This morning I finished the novel “The Power” by Naomi Alderman. The novel is a reversal of The Handmaid’s Tale – in this dystopian world, the women hold all the power instead of the men. Both are written in a similar style, a historian from the future reporting on events form the past, long forgotten, and not quite comprehensible by the present society. In this future society, men have become the nurturers and women the warriors due to a change in women’s physiology. Without evidence and/or artifacts from the past, individuals from the future find it difficult to understand that at one time men were dominant and deem any such thoughts to be untrue. In “The Power” a man writes the history as a novel and a woman is the editor. The end of the novel is an exchange of correspondence between the two about how credible the work is or isn’t and given that it might not be, perhaps it would be better for the novel to be published under a woman’s pseudonym. Quite the reversal of what we often see.
This afternoon I went to see the movie, “The Post.” It was very well done. I am old enough to remember the publishing of The Pentagon Papers and the outcome from their impact. What struck me in this movie was how the female owner of TheWashington Post was treated by many of the men surrounding her. There were some who treated her as an authority, but there were many other who were condescending and did not think she was able to make a tough decision for herself and her newspaper. In a less than subtle way men were portrayed to have the “power.”
From morning to afternoon I saw two different perspective and saw gender power in two different lights. What struck me is that as a society there are times when we don’t honor and appreciate individuals for who they are and what they bring to the table. What is the “power” each of us has? Is it related to our gender or the role we assume? No answers here, it was just a day with an opportunity for reflection.