Why have there been no great women throughout history? I appropriate this question from Women Art and Power and Other Essays a book by Linda Nochlin. The question that was originally posed was: “why have there been no great women artists?”
This reading explores the reasons why women have not been in the spotlight throughout history and tries to answer this contentious question.
Firstly I would like to discuss the issue regarding the role of a woman in a patriarchal rule. The role, capabilities and even the story of women has always been told through the males perspective. As a result women have since been marginalised.
The ability of women has been suppressed by such a system. Only because she is of a weaker gender. I would like to stress the truth to that ideology – yes, women are generally weaker physically, however that notion doesn’t apply when we look at her non physical strengths.
Secondly, another argument posed is that there have been no great women artists because generally women are incapable of greatness. How does one come to such a conclusion when no opportunity has been presented to women to prove themselves, allowing them to oppose these narratives.
And thirdly, is the power debate. Men have always been in a position of power without feeling threatened because they’ve never had to share their position. They’ve claimed superiority without asking and passed laws without hesitating. This assertion of power has somehow deterred women from their glory.
Great and inspirational women who have defied patriarchal oppression have become the zeitgeist. Their strength transcends through their work ethic, intuition and unforgiving demeanour.
Today we celebrate and look up to so many successful and fearless women who lead homes, big corporations as well as countries. Women have taken full possession of their position in society and they are stirring up the power scale.
This hunger and determination to rise above the stereotypes is fuelled by independence, the right to equality and subliminal thoughts that we are more than what biology and history say we are. This zealous spirit to achieve beyond expectation has afforded women great opportunities in the work environment causing a sense of unrest to our male counterparts.
Today, we can confidently say that women are better leaders as generation of women are in leadership positions in very successful corporations.
Although there is still a lot that has to be done in order to change the ways in which we are socialised in order to overcome some lingering stereotypes.
Women are celebrated more today because we tell our own stories, set our limits and create our own destiny.
And yes, we are capable of greatness.