Women and power

Years ago, I helped edit the manuscript of a friendly acquaintance, who was writing a book about Rockwell Kent, a once-famous, now-obscure American illustrator, best-remembered now for his leftist politics. (/alevin edits friends’ manuscripts for love and free food.)
The illustrator’s producer and collaborator for many years was a woman who was a leading impresaria of American art in the 20s and 30s. She organized gallery showings, nurtured artists, cultivated patrons and critics, and grew a scene around contemporary American art. She’s remembered less well than he is, and I’m not remembering her name. (if you remember the details, let me know).
The manuscript paraphrased the impresaria’s journals at the time. “Despite the lack of formal education, and mediocre skills, the impresaria was fortunate enough to meet a few talented painters, and, despite her mistake-ridden management, was lucky enough to bring a showing or two together.”
“You fell for it”, I told the manuscript author. The impresaria used a self-deprecating style to describe her position as the result of happenstance and the skills of others. Given the facts of her biography, she was clearly a powerhouse. She organized a school, a community, a market, as a result of initiative and hard work, diplomacy and management skills.
For various cultural reasons, some women find it hard to take credit for their own achievements. It doesn’t mean that their self-deprecation should be taken at face value.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *