After looking at the resources available I chose to read the New York Times article published in 2016 called “‘Nasty Woman’: Why Men Insult Powerful Women.” I chose this one because Cordelia’s character stood out to me as both a reader and a woman, and her actions in this tragedy reinforce the notion that we live in a society where women just can’t ever seem to be right.
A few paragraphs into the article the author begins to discuss men’s discomfort with women in power and their reactions to that feeling. A lot of men have no problem explicitly calling women out. For example, I was shocked when I read on and discovered that Australian senator Bill Heffernan had the audacity to publicly characterize Julia Gillard as someone who has “no idea about what life’s about,” just because she has chosen to remain “deliberately barren.”
However, condescension is another “common tool for deflating powerful women,” and the article’s dive into this topic reminded me of another New York Times article I read, published four years after this one, about “Mansplaining.”
Four whole years later and mansplaining is still relevant enough that it got a whole article. Simply put, mansplaining “describes the act of a man’s unsolicited explaining, generally to a woman, something he thinks he knows more about than she does — occasionally at anesthetizing length — whether he knows anything or not.”
The key here is “thinks.” The problem here is “thinks,” because men can be the furthest from the truth and still have enough influence to silence women today. As a woman in society, there are numerous times that I have been shut down – for the wrong reasons. I’m fine being wrong, but I’m not fine being falsely convinced I am wrong just because men don’t know any better. The result of mansplaining is catastrophic: women are being doubted and limited while men are fueling their overconfidence.
Cordelia was banished for standing up for herself, just like countless other women are today. And it’s wrong.