Being that it is Black History month I found it prudent that in the midst of the shade, foolery, and other entertainment foolishness that I carved out a little time to educate my captive audience. I’ve decided to team up with @Anti_Intellect of the Anti Intellect Blog to bring to you guys a few nuggets of Black History. ~ Funky Dineva
It may be a “Man’s World” as James Brown sang, but that doesn’t mean that women haven’t figured out ways to make it their world too. The ancient Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut was one such woman.
It is true that ancient Egypt was one of the more progressive civilizations for women in the ancient world. Unlike ancient Greece, Rome, China, or India; women in ancient Egypt enjoyed the right to own property and divorce their husbands. However, ancient Egypt was still a patriarchal society that privileged maleness over femaleness. What makes Hatshepsut remarkable is that she found a way to subvert these sexist notions in order to rule as pharaoh.
Hatshepsut was born in 1508 BCE, and was the fifth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. Hatshepsut was one of the most successful pharaohs–male or female–in ancient Egyptian history. In order to legitimize her rule, she had to disguise herself as a man. Many of her statues and portraits depict her as a male. She worried about her people questioning her legitimacy to rule–considering that she was a woman, and pharaohs were traditionally men. In a sense, Hatshepsut was one of the world’s first gender benders.
On a contemporary note, much has been said about Beyonce referring to herself as “King Bey”, but as Hasheptsuit shows, it isn’t unusual for women to refer to themselves using male terminology.
Hatshepsut’s successful reign was not without controversy, however. Her rule was made possible by the fact that she thwarted her stepsons ascension to the throne. After she died, her stepson Tuthmosis III worked very hard to remove all images of his stepmother from history. He was so successful that Hatshepsut was completely erased from history until 1903.
I choose to remember Pharaoh Hapsheptsut as a powerful ancient Egyptian woman who crossed gender boundaries in order to successfully rule over one of the greatest civilizations in world history. Even though sexism forced her to at times disguise herself as a man, she proved that women are just as capable as men when it comes to ruling.