Who Cooked the Last Supper: The Women's History of the World
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Men dominate history because men write history. There have been many heroes, but no heroines. This is the book that overturns that "phallusy of history," giving voice to the true history of the world — which, always and forever, must include the contributions of millions of unsung women. Here is the history you never learned — but should have!
Without politics or polemics, this brilliant and witty book overturns centuries of preconceptions to restore women to their rightful place at the center of culture, revolution, empire, war, and peace. Spiced with tales of individual women who have shaped civilization, celebrating the work and lives of women around the world, distinguished by a wealth of research, Who Cooked the Last Supper? redefines our concept of historical reality.
played in the discovery of quasars and DNA? What of the women's space flight program in NASA's glory days of moon landings, an initiative suddenly and ingloriously shut down without explanation, although the women's results were at least as good as the men's? Reminders of women's centrality to the human race are also crucial; they combat the persistent sense that discrimination against women is still somehow okay. In January 2000, Time magazine hailed Gandhi and Winston Churchill as two of the
to set [ 58 ] • In the Beginning against woman's eternal, innate potency, what would serve his turn better than man's best friend, his penis? In its fragile human form, prey to unbidden arousal, stubborn refusal and unpredictable deflation, it could not challenge women's unfailing power of birth. But elevated above reality into symbol, transformed into "phallus" and enshrined in materials known to be proof against detumescence like metal and stone, it would do very well. At a stroke, then, the
their bodies The executioner... stripped them naked to the waist, put their arms into the whipping post and executed the Mayor's warrant . . . so that theirfleshwas miserably cut and torn.35 [ 1 4 4 ] • The Fall of Woman All these were of course individual cases. But the cumulative effect of the denial of women's right to learn, to study, to share their knowledge, even to think, was serious. The decline of the nunneries coincided with the growth of grammar schools and universities, from both of
"whore" was so freely used against women who did not sell their bodies for money, it had very little power to insult the genuine "daughters of the game"—taunted as such by one of the other mistresses of Charles II, the Duchess of Portsmouth, Nell Gwynn sturdily replied, "As for me, it is my profession, I do not pretend to anything better."31 Despite the howls of the moralists, many women worldwide have echoed Nell's view. Throughout history millions of women have been active in the prostitution
in a safe and continuing pattern of almost changeless domesticity. Some, however, were born to the trial of times when patterns did not merely change, but collapsed into cataclysmic violence, when systems deemed perpetual melted into air, and with their solemn temples and gorgeous palaces, left not a wrack behind. At such times women faced a double burden, of bearing up to the shock of the new, while still holding together the shreds and shards of the old; while one upraised arm saluted the new