An excerpt from Sex with Kings by Eleanor Herman:
In the 1600s, “Memoirs became popular, though they must be read with care and compared with other documents of the period. Written with an aim of publication, many memoirs had the dual purpose of self-vindication and finger-pointing. Shortly before her death in 1615, Queen Marguerite of France wrote her memoirs to provide herself with a virtue as crisply white as parchment, throwing in numerous stories of her husband’s unseemly behavior with mistresses, though leaving out her own unseemly behavior with lovers.”
From the dawn of time till the present day, yes, all women are indeed “like that”. A common feminist lament is that men were the writers of history and women’s voices were lost in time, silenced by the patriarchy. This is just one example of a woman (albeit a Queen) who had a voice, but look at how she chose to share that voice, not only by trashing her king husband but also by putting herself on a pedestal at the same time, without disclosing her own sins. A win-win for both camps of feminism by killing two birds with one stone. The man-hating, down with patriarchy women get to see a perverted King’s name tarred and feathered (justice served) and the traditionalist, more refined, morally superior women get to see their sins erased and their symbolic queen status in tact. Overall, a score for “Team Woman” as women come out golden here for both camps.
Memoirs in general (think James Frey) and especially those told by women are useless and should be treated as fiction until proven beyond a doubt otherwise. While printed traditional memoirs are still around, the real modern day memoirs are blogs and social media. This is the platform modern women now use to tell and share their story, stories that can be told with “a virtue as crisply white as parchment” to create a pretty picture and perhaps subconsciously hide from her sins back in the real world. The more women talk and boast about how great they are online, the more of a win “Team Woman” gets. This could also be one reason women are so involved on facebook and blogging about their lives—to create an alter-ego of who they wish they were and how they want to be remembered even if it isn’t true. In a culture where women were raised up to have extreme self-esteem and to be extraordinary, the thought of passing from this earth as ordinary with an ordinary life is really a fate worse than death.
A further point for discussion–how exactly would history have been written if women did have the majority voice? If Queen Marguerite is any indication, it would be a history where women are superior, morally and otherwise, it would be a matriarchy. In the same spirit, how would society be remembered 100 years from now if all that remains are digital records of women’s social media accounts? A scary thought.