The Women Forgotten
the story of Maria Anna Mozart and other forgotten women
In February, around Valentine’s Day, my friends and I planned a girl’s night out. We all parked our cars along the road and carried our bags into our friend’s house to all get ready together because, for us, getting ready together is half of the fun. It was a whirlwind of glitter, wine bottles, cigarettes, mascara wands out of their tubes, eye shadow sprinkled onto the table like some kind of party drug. Clothes were flying everywhere and music was playing and there were a lot of laughs and hugs. That’s what I think of when I think of the women in my life. A beautiful whirlwind.
I have countless women in my life who have inspired, motivated, and strengthened me. Women who fight through so many obstacles that their lives look like Spartan Races. I’ve seen my mother overcome addiction and PTSD, and I’ve seen a close friend take their first steps after an accident. I’ve seen women whose hearts have been broken and women who experienced loss and grief that continue to love and be strong. When bones break they grow back stronger and with women, I think that’s true about their hearts also.
The women I know all have a strength of spirit and heart that is intoxicating to be a part of, all while still staying loving and caring. They are truly amazing, beautiful, and resilient. But I’m not going to write about any of them right now because they’ve inspired me my entire life in everything they do. Instead, I’m going to write about all of the women forgotten. Particularly one woman, and that’s Maria Anna Mozart.
A couple of weeks ago I first read about Maria Anna Mozart, who at a young age was supposedly just as talented as her brother, the famous Mozart himself. I didn’t even know about her until I stumbled across a promotion of a book mentioning her. How had I never heard of her? So I did some more research and I found out why.
Back in the early 1800s, when Maria Anna was alive, society didn’t believe that women should have lives that focused around the arts; they were just supposed to get married. So, in that regard, Maria Anna’s father forced her to stop playing music and get married, which she did. And the world forgot her name.
Her brother’s fame is obviously well known. But I couldn’t stop thinking about what could have been if Maria Anna was “allowed” to continue music. The only reason I’m she’s even remotely mentioned now is because of her brother’s fame, and it made me think of all of the other women over time whose talents had been muzzled. The amount of art, music, and writing that didn’t come to be. The minds that were forced to shut their doors because they were women’s minds.
It’s no hidden secret that this and worse has happened to countless women over centuries, but hearing about Maria Anna Mozart really struck a chord with me. And it made me very aware of all of the times women have been forgotten or dismissed even though they were undeniably talented.
Many of the women writers that are known now originally published anonymously, such as Jane Austen and Mary Shelley when she published Frankenstein. Or some even used a fictional pen name that sounded like a man’s name such as A.M. Barnard, Louisa May Alcott’s (Little Women) pen name for her darker novels that weren’t fitting for a woman to write. And these were women that persevered through society’s standards and still wrote anyway. But women shouldn’t have to choose between society and the arts, and many women would have continued to create had they been given the chance and respect they deserve.
So, this is for all of the women creators, artists and really just for all women. With Maria Anna Mozart on the mind, I will continue to create because even though women still face daily adversity, we now have more of a chance to create and show our minds and our art - and nothing is more inspiring than the women who came before us.