Hi everybody! I know I have been gone from the internet for a bit again, but it is hard to write a post when you seem to travel every Sunday to a different place. I should be home for a little while now, so the posts should get more consistent again.
So, while I was away on vacation the world decided to take a turn for the chaotic. What with the recent events in Baghdad, Bangladesh, Istanbul, Dallas and France it seems you can hardly read the news without bearing witness to the hatred and rivalry brewing worldwide. Not to mention the growing tension between American police and minority communities (a tension that has been around for a long time, might I add). Remember that “otherness” I was talking about? It doesn’t seem to be getting better.
Hatshepsut and Why I Love Her So Much
However, I did read a really good book, so let’s focus on that. I recently finished a book called The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt by Kara Cooney, and I have a whole new appreciation for my favorite ancient monarch. The author sets out to explore why Hatshepsut’s reign alone seems to have been successful in the ancient world. Other female rulers only lasted a few years at best and always rose in a crisis. Hatshepsut rose to power in times of peace and then maintained that power for something like twenty years.
I won’t tell you how it ends or even really the details, as I couldn’t possibly do it better than Kara Cooney, but you should definitely consider reading it if you have any love for ancient cultures or have any interest in feminism/the female role in modern society.
I will say that I have held great affection for Hatshepsut since was about eleven and I first heard of her. In 9th grade I named my bottle rocket Hatshepsut in her honor. This book has made me love her even more. I had no idea the level of religious ritual associated with being pharaoh in Egypt before reading this book. I knew that pharaoh’s were religious figures as well as leaders of the Egyptian government, but I simply had no idea how time consuming the rituals they performed were before reading this book.
However, it was clearly Hatshepsut’s religious associations that allowed her to ascend to power without causing societal turmoil back in her day. It appears that she merely used the system in place to her best advantage and it is remarkable. She had to do more maneuvering as her reign continued, but in the beginning it was simply a dynastic and religious necessity that promoted her to power. Then, in one of the greatest ironies, despite the groundwork she laid for Thutmose III and his success as pharaoh, women are systematically prevented from ruling so completely that it isn’t until well into the Ptolemaic Dynasty and Cleopatra that we see one. Basically, you should just read it. It’s absolutely fascinating.
It made me think about what it means to be a woman in Western society and why it is still so difficult for women to hold and maintain power- even in democratic societies. Of course, many democratic societies around the world have voted women into powerful positions (and many have a far better record of doing so than the United States), but I am now curious to see how well-received these rulers have been and whether they have been judged by the same standards that their male counterparts have been. I know for a fact that isn’t the case in the United States.
As many issues as I have with Hilary Clinton, the last thing I want being discussed about a female candidate for presidency is how Elizabeth Warren and she matched at the event they were at together. I’ve never heard the fact that ALL male candidates tend to wear black or blue suits and red or blue ties as they are on stage together being discussed. Talk about the things that really make a difference in the substance of her proposed policies and/or political actions- not the way she looks. Please. (I am also tired of hearing about Donald Trump’s orange skin and hair, by the way).
Neoverse December 2015 Anthology Update
Anyway, you should definitely consider reading that book. As for “my” book, I have no clue when it will actually be released. I have been put in touch with a PR guy (which feels really weird to say) and have answered a questionnaire, so I know that they are focusing on marketing the book now, so I am crossing my fingers that it will come out soon.
I think that’s all for this week, folks. Here’s hoping a happier world emerges soon. Even if that doesn’t happen- happy reading! I will talk to you all next week!