This was originally posted on LJ on May 6, 2010
I just finished Women in AE by Gay Robins. The book was pretty short, and (as the title suggests) discusses the potential role(s) that women played in AE. There were some nice things about the book- she lists the era for all of her facts- so you can keep track of how relative the facts are to you and your practice (if you’re like me, and cut your practice off at a certain era). While many of her facts weren’t anything new to me, it was nice to see her theories on women in art, and to go over the various trends from one Kingdom to another. Ironically, based off of her book, it seems that women had more of a role in ritual in OK, as opposed to the NK. Of course, there is no 100% knowledge of whether this is true, as with any study from AE. Also, it was interesting to read more of the “mundane” stuff- letters and stories from regular people. I’d consider buying a collection letters and papyri stuff, to read up on the average Joe aspect of things.
The main thing I didn’t like about the book is the pictures- I don’t like when pictures are residing 50 pages away, and I have to flip to it to see what they’re talking about. It makes me lose my train of thought. I also didn’t care for the feeling of “feminism” running through the book. For example, she talks about people cutting down grain- and how men were always shown to do this, that women (from the reliefs) couldn’t. And then brings up the thought that there could have been a ritualistic reason for it. To me, I would say “women don’t have a ton of upper body strength- so the men did it”. In a way, it’s like she felt women weren’t allowed to do things, and should be sad- yet some tasks are truly more suited for men (IMO), and so they did that particular job.
But that’s just me.
As a whole, the book was pretty good, but didn’t have too much that was relevant to religious whatnot. Not to mention that there was nothing earth shattering in the book- in other words, I didn’t learn a whole lot of new material. However, it’s still a pretty decent read.