Strong And Silenced Throughout History

“Now that was the sin that did Jezebel in

Who you gonna call when the repercussions spin?”

I love stories of the heroes in ancient times, especially when they’re women. Queens, princesses and fair maidens who used their brains and talent to get ahead of patriarchy always floated my boat way before I knew how to spell feminism.

I always picked the female characters in video games, these days my favourites are Ling Xiaoyu, Jun Kazama, Michelle Chang, Christie Monteiro and Asuka Kazama. Somehow it always feels like a bigger achievement when I kill Jinpachi with the tiny Xiaoyu, as graceful and fast as she is her attacks aren’t as strong as the others. Playing Xiaoyu looks beautiful, but playing with Jun is like I’m fighting the opponent myself. With Jun, movement is fluid.

Tekken aside, I love the story of a strong woman. Here are some of my favourites.

Atalanta

The huntress who was born a princess, but was raised by bears. I’ve read Atalanta’s story dozens of times, its my favourite Grecian myth. Atalanta was to be married to her true love prince Meleager, but when his mother found out she burnt him inside out by lighting an enchanted stick. Atalanta went on to reclaim her lost kingdom and decided to put off marrying by challenging suitors to a foot race. One after the other, their heads fell from the chopping block, but the smart Hippomenes who prayed to Aphrodite for love instead of one of the other gods for speed, agility or strength, was blessed by the goddess’s visit in his sleep. She gave him the three golden apples he would later use to distract Atalanta in the race. They fell in love and were later turned to lions for desecrating Zeus’s temple.

Nefertiti

The beautiful Nefertiti was the Queen to Pharaoh Akhenaten. She played a huge role in converting their multi-god religion into a monotheistic version, however this was never fully accomplished. Her status as Queen rose to one equal of the Pharaoh himself, and she was often portrayed in pictures the same size as him. During the first five years of his reign there were more artworks made of her than of him which shows her importance. At this time, the famous bust of hers was created. Its one of the most copied artworks from ancient Egyptian times. Towards the end of his reign Nefertiti disappeared from records and what happened to her still remains a mystery.

Jezebel

A Phoenician princess who married King Ahab of Israel. History portrays her as a wicked woman, a harlot and a whore. But then, history was always written by the winners, wasn’t it? Jezebel worshiped the religion of her ancestors and of her home, paganism. Her husband tolerated it and even built her a temple, but the Hebrews were having none of this. So, the Prophet Elisha massacred her and her followers and cursed against her name so much that it carries the meaning it has today, of a shameful woman uncontrollable by man. This brilliant article by Janet Howe Gaines pieces together the story of Jezebel by pulling apart the misogynist lies and formulating the truth. Its so interesting to think that much of history may have been this different, but how will we ever find the truth?

Cleopatra

Anyone who has seen my avatar will know I’m a fan of Cleopatra, despite the idea of her beauty being sullied by roman coins. A woman who used her brains and quick wit to seduce two of the most powerful men in the world to secure her country’s future. You all know the story. I loved ancient Egypt as a young girl, and dressed as her to many a costume party in my day.

Ku No Ichi

Translates to “Dragon lady”. This is the name of the female counterparts to the Japanese ninjas who fought by their side in the Tong wars. However, these ninja women used more subtle methods such as poisoning, darts and disguises. They used their ‘womanly wiles’ to gain trust and found creative ways of killing without using weapons, or concealed small ones within their garments. These women were widows or orphans of men who had died and were often remarried to the new household owners. A common weapon of the kunoichi was the finger blade, dipped in poison which was used to slash at the eyes or other weak points. Brave, silent, fast, intelligent and resourceful fighters.

These are the powerful women I would love to emulate. Damn, what I’d give to perform a perfect back flip.. Sigh.

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2 Responses to “Strong And Silenced Throughout History”

  1. gullybogan Says:

    I always play as a female character in video games, too.

    You’re right that it’s usually a trade-off for strength and health, but i’m not that good at playing video games that it would make that much difference.

    My favourite female video game character is Lei Fang, from DOA, although Kasumi runs a close second. I also enjoyed the battle moves of the female warrioress in Golden Axe on the Megadrive.

    And there’s a rumour on the streets that the left paddle in Pong was female.

    I like to think of playing female characters as being an aspect of ‘getting in touch with my feminine side’.

    Although since most of the female characters spend their time ripping ppl’s heads off or snapping their spines, i suspect that it’s not a very authentic ‘feminine side’ experience.

  2. LuLi Says:

    I was going to mention Golden Axe, but I couldn’t think of her name! I also like the chick from Streets of Rage 1 & 2..

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