Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Food, Fat and Personal Responsibility

Gluttony used to be a sin. Now it’s become what? A lifestyle choice? Or a politely ignored , very publicly displayed choice of suicide.

It used to be, if you went to a buffet restaurant in one of my local country towns the only people under 300 pounds were the staff. Not so any longer. I suspect the biggies, having gotten ever bigger, no longer can get out the door and into the car. What’s going on? Even Oprah wasn’t able to make an appreciable dent in the fat fashion.

A real estate agent I once worked with could no longer get out of his chair to show properties. Another had a stomach stapling and deflated to something like the shape of a normal human being, but his spirit seemed crushed.

But the example that 'takes the cake', in my experience, was shown me when I was working as an election day poll watcher in a nearby village. A woman was brought in a wheelchair, a very wide wheelchair but she generously overlapped it. There was no question of getting her into a voting booth.

We – three of us – rolled her over to a table where she could make out a ballot while we looked the other way. No good. Her hands, resting like flippers on her inflated girth, couldn’t reach the table. A clip board was held under her chin and she managed to paw her way through her assorted x’s. Of course her hands could reach her chin. Before she left us, a friend of hers bought a whole coconut cream layer cake – just for her.

Which makes the point that she didn’t get that way all by herself. Her condition required considerable maintenance. But she soon passed beyond amateur care and was moved to a nursing home – where she since has died. She was only in her forties.

At other times in other places public disapproval might work to curb some of this. But it isn’t doing much here in the United States. The exceedingly plump daughter of a friend of mine wrote a play in college and the play went on to some commercial success. It was an eloquent plea for tolerance equating gross obesity with race and sexual preference.
Really? one might ask. Race has of course nothing to do with behavioral choice, and sexual choice has ceased to be a major health issue with gays long since paying attention to the AIDS risk. But obesity is disabling and ultimately deadly. Some people, yes, are chunky by nature. No human is 400 pounds by nature. Such heft has taken determined work over a considerable period of time.
The sight of a woman in stretch pants with a pendulous stomach that hangs to her knees and swings as she waddles is shocking. Or of a man who has not been able to see his feet for years.

Corporate producers of food have made a battle-cry of "Fat Free", making up for the deficit by lacing everything with sugar. But even the most wholesome food is dangerous in excess.

In the past a large part, if not the majority, of the earth's human population hadn't as much to eat as they wanted, or even needed. With abundance available in much of the world now, we need to learn to recognize when we’ve had enough to sustain normal health and energy, and just stop eating.

It should be as simple as that.

We can't blame excessive flab on the food packagers and fast food purveyors. The dictum of business is "give the people what they want." It's the consumer's choice that determines what the food will be. Nobody becomes obese from a single burger once in a while. It’s the person who has a tray full of burgers all for himself, who's misusing food that, in its basic serving portion, would be reasonably nutritious for an active person burning off the calories.

That Freedom that we claim as so essential to happiness carries with it responsibility. And responsibility, even in this most basic form, seems sorely lacking.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kindred: the Founder of Parliament and the British Royal House:Simon de Montfort to Princess Diana and Prince William.

While, these days, study of the human genome has enabled us to trace our lineage to any number of unsuspected ancestors from kings to Neanderthals, the tracing of links of kinship not through DNA but through the records of births and marriages has its surprises – and its interest in revealing not merely the storyless trace of decent but something of the process and the people themselves. Valentina Baciu’s researches in the genealogy of the Montfort family provide insights into the Spencer family’s Montfort heritage, as well as that of the British Royal House.

