I love to read. It’s the only thing where you can be whoever you want and go wherever you want without even leaving your seat. I thought for a long time about whether or not I would say something about the last book I read, as I turned the last page with my mouth wide open. “What just happened?” I asked myself as I placed the book off to the side of our temporary air mattress. “What will happen? How could this happen? Could there be a world in which women took over everything? And did so for the most part by force?”
The Power told exceptionally by Naomi Alderman, examines a parallel universe in which females, upon puberty are able to unlock an electrokinesis-like power in their DNA, which allows them to create and manipulate electric charges around them. With seemingly no effort, they can even cause great harm or death to those whom they wish. This power has strengthen and united women around the world and over a period of time, they have taken over the world. In some parts of the world in our universe that are traditionally patriarchal, women have even begun to restrict the rights of men so much so that they cannot have careers, serve in leaderships roles, vote, or even go out into public with a female guardian or the permission from a female guardian. Many men in this world are afraid of women, and when left on their own are encouraged to find a woman relative with whom to live because men cannot own property.
Religion has changed too. A character who goes by Mother Eve creates a new thinking that reasons that God has many forms that now She is allowing her female form to take over, creating new teachings along the way. No longer is it the Father, but rather the Mother who protects and guides us. There is even a culture in this universe that practices a different type of male circumcision in which electric shock is placed on the testicles of a teenage boy so that he can never experience an erection on his own without a female to physically arouse him and even then, ejaculation is very painful. And to this end, male rape has become rampant, and even sport, for females. Really? Again, I ask what just happened?
My question then to you is are women really capable of creating a world much like this one? If we were to come into such a power, or force that would create in us the ability to take over the world, would we do so with such ferocity that our male counterparts would fear us? It also begs the question, is fear and power forever interchangeable? Can there be one without the other?
I had about 2 weeks to figure out how to answer this question (Thanks Comcast!- that, friends, is another post for another day!) And as I sit here in my 90% finished living room, I still struggle to find the answers. I like to thing that ideally we’d be better at being in charge than men have in the thousands of years they’ve had their turn. Think about it. According to listverse.com, the top three events in our history that have claimed the most lives have been related to war and colonization, male-initiated acts. These very acts themselves that defined who we are as human beings. For thousands of years, women were subjected to the rule and domination of male-driven societies until mostly recently. Women could not vote, could not be formally educated, could not have careers unless the traditional nurse, teacher, or secretary gig and even then couldn’t make as much money as their male counterparts. Women also had no say in whom they got to marry, and in some cultures were married off by their early teens to much older men. Women had no say in how many children they had and if there was a couple caught in the act of adultery, it was often the woman who received the blame and punishment. Even today, we are still fighting for the basic right to simply exist in the world without I don’t know being judged for our looks while avoiding the harassment that I guess we bring on ourselves. Would years upon years upon years of sexism and male sovereignty be enough to make us in many years take over and cast vengeance on the entire male sex?
I’d like to think that while there have been many women in history and in the present who have shown what evil can look like, it is hard for me to believe that we’d take over the world with such hostility because we’d first have to have each other’s backs. Women are other women’s worst enemy much of the time, and we spend so much of our time tearing each other down and judging each other. To be successful at leadership, we’d have to be willing to put everything else aside and truly support and love one another. There are women who still believe very strongly in the traditional and more conservative role of women. How do you erase, or rather change a very static way of thinking? After all, attitude determines motivation, and motivation determines behavior.
Also, I like to think that if we took over the world, we’d do things super different. We’d encourage the freedoms we were denied for years, even if the heart wants revenge. We are smart enough to know that a wrong cannot fix a wrong and we’d use our nurturing ability and our uncanny way with words to create strong partnerships with other countries. After all, there’s nothing like a woman’s tribe. But all people are different, including women. We all have different personalities and different beliefs. It is hard to believe that all would willingly submit to a woman-led society. Non-conformist groups would emerge, those who believe they could do it better. As with the idea mentioned in the paragraph above, there might be some of us who could conspire to take over, by any means necessary. Our shared sex organs might not be enough to unite us, even with the power to take down a 7ft man.
So what say you? Obviously, my mind is still grappling with this issue and I thank Ms. Alderman for giving me something to think about for days on end. Could we really unite as one and take over the world with hostility? I’m still not sure, but it would be kick ass to have a super power!