On April 11th I began the 11th module titled, “Who runs the world? Girls!.” The first step of this module took me no more that 30 minutes to complete. This step focused on Plutarch’s Virtues of Women. What’s interesting about this step is that we get to see Plutarch’s perspective of women and how much he worships us. This step explains how he feels about women and how we should be equally considered to be as virtuous as men. He also mentions that he has the complete opposite opinion as Thucydides who believes that the best type of woman is one that should stay home and is completely unknown by the people outside of her home; basically one who has no voice or opinions of her own.. The obedient woman. What is worth the comparison is the viewpoint of Plutarch and the viewpoint of the modern male (not that all modern men believe women should be inferior, but the ones that do believe so). This man believed that women had a voice and that we were just as virtuous and driven as men, if not more. Had more people followed his example and respected women as much as they did other men, where would we be as a people?
The second step of the module titled, “Understanding the virtues of women and their modes of influence in groups” took me about two hours to complete. This step of the module told stories of women and their many different versions of leadership. In each story the women possessed many capabilities that saved their families, their kings, or their town altogether. The women in each of the stories showed confidence, exuded fearlessness and had a dominance about them that is highly commendable. Doing whatever they could to save their certain someone, these women either put themselves in the line of danger, came together to mediate the problems of men or just downright flashed people all for the betterment of their people. All of these stories were a joy to read, but the most interesting of all in my opinion was the story of the Etruscan women. These women were such good leaders that they sacrificed themselves to save their imprisoned husbands. Convincing the guards (with that womanly charm we just so happen to have) to let them in to see their husbands, only to aid in their escape was extremely brave and strategic; especially the way they had them escape. Having the men exchange clothes with them so that they may walk out of the front door while the women take their place in the prison showed such nobleness. These courageous women were willing to sacrifice their freedom for the possibility of prosperity for all.
The third step of the module was about an hour and a half of a read. This step, much like the one prior contained stories of courageous and resilient women. However, this step focused on individual women as opposed to groups of women. These stories told of how women took on a leadership roles on their own, without the help of others, which in my opinion is even more courageous. The story that I found the most interesting was the story of Stratonice. This woman in my opinion was extremely powerful and intelligent. To be a woman that cannot birth her own child and be strong enough to allow her husband to have a child with another woman, AND to love and care for the child as if it were her own is extremely commendable. Not too many women would follow in her footsteps. She was very admirable and completely selfless in order to ensure the continuance of their family’s reign.
In the next step of the module, I was asked to re-read the previous one and assess the vices of the men in the stories as opposed to the great leadership qualities of the women. This took me another hour and a half. Throughout these stories I can say that these men, after having receiving the love of the beloved women are either doomed or victorious. Obviously having the power of a woman by your side is extremely beneficial (lol). But in all seriousness one of the similarities I saw within each story was that the men were easily tricked by women, I guess by letting their guard down. In the story of Camma, Sinorix killed Sinatus because he was married to Camma and tried to court her into being his wife. On the day they were to get married, she walked with him down the aisle and purposely had them both drink from a poisoned beverage, happily killing him and herself just for the purpose of revenge. I am not sure how killing someone’s husband puts you in a well enough head space to think that she will gladly remarry you, but this was obviously not a good idea. This also makes me believe that he did not think this decision through. He could have believed that she would retaliate, but he obviously did not expect this which is another commonality between the men; they seem to underestimate the women, which results in their downfall. In the listening for leadership part of the step, I was asked if there were any seemingly good men within the stories, and I am still quite unsure of my response. I guess it depends on which perspective you are viewing it from. There are some men who’s actions could be considered “heinous” or “terrible”, but from their point of view it could be for a justified reason.
The fifth step of the module contained an article by Jeremy McInerney. Much like the rest of the module, this article focused on women and their role in leadership, but this was a question of whether women act like men or manly to be a leader. This step really made me ponder about what it means to be a leader and how this affects the reputation of one. In my opinion, to be a good leader, one must be headstrong, wise, willing to learn from others, confident and have so many other great qualities about them. But what confuses me is that these qualities tend to be gender specific for some people. Why does a woman have to be acting “manly” when she’s being firm or dominant? I believe women can be all of these things and still do so with a woman’s grace and still be a great leader. These words shouldn’t be restricted to only male leaders, especially when women are capable as well, if not more capable. How is being smart “manly” ? And if the end result of these stories were pretty much the man being victorious because of the woman’s manly actions, what were the men acting like? If women had to act like men to get the job done, why weren’t the men acting like men. I think it’s just really funny to restrict good leadership qualities to men.
On Thursday April 6th, we had an hour and twenty minutes of class time to discuss a few topics. One that stuck out to me in general was when Sarah asked Professor Sandridge “at what point does a leader give up his role”, which I thought was a great question. We did not discuss it a lot but I feel as though a smart leader would take someone under her/his wing and train them to follow in their footsteps and make decisions like them (of course being a civilian I would prefer my leader to make the RIGHT decision at all times as opposed to following the previous leader). Strategically this may be the better decision so that things continue to go your way. During this class we also discussed the meaning of the word “grandiosity” which means an exaggerated sense of own competence, or being objectively wrong. We also were asked the question of what are some motives for someone to become a leader. The answers were discussed within the classroom and students openly gave their opinions.
On Tuesday April 11th we began our hour and twenty minute class period with Professor Sandridge telling us about how he only wears tshirts with writing on it if he believes or supports its message. On this day he wore a shirt that referred to Boston and we got to discussing the Boston Marathon and learned some information about running a marathon. We also came upon the topic of the psychology of women and men during this class period. Referring to the race, I learned that women tend to run in packs or groups during the race, helping one another until the last few meters whereas men usually stay separate with no group effort. Which lead us to the question, “Is virtue the same for women/men?”. Also discussed, was the idea of separation of character and beliefs. Professor Sandridge’s opinion was that you cannot have a separation of these two topics, because one pretty much makes up the other, which I completely agree with. There is always justification for actions and what you decide to believe defines one’s character. And finally, we discussed whether women act manly to show good leadership. In short I’ll say, no I do not believe this is what women are doing.
This module was definitely my favorite of the bunch. It had so many topics I can debate with others about. I also feel like I can relate to some of the women within the stories, not literally of course. But reading this many stories of women showing leadership made me very proud to be a woman, but I only wish that these stories are heard more often and taught in more classrooms. The importance of stories like this is highly underrated. This makes one think about other success stories that women may have been involved in, but weren’t mentioned because of this so called insignificance of a woman’s opinion. I feel as though I may be rambling, but this is a very controversial topic being that there are literally people even other women who believe that women are inferior to men. Having this topic be one of the focal points in discussing leadership was a great idea.