Someone asked a dear loved one of mine whether she was woke.
She said no. She was not woke.
I asked her why she told the person that she was not woke.
It was then that she admitted that she did not know what the word meant. She assumed it meant something along the lines of “Millennial youngster who uses newfangled words.”
I won’t try to define the word myself. That sounds like a Herculean task. But I will say that Natalie Haynes displays quite a bit of wokeness in her 2020 book Pandora’s Jar. This nonfictional work examines Greek myths from a feminist angle. Reading it woke me up to a lot of new ideas about the old myths I read in college.
“The Athenian ideal, espoused in Pericles’ funeral oration in 431 BCE, was that women should aspire never to be talked about, either in terms of blame or praise. The greatest virtue, in other words, that an Athenian woman could aspire to was not to be registered, almost not to exist.”
—Natalie Haynes, Pandora’s Jar
A pity that so many women in Greek myth are so interesting, so worthy of being talked about!
I highly recommend this readable and scholarly book that retells familiar Greek myths in fascinating ways, with a running commentary that never fails to make the reader think.
Pick up a copy, why don’t you? It won’t turn you to stone. (Just don’t tell anyone about this blog post—I’m trying to stay incognito!)