Journal Entry 11

Who Runs the World? Girls!

Thurs. 4/6 11:10–1 pm (Including Class)

What are some motives for a person to lead?

  • Love of power/ruling
  • Greed
  • Money
  • In order to serve as a better leader than person in the current position of leadership
  • In an attempt to make the world a better place, influence people to make better decisions than themselves and/or others
  • Narcissism or conceitedness
  • Love of the people

What are your motives to lead?

Because I work with the youth, I understand that I am always being watched, therefore, I must lead my example. However, I want to ensure all of my students surpass me in civility, wisdom, dance techniques, giving back to others and a plethora of other ways. My motivation is hoping that one day someone can say “Dasia or Ms. Smith (to my students) changed my life. She really made me think about the world in a different way.” But I know in order for this to occur I must never steer my students or anyone else in the wrong direction. I must never let negativity influence me. Most importantly, I must continue to learn and find ways to improve myself in order to better others.

Fri. 4/7 6–7 am (Step One)

Definitions:

render- provide or give (a service, help, etc.) or cause to be or become; make

perusal- the action of reading or examining something

impugn- dispute the truth, validity, or honesty of (a statement or motive); call into question

Plutarch believes that people want to lessen the praises and approval of women just because they are women. He wishes to ensure that the readers understand that the women discussed in the short passages receive the same level of praise and recognition as men who have done similar actions.

Furthermore, Plutarch uses his comparison between men and women in an attempt to prove his thesis. He feels comfortable enough to share his ideas about women with his friend Clea. This has lead me to assume that he trusts her, feels comfort in confiding in her and he values her opinion.

Important Quotes from the Preface:

“And actually it is not possible to learn better the similarity and the difference between the virtues of men and of women from any other source than by putting lives beside lives and actions beside actions, like great works of art, and considering whether the magnificence of Semiramis has the same character and pattern as that of Sesostris, or the intelligence of Tanaquil the same as that of Servius the king, or the high spirit of Porcia the same as that of Brutus, or that of Pelopidas the same as Timocleia’s, when compared with due regard to the most important points of identity and influence.”

“ But, with all this, let us not postulate many different kinds of bravery, wisdom, and justice — if only the individual dissimilarities exclude no one of these from receiving its appropriate rating.”

Sat. 4/8 6–8 pm & Sun. 4/7 1–3:30 pm

(Step Two)

For each story, answer the following questions: What are the various good, virtuous qualities women display? How do women make men do what they want? How do they use their bodies, and how do they use their intellect to effect what they want? What do women do (or what happens to them) after they have succeeded in achieving their aims?

How do communities commemorate the brave actions of their women? What do those memorials tell us about how women’s actions were viewed?

Leadership is almost always thought of in terms of individuals. Can we talk about groups as leaders? Do they have the same qualities as individual leaders? Are there still individuals in charge of the collective actions Plutarch records? Or do these stories not really address the issue of leadership?

Leadership: In order for a group to lead successfully and effectively they must agree on all points in public, even if they debate about specific topics in private. It is important that they do not allow the public to see any form of disagreement or tension between them because people will try to use this against them. Even if the qualities of leadership are split amongst the persons in the group, the typical qualities of an effective leader definitely need to be instilled in the group and their purpose, as a whole.

Some of Plutarch’s passages identify the leaders in the community such as Telesilla and Caphene. However, it is very important that each passage does not contain one selected or self-proclaimed leader because it shows the women’s love for their country and proves that women during ancient periods were far more capable than some men portray them to be.

I.) The Trojan Women

Definitions:

blandishment- a flattering or pleasing statement or action used to persuade someone gently to do something

The women held the idea that it was better to first settle in the new land than to explore then settle.

The women definitely used their body to deter the men from being angry. Plutarch states “… they went to meet the men who were hurrying to the sea to save the ships, and, fearful of their anger, some embraced their husbands and some their relatives, and kissed them coaxingly, and mollified them by this manner of blandishment.”

II.) The Women of Phocis

It is very important that each group, men, women and children, took into consideration the feelings of every person in the community. Although, only one action was chosen, for those who voted against the action it is important that they still feel like they are a part of the community and realize that their opinion matters.

Observation: It intrigues me that the idea of democracy and “majority rules” had such an impact on important issues centuries ago.

III.) The Women of Chios

The women of Chios obviously display bravery, courage and intelligence. They swayed the men into carrying their spear and shield even though they weren’t supposed to. In order for the men to honor their word, the women stated “that the spear serves as a cloak, and the shield as a shirt, to a man of spirit.”

After the women encouraged the men to carry their weapons, the Erythraeans were too afraid to even approach the Chians. Ultimately, it was the decision made by the women that saved the members of the wedding party.