Simon de Montfort, the Earl of Leicester who founded England’s parliament in 1258, reestablished it in his near miraculous victory at Lewes (the 750th anniversary is being celebrated this year). In 1265, on the slopes of Green Hill at Evesham Montfort fought and died for the rights of the common man to choose his government.
Four of Montfort’s seven children survived him, but only his daughter Eleanor and his third son Guy had known issue. Eleanor, wed to the prince of northern Wales, Llewelyn ap Gruffid, bore (according to some early records) two daughters, Gwencillian who was consigned to a convent shortly after her birth. The second daughter, Katherine, was wedded to the prince of southern Wales thus uniting the royal lineages of Wales.
Henry VIII emblazoned the end wall of his hall in Winchester with a family tree emphasizing his descent from Simon de Montfort through Owen Tudor and the princes of Wales.  This genealogy has been spurned by scholars as a blatant attempt to give Queen Katherine, the widow of King Henry V, a better lineage for her lover and second husband Owen Tudor. However, King Henry need not have stretched the point on his own behalf since his grandmother Elizabeth Woodville, Queen to Edward IV, was herself a descendent of Simon de Montfort.
However, Valentina Baciu has further unearthed as well the Spencer family’s Montfort connections and Princess Diana’s links to the Founder of Parliament.
Simon de Montfort -> Guy de Montfort→Anastasia de Montfort→1) Roberto Orsini→ 2) Nicola Orsini→ 3) Raimondello Orsini del Balzo→ 4) Caterina Orsini del Balzo→ 5) Isabella de Clermont(de Chiaromonte)→ 6) Federigo de Aragon→ 7) Charlotte de Aragon(de Napoli, de Tarento)→ 8) Anne de Montfort→ 9) Louis de la Tremouille→ 10) Claude, 1st duke de la Tremouille married to Charlotte de Nassau→ 11) Charlotte de la Tremouille→ 12) Amelia Ann Sophia , Lady Stanley→ 13)John Murray→ 14) Ann Susan, Lady Murray→ 15) Catherine Gordon, Lady of Aberdeen→ 16) Alexander Gordon→ 17) Georgiana Elizabeth, Lady of Gordon→ 18) Louisa Jane Russel→ 19) James Hamilton→ 20) James Albert Edward Hamilton, 3rd duke of Abercorn→ 21) Cynthia Elinor Beatrix, Lady Hamilton married Albert Edward John Spencer→ 22) Edward John 8th Earl Spencer married Frances Ruth Burke→ 23) Princess Diana of Wales ->24) William Arthur Philip Louis Windsor. 
A few of the details: 
1) Roberto Orsini, Count of Nola, Count of Soleto, of Soana and Nettuno
2) Nicolo Orsini (27 august 1331-1399) Grand Justiciar and Grand Chancellor of Kingdom of Naples.
3) Raimondo Orsini del Balzo (Raimondello) (~1361- 1406),  Count of Soleto (1382), Duke of Benevento (1385-1401), Prince of Taranto (1393-1406), Count of Lecce (1401-06), Prince of Taranto, Duke of Bari, Grand Constable of the Kingdom of Naples, Gonfaloner of the Holy Roman Church, Lord Protector of the King of Naples, 1385.
4) Caterina Orsini, di Taranto, (b. aft. 1386) married the knight Barthelemi Tristan, Seigneur de Claremont-Lodeve (Chiaramonte), Count de Copertino (d.1432)
5) Isabella di  Chiaromonte,  Princess of Taranto, queen of Naples (d. 1456), Isabella also inherited the Brienne claim to the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Married  Ferdinand I de Aragon, King of Naples
6) Federico I de Aragon, King of Naples ( 1452 – 1504). The last King of Naples of the House of Trastámara, ruling from 1496 to 1501. Married Anne de Savoie (1455- 1480) daughter of Amedee IX , Duke of Savoie  (1435 - 1472), granddaughter of Anne de Lusignan. The Savoie are the royal family of Italy today.
7) Charlotte de Aragon,  Princess of Taranto ( aft. 1478 – 1506). Brought up in France, she spent most of her life at the French court.  Cesare Borgia wanted to marry her, but she refused. Married Guy XV, Comte de Laval (1476 – 1531) who inherited the title Comte de Montfort et de St.Quintin: the Laval branch of the Montfort family descended from Simon’s brother Amaury de Monfort.
8) Anne de Montfort  Laval (1505 – 1553) married Francois de la Tremouille, Vicomte de Thouars; Prince de Talmond (1502-1541)
9) Louis (III) de la Tremouille, (1521-1577) 1st Duke of Thouars, Prince of Talmond and Tarente, Count of Taillebourg (1542-1550), Baron of Sully.
