Mulieres sicut personae: shattering the glass ceiling since Roman times

2018 edition

Pablo Varona Rubio

The purpose of History is to serve as a mirror to the present society in which to see the reflection of ourselves. We look back when we seek advice, examples, role models. In an ever-changing time as ours, the best inspiration to follow the forward path is to learn from what Humanity has already experienced.

One of the main challenges of today’s society is the accomplishment of real, social, economic equality between women and men, and one of its main issues is the lack of female role models to serve as triggers for the empowerment of a new, les complexed generation of women.

The matter started to be addressed relatively recently, re-dignifying historical figures as assertive examples, but this process has not yet reached the Roman period, although there are several examples of empowered Roman women with very interesting biographies from a contemporary point of view. Why haven’t those historical characters been resituated to their rightful place in the new, feminist rhetoric? There are two main causes: the dominance of historiography by male scholars who were not interested in women and their activities from the Antiquity to yesterday, and a lack of interest from feminist theorist in the Roman era due to that exact lack of female voices in History. The result is a double invisibilization of Roman women, who not only do not have the opportunity to serve as positive role models, but they are regarded even as a shameful, forgettable page in women’s history.

This poster aims to execute a state of the question about the re-signifying of some Roman female historical characters and to put forward both the lack of communication between Classic and gender studies, and the possibilities the Roman examples of empowered women open for the feminist discourse.