Pocahontas: A Woman's Misconceptions

Great Essays
We remember history as just that: his story. Our textbooks and history specials remember our Founding Fathers, our brave male warriors, and insightful political leaders, yet passes over the influence and importance of their female counterparts as if they played no part. There may be a blurb regarding the bravery of women such as Harriet Tubman or Amelia Earhart, but for the most part, the significance of other women and their impact on their communities are overlooked. Perhaps this is de to the variety of misconceptions that involve women and how they act and behave, or perhaps also due to the the apparent distortion of historical events to portray them in ways more romantic or sensual than they actually were. Whatever the case, the study of …show more content…
The most prominent example of this would be the tale of Pocahontas, the Aglokian “princess” who left her native Virginia tribe for the glory of England, and is infamously believed to have saved the life of Englishman John Smith as a child. This supposed account inspired numerous plays, poems, and stories and sought to “satisfy [Europeans’s] own need to believe that the Indians loved and admired them… without representations, without guile.” Combined with the story portrayed in the Disney movie, “Pocahontas,” where the sixteen-year-old Indian fell madly in love with the white John Smith, the reality of her situation gets severely distorted. In reality, she was a smart, mischievous, quick girl of around ten or eleven when she interacted with John Smith, far too young to be interested enough to save him from a storied death sentence that would not have happened. Where the fictional Pocahontas was a young woman acting out of love and admiration for Smith and his people, what we know of the true Pocahontas shows that she was a bright and brave young girl, willing and ready to act for the betterment of her people’s lives. Her story is not a love story, yet it was what history and America remembers it as. Women’s history is not meant to be glossed over as a subheading in a textbook chapter. Women have always maintained a prevalent and important role in the history of the American continent, both before and after the Europeans laid claim on it. Yet their contributions and strength are often overlooked to that of their male counterparts, as they are seen as a higher influence on history. But as Linda Kerber points out, “One of the most effective ways in which the dominant groups maintain their power is by depriving the people they dominate of the knowledge of their own history.” The study of women’s history is integral to our

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