ocean a bit of Motorhead or Green Day would do the trick. I can’t see her having a head full of pink candy floss thinking about what nail varnish to wear and forgetting to shut the back door, when the spinnaker needs changing in a force 10 gale. As of yet she hasn’t invaded anywhere or stopped an invasion by a foreign military power, which is, in my book, a bit of a failing, but she’s still young and maybe, just maybe, she might by now be hearing voices from God. Well we can hope anyway.
Ellen rocking the Joan de Arc look - or getting ready to invade somewhere
Looking at more contemporary women such as Beyonce (Knowles-Carter – just to separate her from the eleventy billion other Beyonce’s in the world.). We can recognise how the psyche of the women of the past such as Boudicca, Joan and Elizabeth still live in the modern woman. Like Joan, Beyonce is hailed as a saint for her philanthropy and good works. For example not wanting to emulate Elizabeth 1 she created a Cosmetology school. At first I though she was emulating Joan and becoming all religious and inventing her own religion like Scientology but I have learnt it’s all about make up. She certainly would have been a hit with the likes of Ghengis and the guys out on the steppes and probably would have made it into the History books as she has been described by writers as "Bootylicious" confirming that her eye has always been on the booty so plundering a city would come as second nature to her if she didn’t have her hands full with the twins. Rum and Coke.
So this is my way of saying to all you women out there, well done, think of the possibilities that await you in this big world, yes you might think that the pinnacle of your life is settling down in your pink fluffy slippers and dressing gown in front of Bridget Jones (who also made it onto the 2016 BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour’s Power List as one of seven women judged to have had the biggest impact on women's lives over the past 70 years – despite being a fictional woman) on a Saturday night with your man and a bottle of Cabernet but there’s a big wide world out there, so go and invade somewhere, ruffle a few feathers, become a saint – you know you can do it and this Valentines you know we love you all (except of course Margaret Thatcher who is still the most reviled woman on Earth despite being dead.)
PS Don't forget to Vote - you know it makes sense.
These women ruffled feathers.
On a more serious note:
Not all women were given the vote in 1918
Despite this year's quite rightly celebrated centenary, the legislation passed in 1918 did not give all women the right to vote.
Only those who were aged over 30 and home owners were eligible to head to the ballot box.
While this extended the right to vote to around 8.4 million women, it excluded many of the working-class.
Full suffrage for all women over the age of 21 was only granted a decade later on July 2 1928 with the Second Representation of the People Act.