Why so few women in the history books show up? This question discussed the artist Jacky Fleming ironically entertaining in her new book the problem with women. Their answer: Women are simply biologically inferior men.
Oh, dear, the women. You can really not very much: too weak to keep brush, small heads, to think properly. No wonder that there are hardly impressive women in history books. At least, so the statement that reads the the British artist Jacky Fleming in her book the trouble with women (Kiepenheuer & Witsch) delivers. Their women drawn with love to detail does not arrive to the sheer genius of her male contemporaries simply – and therefore end up in the (also drawing shown) “dustbin of history”.
Small heads, small brains
“Previously, there were no women, so you learn nothing about them in history”, Fleming makes clear right at the beginning. “There were only men, and quite a few were geniuses.” There were a few women still, however: “they had very small heads, what she would use to nothing were, except for manual work and croquet.” Finally, even Darwin noted that women are biologically inferior to men. While the women crying at home must remain hysterical, the men make great and wear a selection of magnificent beards here, for example the authority beard, genius beard or competence beard.
In the course of the small book plenty more reasons (translated by Silke Pfeiffer) can be found, why women are so amazingly unimportant and insignificant – always in the form of statements, whose announcement it is automatically in an educational authoritarian (male) voice. There were of course the physical inferiority of women: “a woman’s brain was not only smaller and lighter, it was also made of a soft, spongy material.” The female mind could understand so little. Not as bad women anyway rather were meant to applaud men, embroider, or be disappointed. Even their clothing – corset and petticoats – prevented women of a long time on the exercise of the different activities. Since women should look like but especially ravishing that was no problem.
Bearded women of exception
Sometimes, very seldom succeeded but then the one or the other woman in the history of the book. Like Marie Curie, “the only scientist since there are women.” However bad threatened ambitious and inquisitive women: you could grow beards or hair intended to attract men was thin. Also, the risk to develop – a potential advantage, as one might think, by fleeing the House-keeping “Man hands” but insisted: “with man hands women only small art, mediocre or no more than slightly larger art, but never great art created also when were horses on it, as only a man can bring you.”
Jacky Fleming’s drawing style is simple but expressive and full of details. Their female characters have personality, look angry, bored, concentrated or unimpressed. Again Fleming plays in her drawings with different styles: Queen Victoria looks almost like on a photograph, Picasso’s muse appears like a painting by the artist. Along with the dry comments that accompany almost every drawing, fits all this to an entertaining pleasure. Now only remains to hope that the problem perhaps ends up with the women in the one or the other class – and not only on the shelf with “naughty books for naughty women”.
Jacky Fleming “The trouble with women” 2017, Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch