stellation wrote:I was a little disappointed in the first episode of Catherine The Great- everything about it was fine to impressive, but it just didn't quite click for me (dare I sound like a GoT devotee, but I felt like they tried to cram too much storyline into the one episode). I was happy that it presented her court/Moscow at the time as a bawdy place- I've always felt there was a lot of historical (and real time) misogyny in the way she has been portrayed; she's always painted as an outlier who had many lovers, not that she was just behaving in line with society of the day. It's an unfortunately common way for people to bring powerful women into question throughout history, although she copped it more than most (crazy how consistent a take it is across different cultures- men really can suck).
Genuinely fascinating bit of history, I'm hoping it picks up a bit in the next episode.
I understand your point regarding a double standard that unfairly diminishes the legacy of females in history (who merely did the same things the men did). But my take after reading a lot on monarchs, generals, and presidents is that the more power someone has, the worse they treat others, regardless of gender. I know that is not your point. My contribution is merely "they are all pretty awful."
I recently read "The Heir Apparent" which was a really interesting book about Edward VII, who was an English king around the turn of the century. He spent the majority of his life seducing married women, hunting, gambling, and shirking any responsibilities that would have been beneficial to his country (that bankrolled and enabled his lifestyle). His mother (Queen Victoria) on the other hand, had none of his vices, but was absolutely a more selfish and manipulative figure. That is two historical figures, one permissive and the other prude. But both awful in their use of privilege and power.
There is a great two volume (Last Train to Memphis, and Careless Love) biography on Elvis Pressley (another king) that really unfolds how this whole process develops over time. He started off such a sweet, earnest, and simple kid. Fast forward and he was a really sad and broken guy, his undoing being that he got whatever he ever wanted.