The Chian women were definitely empowered and empowering others as a group. I find it very important that Plutarch does not highlight one specific woman leader and gives credit to every woman that was a part of the wedding party.

IV.) The Women of Argos

Questions: How does Plutarch validate his accounts of what really occurred here? How were the men of Argos perceived after the women won the battle? Where were they during the fight? Why didn’t they join?

Like the women of Chios, the women of Argos display a remarkable act of bravery. Although we only get a short version of what occurred in battle with Cleomenes and the men of Sparta, I can safely assume Telesilla helped organize and plan the standoff instead of gathering the women with no plan. The women used their bodies as a shield, initially, and were ultimately able to use their bodies to save the city. It is very important to note that the women of Argos were not involved in any flirtatious or sexual activity in order to get what they wanted.

I wonder what Cleomenes’ reaction was to seeing women participate in battle.

The communities commemorate the women by burying them close to the battleground and they were given a statue of Ares “ as a memorial of their surpassing valour.” The women’s actions were obviously praised since Ares is the god of war and the statue was standing in their honor.

It is important to acknowledge Telesilla as the leader in this passage because she was sick prior to battle. The women looked up to her for her artistry which was her technique for recovery as suggested by the gods. Plutarch’s acknowledgement of her being the leader makes a difference in this mode of leadership because it shows that the women came together as one by request of another woman.

V.) The Persian Women

Definitions:

Rout- defeat and cause to retreat in disorder

In this particular passage, the carefree attitude that the women show are very empowering for the time period. They did not care about judgment from anyone. They used this carelessness and nonchalant attitude in an attempt to get the enemies to flee Persia. The women used their bodies to their advantage in order to discourage the opponents from coming any closer.

As a result of their attitude, Cyrus created a law in order for the women to receive a gold coin every time a king rode into the city. The women were appreciated for their courageous actions.

VI.) The Celtic Women

The Celtic women showed fearlessness. Like the women of Argos and the Persian women, they were not afraid of the armed men. Also, like the women of Argos, the Celtic women used their body as a shield in order to stop the men from fighting. As a result, the women became a part of the discussion amongst men about war and peace in the city. Hannibal also gave the women the power to be judges if Carthaginians complained against the Celts. The men obviously admired their actions enough to give the women more power than they previously had.

As a unit they were very strong. The human shield would not have been forceful with one woman. It is imperative that we note that Plutarch’s examples of the women’s examples of unity thus far have created a new modus operandi for the women of future generations. These brave Celtic women serve as encouragement and an exemplary model for their daughters and other young women. They empower the youth to challenge the status quo of women.

VII.) The Women of Melos

Definition

sumptuous- splendid and expensive-looking

Some may say that Caphene betrayed her people, while others may say that she possibly saved the lives of innocent people from the Cryassians who were trying to kill them. Because Caphene was so deeply in love with Nymphaeus, she was able to give him the warning in enough time to warn his people and ensure the attack does not go as planned. As a result, Caphene was able to marry Nymphaeus.

Because of the strength of the Melian women, the Melian men were able to save themselves from attack and they were able to prepare for retaliation. The women used their bodies to provide the men with the service of carrying their swords in order to conceal the weapons and hinder them from being caught. In the end, the women ultimately saved the lives of many Melians.

Questions and Observations:

Would one consider Caphene a leader in this passage? Although she works to save the live of others, because of her decision, other people are killed. Can this be considered effective or successful leadership if she had the option to persuade her people not kill the Cryassians? This way, no lives would have been lost and she may have still able to marry Nymphaeus.

VIII.) The Etruscan Women

Definition:

herald- an official messenger bringing news or a person or thing viewed as a sign that something is about to happen

The women who replaced their husbands in jail display fearlessness. By ordering the men to change out of their clothes and into their garments, they were able to free the men. I hope the actions of these women were appreciated. The courageous actions of the women, even if they only spent one second in jail, display their love for their husbands and their country. Because the women’s clothing and accessories could be used to hide the men, the women took advantage of this idea in order to free them.

(Step Five)

I find it very interesting that the Greek and Latin words for courage and virtue are related to manliness. To me, this simply means that the developers of the language viewed women as less courageous than men, or not courageous at all. However, based on events and Plutarch’s Virtues of Women, when women were given the opportunity, they knew how to display independence (from men), bravery and courage.

If we are speaking in ancient terms or in terms of the words’ origins, one can easily state that a women must display manliness in order to be considered courageous or virtuous in her community. In the present day, one can justify that bravery and courage are simply characteristics that are developed in humans, not only in men, by using the actions of various women throughout history. As a result, the virtue of men and women is the same, as Plutarch argues. Simply because the terms have been deemed as masculine, this does not equate to women being less capable of displaying the characteristics.