Rousseau on women

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Disclaimer: This is not my week to blog. Oh well.

So, our friend Rousseau seems to have some interesting feelings about gender etc. That isn’t the only thing I plan to address in this blog post, but I feel like it’s difficult for everyone to voice their opinions in seminar because some of us (me) have louder voices than others and we all have stuff to say! Also, I feel like gender and especially gender equality is something we’ve avoided talking about a little bit because we’re afraid it might get ugly? Or something?

I actually liked Rousseau. I think he’s sexist, but some of the things he had to say were really interesting. Having said that, the first thing I’m going to touch on is the way he talks about gender. I have a note from my reading of the text that says “he keeps saying equality & ‘man’ or ‘men’ –> not equal!” This is pretty much my main feeling on this issue – how can Rousseau claim he’s writing about equality and say OVER AND OVER that by nature, ‘men’ are equal? What about women? Are they not equal? Are we not on an equal level as men? I get that times are constantly changing but I find it really hard to believe that there were zero women who read this and accused Rousseau of being sexist. I would have! (Side note: okay, maybe I am a little bit of a feminist. But I have a good reason! In grade 8 I did a theatre program in collaboration with the art gallery on their exhibition WACK! which was about feminism. And so preteen feminist Hannah was born.) I just find it really puzzling that he keeps saying equality is inherent to humans and we were made to be equal etcetera etcetera and yet doesn’t use pronouns that imply equality. 

On to the part of Rousseau I really liked, now: page 119 – “It was necessary in one’s own interest to seem to be other than one was in reality. Being and appearance became two entirely different things…” This is beautiful. You go, Glenn Coco. It’s completely, one hundred percent true – and the fact that he’s bold enough to just come out and say it makes me love him despite his sexist attitude. I’ve always wondered why people seem to feel the need to be someone in public that isn’t who they are in their personal life. I can guarantee that there’s been a time in everyone’s life when they’ve done or said something that isn’t entirely them because they were afraid their natural response would be too _____ (weird, unnatural, different), and it’s because we’re afraid of being judged. Why? Why can’t we just let everyone see our inner quirks? This is something I’ve struggled with a lot personally, especially in high school when everyone judges everyone else for everything. I wish we could all get along like we used to in middle school. I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy. Really, though, all Mean Girls references aside, I wish people would stop being so judgey. I love the fact that Rousseau points it out! It’s very honest of him.

On another note, really not feeling the essay topics this week – hopefully after tomorrow’s seminar I’ll feel like we’ve talked things over enough to make a solid argument. Fingers crossed.