Girl power sounds better but it doesn’t work for me.
In the car recently I was listening to the soundtrack to Six, as I am frequently doing these days. My oldest remarked to a friend, “My mom is slightly obsessed with Six.” I responded that actually, I’m slightly obsessed with Woman Power things and Six fits in there.
Six, if you aren’t familiar with it, is a musical about the six wives of Henry VIII. They each get a song about their life and time as queen. In the show, they perform together as a ‘girl band’ and are competing to see who had it toughest. Catherine Parr, the sixth of his wives, sings this:
Got married to the king
Became the one who survived
I’ve told you about my life
The final wife
But why should that story
Be the one I have to sing about
Just to win? I’m out
That’s not my story
There’s so much more
Remember that I was a writer
I wrote books and songs and meditations
Fought for female education
So all my women could independently
I even got a woman to paint my picture
Why can’t I tell that story?
‘Cause in history
I’m fixed as one of six
And without him
We all disappear
The final song has the six of them rewriting their stories. In many ways it’s funny, but it’s also such a strong message about women’s role in history. And about how women navigated that role to make the best of the situation.
As I’m listening to Six on repeat I’ve also been reading the first two books in the trilogy by Theodora Goss, The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club. The series begins with Mary Jekyll, the daughter of Dr. Jekyll. She is soon joined by Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.
Both of the first two books (and I assume the third, and final which I will have soon) are about 700 pages. That’s more than I would normally take on during a school year. But I’ve read both of these in the past few months. The women all working together, supporting one another, functioning in a world designed and catering to men, is hitting me just right at the moment.
And I’m feeling lucky to be among many brilliant, thoughtful, generous women in every aspect of my life.