10) Claude de La Trémoïlle, (1566 -1604) 2e Duke of Thouars, Prince of Talmond, Count of Guînes, Baron of Sully, Berrie, Mauléon: married Charlotte-Brabantine d'Orange-Nassau (1580- 1631), daughter of William  I  (the Silent) of Orange-Nassau and of Charlotte de Bourbon-Montpensier.
11) Charlotte de Tremoille (1599 - 1664), Countess of Derby:  married James Stanley, 7th Count of Derby, during the life of his father he was styled Lord Strange. Lord of the Isle of Man called Y Stanlagh Mooar ( The Great Stanley) eldest son of  William Stanley and Elizabeth de Vere.
12) Lady Amelia Ann Sophia Stanley (1633 to 1702/1703) married John Murray, 1st Marquess of Atholl, a leading Scottish royalist and defender of the Stuarts during the English Civil War of the 1640s, and until after the rise to power of William and Mary in 1689. He succeeded as 2nd Earl of Atholl on his father's demise in June 1642 and as 3rd Earl of Tullibardine after the death of his first cousin the 2nd Earl in 1670.
13) John Murray, (1660 – 1724) 1st Duke of Atholl, fought in the Glorious Revolution for William III and Mary II, was created 1st Earl of Tullibardine by William III of England in 1696, was created the 1st Duke of Atholl by Queen Anne in 1703.
14) Lady Susan Murray 1699 – 1725) married William Gordon, 2nd Earl of Aberdeen.
15) Lady Catherine Gordon (1718–1799) married her distant cousin, Cosmo George Gordon, 3rd Duke of Gordon, styled Marquess of Huntly until 1728. Gordon was the son of the 2nd Duke of Gordon and was named after his father's close, Jacobite friend, Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.
16) Alexander Gordon (1743 – 1827), 4th Duke of Gordon, described by Kaimes as the "greatest subject in Britain", known as the Cock o' the North, the traditional epithet of the chief of the Gordon clan. Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland  Dictionary of National Biography described him thus: "At the time of his marriage the Duke was reputed one of the handsomest men of his day." Credited as founder of the Gordon Setter breed of dog.
17) Lady Georgiana Gordon (1781 – 1853), married  John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford, the father of Prime Minister John Russell, 1st Earl Russell (placed equestrian statue of Simon de Montfort in front of the Houses of Parliament – statue is presently labeled Richard Coeur de Lion.)
18) Lady Louisa Jane Russell (1812 – 1905), married James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn.
19) James Hamilton, (1838 – 1913), 2nd Duke of Abercorn styled Viscount Hamilton then Marquess of Hamilton Lord of the Bedchamber to Edward, Prince of Wales from 1866 to 1885. Lord Lieutenant of County Donegal, and member of Privy Council of Ireland. Married Lady Maria Anna Curzon-Howe (1848–1929), daughter of Richard Curzon-Howe, 1st Earl Howe.
20) James Albert Edward Hamilton (1869 – 1953), 3rd Duke of Abercorn, KG, KP, PC, styled Marquess of Hamilton Married Lady Rosalind Cecilia Caroline Bingham, daughter of Charles Bingham, 4th Earl of Lucan and Lady Cecilia Catherine Gordon-Lennox.
21) Cynthia Elinor Beatrix Spencer, Countess Spencer (1897 – 1972), known as Lady Cynthia Hamilton until her marriage, and from then as Viscountess Althorp until 1922 when her husband inherited his father's title of Earl. Married Albert Edward John Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer, known less formally as "Jack" Spencer.
22) Edward John "Johnnie" Spencer, (1924 – 1992), 8th Earl Spencer, (styled Viscount Althorp until 1975) Educated at Eton, the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, and the Royal Agricultural College. A Captain in the Royal Scots Greys, Lord Spencer fought in the Second World War from 1944 to 1945. 1947 to 1950, Lord Spencer served as Aide-de-Camp to then-Governor of South Australia, Willoughby Norrie.
23) Diana Spencer (1961-1997) Married Charles, Prince of Wales, son of Queen Elizabeth II. Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Chester, Baroness of Renfrew. Mother of Princes William and Harry Wales, Captain, Army Air Corps.
24) William Arthur Philip Louis (b.1982), Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn. Married Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.
25) George Alexander Louis (b. 2013) styled Prince George of Cambridge.

