Evette Davis

Kings, queens and jacks

I’m often asked, “Why ‘Woman King’ and not ‘Queen’?” The answer is that a woman king is something altogether different from a queen.

A queen historically derives her power from a man, often though an arranged marriage. And while she may wage war, it’s rare that she would ride into battle. (I am bracing for emails from history buffs that beg to differ.)

Not so for Olivia. She will have to fight her own battles, and wage war on her enemies without the aid of men, or an army. Perhaps you will notice as you read Woman King, that she is being groomed for the role of King as any male would be both academically and physically.

She becomes a voracious reader of history. She is schooled in the art of combat, and encouraged to be bold in her leadership. Olivia is surrounded by a series of advisors and confidents, who will all, in their own way, be critical to her survival as the story continues.

In short, she learns to fend for herself.  She learns to trust her instincts and make her own choices.

How refreshing. And yet, how confusing for some.

The issue of women in positions of leadership remains far from resolved. As a society we’re still dealing with whether we trust women when they reach the top, and we certainly haven’t decided if we can enjoy their success and wealth. Current female CEO’s receive a kind of double hazing. Men look for signs of weakness and women criticize them for not being soft enough on their brethren.  Can you imagine a male CEO being criticized for reining in non-productive telecommuters?

As a society we pledge to help women reach the highest levels of business and government, but at the same time the selling of young woman as sex objects has never been so prevalent. The transformation of young girls from cherubic Disney entertainers to troubled nightclub denizen happens so quickly that it can be difficult to keep the names straight.

Women it seems have to be a sort of jack-of-all-trades to keep the adulation of everyone. They have to be tough enough to satisfy their male colleagues, but demonstrate enough diplomacy and humanity to come across as female.  It’s a hard road to walk – one that perhaps only a Woman King can manage. — Evette