Um, my brain has been eaten by an amusing thing that has, you know, been distracting me. It's fun!
Anyhow. I've been rewatching Rome, as I believe I mentioned in passing. It's an awesome show. I've mentioned before that I watch all the extras on my dvds, right? So all the commentaries, etc. It takes me longer to finish a set that way, but it's interesting stuff.
Some things that the commentaries have reminded me of, or that I didn't know before:
1. My aversion to wine is just my German blood giving one last screw you to the Roman Republic. One tactic of the Roman armies was to introduce wine to the country that they were invading, in a ploy to get the native peoples addicted to it and drunk, making them easier to conquer. It worked in Gaul (France), but when they tried it on the Germanic people, it didn't take.
2. Women are mean. We're twisty and vindictive and holy crap it's probably a good thing that men have been in charge and not us. They just tend to beat each other bloody and call it good. Women will plot and plot and then poison you without ever batting an eye.
2a. The women in the Roman Republic had no outward power. They were the property of their fathers or husbands. But they were clever and manipulative when they wanted to be and ran a lot more operations than people realized at the time.
3. The concept of man as absolute head of house is a terrible concept. Terrible. The Roman pater familias proves it. He owned his family and could pretty much do whatever he liked with them. Sometimes he'd even be legally and spiritually required to do things that we would consider horrible and criminal. For example, one of the main characters, Lucius has been away at war for eight years. He's a military man so he's been in Gaul, under Caesar. He comes home to find his wife holding an infant a few months old. Understandably, since they didn't get 'leave' back then, and he'd been way too far away to make house calls, he's 'unhappy'. His wife claims that it's the child of his thirteen year old daughter and a drover's son. Which doesn't make him happy either, because the boy has 'damaged' his property without his permission. Really. That's his issue here. The reality, though, is that the baby is his wife's son with another man. Because she'd been told that her husband was dead by the paymaster who'd been in charge of giving the military families their husbands wages. So she'd found someone else. Not a good thing, but understandable, really.
Not so much. Lucius is actually expected to kill his wife and the child if he finds out because she's committed a crime against him. Even though she didn't cheat on him, not knowingly, she still caused harm to his family name and reputation and in order to expunge that he has to kill her. Being that it's a drama, he does find out at the end of the first season and is working himself up to having to do the deed (he really does love her but the society at the time...he had, it was ingrained in him as awful as that may seem to us) and she jumps to her death to spare him the pain of having to kill her. But she begs him not to kill the boy.
4. Julius Caesar was awesome. He was a power hungry bastard, but that doesn't make him less of a genius.
5. Caesar Augustus was even more awesome. - I need to find biographies of these two to read.
On to unrelated to Rome things.
I've realized that I have no clue what feminists really want. I'm rereading the Sookie Stackhouse vampire books, remember? And a while back Zuhura mentioned that she'd read the first one and hated it, that it had no feminist themes - which is not why she hated it, I think, though she didn't explain why. She just didn't like the book, which is okay. And don't you all feel better that I'm okay with people not liking things I like? ;)
But anyway. I'm on to like book four and here's what I see. You've got Sookie who is a single(ish) woman living on her own. She holds down a steady job, pays for all her own things and isn't hunting for a man to take care of her. She's got men interested in taking care of her, but she doesn't jump from one guy to the next to protect her or pay for her living.
She fights her own fights. Yes, given that it's a series with vampires and were-things and other supernatural beasties she is often outclassed and needs assistance. But that's because she's not superstrong, not because she's a girl. Sookie's been in a few fights and held her own - even won against things that were much stronger than her.
So she's tough, self-sufficient and not a weeping flower. What part of any of that is bad? She's aware of and in control of her own sexuality - she chooses not to sleep with the vast majority of the men who she's attracted to, which is what a normal woman does as well. She's neither a blushing virgin nor a slut. So...yeah. I basically don't get what's objectionable about the series from that point of view. So I figure maybe I don't know what feminists want.
It's set in the South, so the men (unless they're Yankees or poorly raised) are always going to treat women a certain way. Maybe that's the difference. I don't see the desire of the men to treat Sookie like a doll as bad. If Sookie was passive and just let them, that would be bad. That'd be un-Southern, too by the way.