Valentina Baciu contributes the genealogy feature on

Katherine Ashe is the author of the  four volume Montfort novelized series

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Masks: Revelers, Thieves, Headsmen and Soldiers

Masks have been a costume detail in nearly all cultures, initially as a tool in ancient shamanistic practices invoking the spirits of animals or gods. In classical Greek theater masks served the purpose of enabling a vast audience to perceive the qualities of a character from the exaggerated features, and to hear him better through the aid of the megaphone-like shaping of the mouth.

Masks as an item of dress for ladies and gentlemen derived from the annual pre-Lenten carnival in Venice, for they enabled a freedom that could not be enjoyed if the identity of the wearer was known. This freedom was so cherished that Venice’s carnival time grew to encompass half the year. The Venetian leather mask became an art form that is practiced even now.

The long nose of certain Venetian masks, when stuffed with medicinal wadding was thought to ward off plague. This was laughed at by the wise of the 20th century who believed plague was spread by vermin but the latest medical thinking is that the contamination was airborne – so the medicinal masks may indeed have been somewhat effective.

The Venetian mask returned to the theater as an easy means of designating the characters of the Commedia dell’ Arte, the popular street theater that, through its standard stock of characters, lampooned events of the day. The characters themselves came to be called masks, and a type of play a “masque.”

But masks have also had a more sinister history. Some Roman gladiators wore elaborate helmets with masks. The Headsman, doing the dirty work of the State, wore a black hood effectively masking his features so that in his private life he need not fear retribution by the friends of those he’d killed.

Strikingly similar to the headman’s hood are the ski masks of today. Originally devised by Andeans to keep the face warm at cold high altitudes, the knitted mask moved to sports attire for skiers, and from there to the costume de rigueur for bank robbers.

And now we see the ski mask adopted by armed men in the Ukraine. For myself I can say that this is the most chilling use in the evolution of the mask.
Soldiers in warfare have adopted disguises fairly rarely, and that most often by stealing uniforms from the bodies of dead members of the enemy. A vivid example of regular soldiers in irregular costume was in the French and Indian War (1756-63, the American branch of the Seven Years War between England and France.) 

For one woodland battle, young French officers stripped naked but for a loin cloth and painted themselves with “war paint”, intending to be mistaken for Indians as they attacked the regularly uniformed English and colonist troops. This was astonishing at a time when ladies and gentlemen never disrobed entirely, not even when taking a bath or begetting children. And the pseudo-Indians quite failed to fool their American adversaries.

Today, in the Ukraine, ski masks used to conceal the faces of men otherwise in full military garb is quite another matter. 

In the Crimea it appeared, from news reports, that these were Russian soldiers stripped of all identification of rank and individuality. Such a practice runs so counter to normal military rules that one wonders at the commanding officers. But then, recalling how Russia’s leader has been known to dispatch by clandestine means (including the poisoned tip of an umbrella) those who oppose him, it’s small wonder that Russian officers do as they are told.

And in eastern Ukraine? Last night I saw a BBC correspondent interview a man in full military outfit (without the mask) who claimed to be an ordinary citizen who had come to fight for his rights. The guns, we’re told, came from the police station taken by these protesters.

We are to believe that police stations in the Ukraine are arsenals that include in their storehouses full military costume complete with standard black ski masks. And so it may be.

Militarized citizens have been known to wear ski masks. Some of the practitioners of tribal genocide in Rwanda felt the need to hide their faces under ski masks to avoid being recognized by the neighbors they were slaughtering.

What does this concealment mean? We’ve seen uprisings in recent years all over the world. Rarely have protesting citizens sought to conceal their identity. On the contrary, proud to be taking part in their cause, they’ve let themselves be seen and identified even though it might (and has) cost them their lives.

The mask not only blocks identification, but, as in Rwanda, allows the wearer to feel a freedom from responsibility that is dangerous in the extreme.

What we're witnessing in the Ukraine seems to be unfolding as an elaborate and systematized deception. The masked troops who seized the Crimea appear to have been regular Russian soldiers. But were they? By supplying protesting Ukrainian citizens with the same costume, identification of direct action by Russian troops is made more questionable.

Whatever the purpose, the use of masks by the military is the worst development in the long history of masks. One fears its use will spread, and with it the worst activities mankind can commit when freed from identification, responsibility and inhibition.

