For the past twenty-five hundred years in Western culture, the ideal woman has been disciplined by cultural codes that require a closed mouth (silence), a closed body (chastity), and an enclosed life (domestic confinement). . .
Rhetoric always inscribes the relation of language and power at a particular moment (including who may speak, who may listen or who will agree to listen, and what can be said); therefore, canonical rhetorical history has represented the experience of males, powerful males, with no provision or allowance for females. . .
Except for rhetoric, no intellectual endeavor—not even the male bastion of philosophy—has so consciously rendered women invisible and silent. . . .
So how are we doing (if we are citizens of Western culture now)?
Here’s a quiz:
1) In 2007, for every dollar a man earns in the U.S., a woman earns:So how are we doing? What do the numbers say? And how did you do? You may have recognized the correct answer for each question is “A.”
A. 77 cents
B. 84 cents
C. 92 cents
D. the same
2) In the most recent count during the past decade, for every dollar a man earns in the following seven countries respectively (Portugal, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, and Canada), a woman earns:
A. 92, 91, 91, 89, 88, 87, and 86 cents
B. 93 cents (woman’s dollar to man’s) in all seven countries
C. 96 cents (woman’s dollar to man’s) in all seven countries
D. women earn the same as men in all seven countries
3) In 2007, women make up what percent of Canada’s Members of Parliament?
4) In 2007, women make up what percent of the U.S. Senate?
5) In 2007, women make up what percent of the U.S. Congress generally?
6) In 2007, women make up what percent of the state legislatures in the U.S. (with percentages of all fifty states averaged)?
7) In 2007, what percent of tenured professors at PhD-granting universities in the U.S. are women?
8) In 2007, what percent of Fortune 500 CEOs in the U.S. are women?
9) In 2007 (by measures so far), what percentage of the speakers at web conferences are women?
10) In 2007, how many of the 28 translators of the newly published English translation of the Greek Septuagint are women?
The real question is whether answer A ought to be “correct” this late in the history of men and women.
(I also wonder whether Frank Miller really had to have Sparta’s Queen Gorgo agree to be unfaithful in her marriage just to earn the right to speak to the all-male Council on behalf of her husband, her city, and her nation. She did. That is, she did sleep with a scoundrel, but she also did have to do that. In 2007, Miller gets it right. We must continue to revise the history of the rhetoric of women until it’s correct. Miller’s film adaptation of his original graphic novel 300 is a “90 percent accurate” history of a profound human struggle, and of “the Spartans' heroic code,” and of “the key role played by women in backing up, indeed reinforcing, the male martial code of heroic honor.” That’s according to film director Zack Snyder and Cambridge Greek history Professor Paul Cartledge. I just regret that Athenian philosopher rhetorician Aristotle isn’t here today to see the movie, and to hear that valiant [woman] Gorgo. Maybe we Westerners would do well to listen and to act as bravely.)
The questions and answers of our quiz are from these sources:
Girl with Pen
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Colombia
Christian Science Monitor
Feminist Law Professors
The SWWAN Blog
The Lilith Gallery
New English Translation of the Septuagint
Better Bibles Blog