Genius: 1.an exceptional natural capacity of intellect, especially as shown in creative and original work in science, art, music, etc.: the genius of Mozart.
There are times when I wished I linked to rather stupid blogs. Among my blogroll are some very intelligent people who make me feel a little doltish (I think I just made a new word!) Now folks, take this as tongue in cheek with a little 'Where there's smoke, there's fire . . ."
Ernest who’s philosophical meanderings make me realise I am no intellect and miles from a true genius, has set a cat among the pigeons with his last couple of posts by postulating that women are few and as far behind as a Somali swimmer in the 400metre when it comes to a splash in the genius pool. All in good fun mind. (Now Monseiur de Cugnac don't get your boxers in a bunch!).
It is perhaps true that women are not known for that blinding genius of Newton and Galileo or for their incredible epiphanies and deep philosophical theories. We of the fairer sex don't quite have the demonstrable spark of superlative deduction as did Einstein. In fact, women 'geniuses' are difficult to find, although 'clever' women are well recorded. Well he might be right but I wasn’t going to let that one go . . oh no! Mileva Maric may not contributed to the theory of relativity but I bet she had a hand in hubby Einstein's genius even if it was pushing his pale and interesting ass out of the house for some fresh air and pontification on occasion. And as a believer in 'behind every great man, there is a great woman', I think many a genius was pushed to invention by a whining partner!
It did get me thinking though. There are some women who have made remarkable achievements but could they be regarded as geniuses? Although it pains me, probably not, female education has been sadly lacking in the past. If a genius is defined as having a particular 'spark' for invention rather than female pragmatism then the geniuses of old would not have had he opportunity. Clever, calculating, persuasive, inventive absolutely . . but what woman had an apple drop on her noggin and come up with laws of Gravity? She was in the kitchen gutting a suckling pig and sticking the apple in it's mouth. What woman drew flying machines and tested the plight of Icharus? Too busy darning Leonardo's socks I'll bet. And as far as I know, no woman in the world can see the value in splitting an atom when splitting wood was a priority for family warmth.
Dare I postulate that there may have been women geniuses prior to the 18th Century, but largely due to the lowly status of women other than in the artistic world, they may have found themselves subversed by men or burned at the stake for controversial philosophies. Let's face it, happens all the time in the office . . glass ceiling and all that. Even I have had the odd clever idea but know that in order to have it accepted, I need to make the men of the piece think that it was their idea all along.
I did to a little plonking on the net and found this absolutely wonderful quote: (remember girls, tongues firmly in cheek)
"The man of genius possesses, like everything else, the complete female in himself; but woman herself is only a part of the Universe, and the part can never be the whole; femaleness can never include genius. This lack of genius on the part of woman is inevitable because woman is not a monad, and cannot reflect the Universe"
Then again, I suspect we should expect no less from Otto Weininger! Who incidentally shot himself at 25 years of age . . now that was an act of genius wouldn't you agree?
Anyway, not to rub anyone’s nose in it, but here are a few mothers of invention, if not literary or artistic geniuses . . .but useful and talented nonetheless . . I think we poor women were victims of circumstance and I'm sure there's the odd genius out there . . if so . .will she please stand up and share her epiphany! I think looking at this list, we're far more pragmatic.
Antifungal antibiotic (Nystatin) Rachel Fuller Brown and Elizabeth Lee Hazen 1957
Barbi Doll Ruth Handler 1959
Brassiere Mary Phelps Jacob 1913
Battery container Nancy Perkins 1986
Beehive Thiphena Hornbrook 1861
Cabinet Bed Sarah Goode 1885
Canister vacuum Nancy Perkins 1987
Car heater Margaret Wilcox 1893
Circular saw Tabitha Babbit 1812
COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) Grace Hopper 1959
Computer program Augusta Ada Byron 1842
Cooking stove Elizabeth Hawk 1867 CPR
Mannequin Dianne Croteau, et al 1989
Dam and reservoir construction Harriet Strong 1887
Direct and return mailing envelope Beulah Henry 1962
Dishwasher Josephine Cochran 1872
Disposable cell phone Randi Altschul 1999
Drinking fountain device Laurene O'Donnell 1985
Electric hot water heater Ida Forbes 1917
Elevated railway Mary Walton 1881
Engine muffler El Dorado Jones 1917
Feedback control for data processing Erna Hoover 1971
Fire escape Anna Connelly 1887
Fireplace damper actuator Virgie Ammons 1975
Geobond Patricia Billings 1997
Globes Ellen Fitz 1875
"Gong and signal chair" Miriam Benjamin 1888
Grain storage bin Lizzie Dickelman 1920
Hair products for African Americans Madame C.J. Walker 1908
Improved animal handling systems in meat plants Dr. Temple Grandin 1989
Improved locomotive wheels Mary Jane Montgomery 1864
Improvement in dredging machines Emily Tassey 1876
Improvement in stone pavements Emily Gross 1877
Kevlar, Stephanie Kwolek 1966
Life raft Maria Beaseley 1882
Liquid Paper correction fluid Bette Nesmith Graham 1956
Locomotive chimney Mary Walton 1879
Medical syringe Letitia Geer 1899
Mop-wringer pail Eliza Wood 1889
Newborn Scoring System (Apgar Score) Dr. Virginia Apgar 1949
Non-reflective glass Katherine Blodgett 1938
Oil burner Amanda Jones 1880
Optical analysis systems Dr. Ellen Ochoa 1987
Permanent wave for the hair Marjorie Joyner 1928
Portable screen summer house Nettie Rood 1882
Process for isolating human stem cells Ann Tsukamoto, et al 1991
Refrigerator Florence Parpart 1914
Rolling pin Catherine Deiner 1891
Rotary engine Margaret Knight 1902
Safety device for elevators Harriet Tracy 1892
Signal generator Dr. Betsy Ancker-Johnson 1966
Spread spectrum Hedy Lamarr 1941
Street cleaning machine Florence Parpart 1900
Submarine lamp and telescope Sara Mather 1845
Suspenders Laura Cooney 1896
Washing machine Margaret Colvin 1871
Windshield wiper Mary Anderson 1903
Zigzag sewing machine Helen Blanchard 1873
Sure we didn't split the atom or discover gravity or the principals of flight. We're not much into navel gazing and sitting under trees pondering the state of the cosmos, we were far too busy being practical . . .now that's genius!