Katherine Ashe is the author of the Montfort series, a four-volume novelized biography of Simon de Montfort, the founder of modern democracy:

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Democracy, Capitalism, the Media and Geopolitics

Is the basic premise of democracy workable? The United States has been conducting a two hundred year experiment to find that out. And the results are coming in. Let the “marketplace” function freely and let the people chose according to their own inclinations.
The freedom of the marketplace has given rise to a drive to “provide people with what they want” -- which has become an intense competition by food packagers to increase sweets and fats in the American diet until obesity is epidemic.

Similarly, freedom of the marketplace has moved the chief source of the people’s information, the media, to compete in giving the people what they want – that is sensationalistic coverage of insignificant but lurid events, and to all but abandon distributing the sort of information that a responsible electorate needs to function rationally.

But these ills, and the many other parallel problems, could not have happened if our educational system had not failed in creating and maintaining an intellectual climate in our population that was capable of perceiving what is genuinely important and for the good from what is merely entertaining and immediately gratifying.

And the results have been coming in. Since the Clinton administration duly elected presidents, from the Democratic Party, have faced an electorate dazzled by manufactured scandals manipulated by a sensationalistic press. 

Even more significantly, in the election process truth has vanished in a haze of tawdry and fantastic accusations embraced by a significant percentage of the population. In our electorate, the mental ability to test the plausibleness of what the media presents has been lost.

Even the desire for responsibility has been lost in a national mental laziness that is accustomed to being fed “what the people want.”

Even the virtuous and seemingly responsible portion of the population is reduced to knee-jerk response to manipulation.

We, whose birthright was the great experiment in democracy, have sold our greatest hopes for a daily diet of sweets and thrilling stories. We have lost those qualities of rational judgment and the persistent demand for what is truly in our best interests -- qualities that the founders of our government thought were sufficiently immutable in human nature to make democracy possible. And it is the free market, catering to our whims with focused competitive tenacity, that has done this to us.

But the competitive market of capitalism could not have done this had not our educational system failed us first.

I still believe that democracy and capitalism can work, but only where an educational system sternly maintains its responsibility to produce a wise electorate and consumer public. Our system has produced a self-indulgent populace. 

My fear is that this condition is irreversible: that the possibilities -- the hope of democracy and freedom that this nation made its foundation -- will be discredited for all time.

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Katherine Ashe is the author of the  four volume Montfort novelized series

Sunday, April 6, 2014

#Mimi, #Musetta and Revisionist Women’s History

Home from seeing the #Metropolitan Opera’s superb revival of #La Boheme, with Mimi performed by a replacement who had just a few hours’ notice. Christina #Opolais, who sang the Met’s equally exhausting role of Cho Cho San in Madama Butterfly last night, gave the finest performance of Mimi I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen more than twenty performances of La Boheme.) It was a “first” in the Met’s history -- a soprano play leading rolls on two consecutive nights, the second being her Met debut in the role.
But it’s not the magnificent performance Opolais gave, or the feat of her performing the role on two hours sleep -- but the theme of the opera itself that jostles deeper thought. 

It’s the truthfulness of the two female characters in the opera, when in history, film  and novel we’ve given up truth in favor of social engineering: the laudable, but in my view overdone, attempt to support women’s self-image with myriad myths of heroic women who are offered to us as the “real” forces in history.

“The helmet came off and down tumbled her auburn curls,” so, with hilarity, a reader of historical novels summed up for me the obsession of writers and publishers for ludicrously fictionalizing the past. 

There were a few women warriors, Boudica, Zenobia… but the list is very short and they came to quick, bad ends. Well, not so bad for #Zenobia. After being paraded in chains through Rome, she retired to Tivoli and focused her efforts on finding rich husbands for her daughters. But the eager mother-in-law is not exactly the wonder woman profile promoted by modern fiction.
The historical fact that seems almost unmentionable these days is that women, from the mid-20th century on back through cave dwelling times (Jane Auel notwithstanding) had very few choices in life.

A woman could become a wife. Although there were many happy marriages, her legal condition was that of being the property of a man: her father, then her husband. If she was mistreated she had almost no recourse. In country life she might prosper, or not, doing farm work. In cities she was often her husband’s assistant in manufacturing or shop-keeping. 

