Why not Her-story?
I have always thought of history as “his-story”, one person’s (historically a man’s) perception on a series of events – and their interpetations of said events. So, what if instead of opinion and simple recording of events, you had a different perspective, or a “her story” listed on the events?
Would we better know the story of Henry’s wives, from the view point of a woman? Heart broken and shut away from her only child – Catherine was so miserable she died of heartbreak. Or, perhaps the story of that child, who was forced to call another woman “mother”, when really she saw that woman as a murderer – the person who killed her own mother. Would we than not better understand Mary’s rage against a religion?
Or, as one history professor asked so blantanly – do Presidents run the country, or do their wives? What man do you know that has the ability to say no to their wives when they pull the “Honey, did you like that? Hmm… I know you did… Do “x” tomorrow, and you never get that again!” Then again, maybe that’s why politicians have so many affairs . . .
There is, of course, your personal interpretation of history too – like reading a book. Let’s use Genesis as a reference point: The first time we read the story of Adam and Eve, or have it read to us, we see children and blind happiness, then we hear about Eve’s evil mistake: Eve =Evil – bad girl. As a teen you start to think “Hold on… why put temptation in our path if not to temp us”? And naked bodies running around that are being touched and given pleasure. And as adults, you being to think, maybe its just a moral lesson to keep kids listening to their parents, and not a real story at all. Therefor, you could say, History (or the study of history) is really more about where the reader is in their lives, then perhaps the events themselves.
Then there are the moments that have been historically significant in our lifetime, ones that we didn’t really believe could ever really happen in our lifetime. Like our parents, we have our own “So, where were you when Kennedy was shot?” moments. As a child, I thought of those as moments when the world united for a moment in time. As an adult, I know those are the moments where the world cried together. There isn’t just one – there are too many to mention. Then again, how will some countries remeber those moments: with cheers or tears? What will different countries teach their children and grandchildren?
And, as such – I come back to the original thought – what is History? How much of it is real fact – and how much of it is interpretation? What influences were over the man who was recording the event – influences like: where were they standing at the time of the event, who were they influenced by before they wrote it, and who got to edit it before publication? And lastly – who am I when I’m reading it for the first, the second, or the third time…
So – like others this month – I challenge you to think about history – about the stories we know – about who told them too us, what they meant than, and what they might mean now. Re-think the time honored stories – and think back to a reality that forces you to think “What about someone else’s point of view…?”