For every accomplished man, there is probably a genius woman behind him. Since the beginning of civilization you can see this trend throughout history: Albert Einstein and Mileva Maric, Man Ray and Lee Miller, Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The longest war in history – the war between the rich and poor, the majority and the minority – permeates every part of society and may have prevented women from getting the recognition for their innovations and ideas. Still, the men who changed the world wouldn’t have been able to do it without their female counterparts. History is a curious thing, especially since the winners write it. I can’t help but wonder what the literati and intelligentsia gatekeepers have kept from the rest of the world. After all, information is a powerful thing, and in times of war, one of the worst things would be to let an outlier slip through the exclusive gates.
In Albert Einstein’s case, his accolades and accomplishments, the insightful quotes, may have been from the brilliant mind of his first wife Mileva Maric. She was a fellow student in the same program and entering a scientific community that was as cutthroat as it was patriarchal. In a man’s world Maric knew her ideas would never get past these illusive gatekeepers, so Einstein would be another option for her voice getting out there somehow. It is also curious that following their divorce and the publishing of the Theory of Relativity, Einstein left all of his Nobel Prize money to her and never produced anything as brilliant as his previous work.
Man Ray was considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century for his contributions to the Dada and Surrealist movements. However, consider this: his assistant and lover Lee Miller took most of his famous photos. Still, most art historians rarely mention this little known fact.
Even more surprising are the ancient scrolls depicting the words of who some scholars believe is Mary Magdalene that were buried by the apostles. In the Gnostic Gospel of Mary, which was discovered some time at the turn of the 20th century, have been kept from Christianity for nearly 1500 years. With closer analysis, the lost gospels may have been a key part of the story. For one, it exposes the misconception that Magdalene was a prostitute, but rather one of the important disciples of Jesus. It also presents a convincing argument for the legitimacy of women’s leadership, and questioning the very basis for church authority. It is easy to see why the apostles, all white men and representing the majority, didn’t want these words to be included in their sacred text.
However, while the war between the majority and the minority wages on, the majority can’t stay on top forever. Eventually the ones below them will find a way through. In an ever-evolving world, women are beginning to make just as much as men and taking on more and more upper level leadership positions. More women are in college today than at any time in American history, even in higher numbers than males. Today is the Age of Women, and James Brown said it best, “This is a man’s world, but it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman or a girl.”