A woman with considerable intelligence could maneuver in such bondage, and many did, whittling out a position of regard for themselves independent of their husbands. They could influence a few men, but the accepted scope for their actions was domestic, and, with the exception of a very few, and those mostly queens, their actions were indirect in the arena of events that form history. 

Do I hear an outcry from readers and writers? Let’s face up to the fact that there were very few exceptions to the legal, marital slavery in which most women through all time have lived.

Yes, a woman might not marry: she could become a dependent in her family, with a position little above, or equal to a servant. Or she could work – like Mimi in the opera. 

Mimi stiches embroideries of flowers. La Boheme is set in 1848, and is a composite of people actually known by the novelist Henri #Murger and written about in his book and play, Scenes de la Vie Boheme. At the time Murger describes, fabric for dresses was cut in workshops. Women skilled in needlework would take bales of the cut fabric and patterns of floral decoration, and would work at home painstakingly forming flowers, foliage and scroll work stitch by stitch through hours and days of eye-straining hand work. Such labor gave them a very small but independent income. Orphans and girls from poor families found such work in cities. 

In city and country, a very large part of the population of women worked “in service,” but there a recommendation was required and jobs were allotted to those who already had some connection to the employer. Work “in service” was nearly a “closed shop” as in modern times is said of some unionized jobs. But a girl with skills could still support herself, as the model for Mimi no doubt did, merely by displaying a sample of her craftsmanship.

What did unmarried women without family to keep them do if they did not have such skills or connections? If they weren’t pretty they might be reduced to begging, or theft and a long life in prison or a short one on the gibbet.

But if they were pretty, like Musetta, they had the one chance at true freedom that women knew.

(Here we embark on a topic that's become oddly taboo, though it was not so in the 19th century.)

Musetta lives by seducing rich men. She does not wed and encumber herself with the restrictions of marriage. Instead she uses men, suggestively flaunting what she refers to as her “hidden charms” and bilking old men who are happy to pay just to be seen with her. She may or may not let them enjoy any more than the pleasure of her fully dressed companionship – the choice is hers. And she can take a poor lover if she’s attracted to him.
The life of the courtesan obviously had great appeal for women capable of managing it. It was a lifestyle practiced by any able and willing woman from penniless orphan to minor nobility. The 17th century’s Ninon de l’Enclos was deliberately brought up by her military father to be a free spirit; she learned very young how to persuade men to support her without becoming anyone’s slave, sexual or otherwise. 

The grand horizontals of 19th century Paris and #majas of 18th century Madrid were idealized social models and dictators of fashion for ladies who lived perfectly circumspect lives. #Aspasia, the leading whore of Athens, was friend and intellectual partner of the great Pericles.

But the life of the courtesan, especially in 19th century Europe when it reached its social apogee -- probably in numbers of population as well as fashionableness -- was perilous. 

Records indicate that thirty-five to forty percent of deaths among the “working class” in Europe  was due to “consumption”, that is tuberculosis. And courtesans were no exception. In fact the consumptive lady of “easy virtue” had a peculiar advantage in the aesthetics of the time. 

That deadly pallor and emaciation were seen as romantic, the meeting of Eros and Thanatos. And there was a belief current that consumption made the sufferer especially lubricious. This was before the nature of infectious diseases was understood.  Delicate, dying ladies were an excellent means for passing on their diseases to their lovers, and thence to their lovers’ wives.

Even more contagious was syphilis, which infected some forty percent of the population of Europe in the 19th century, so I’m told, and undoubtedly it was pandemic among street walkers and courtesans. 

So freedom, for women in previous centuries, claimed a very high price.

The bold heroines that fill our pages and our screens are fictions, or at most exaggerations of the roles available to women. They minimize in the understanding of the young just what an enormous, and very recent achievement, are the freedoms they take for granted – to make a living, to marry if and when they please, to claim legal protection equal to men, to negotiate in business, and to own businesses and properties in their own names.

In the churning of the women’s mythology mills we lose sight of the truly new world that has opened for women just in recent decades The real heroines to be lauded are not the women of centuries long past, but those of the late 20th century: #Betty Friedan, #Simone de Beauvoir, #Gloria Steinem, to name just three who were among the most visible at the time.

The real heroines to be lauded are still alive, or have died recently. Where are the biographies, the films, the novels about these actual heroines?

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Katherine Ashe is the author of the  four volume Montfort novelized series