I am actually genuinely sad that I had such an insane week/weekend last week, because this is a book I wish I’d already finished. I wonder why? Maybe because it’s about feminism! Not kind of hidden in the background feminism, or super aggressive feminism (Antigone’s Claim), but just a discussion. About feminism.
I like her tone right from the start, but she uses very flowery language. I don’t know if this is just who she is, or how writing was at the time, or if it’s partially to make a point. She references Rousseau a lot, which leads me to believe that there will probably be some kind of comparative question on the list of essay prompts. This excites me, because I liked Rousseau. Also, Wollstonecraft asks a lot of questions as well as maintaining the ‘in my opinion’/’I think’ kind of statements. This feels conversational and approachable rather than somewhat pretentious and stuck up …
Just a few quotes today:
“Men, indeed, appear to me to act in a very unphilosophical manner when they try to secure the good conduct of women by attempting to keep them always in a state of childhood.” (127) This is interesting, because she goes on to say that innocence is essentially the same as weakness, and that children should be innocent, but men and women who are innocent just look weak. I like this point.
“Another instance of that feminine weakness of character, often produced by a confined education, is a romantic twist of the mind, which has been very properly termed sentimental. (330) Girls these days always get complained at for being ‘too sentimental’. I don’t understand why, because it’s natural that girls are a little bit more emotional and a little bit more romantic. Is it ‘weakness of character’? I don’t know. This could lead to a huge argument and I don’t want to get into that.
“Could these girls have been injured by the perusal of novels?” (331) This reminds me so much of Northanger Abbey, because it suggests the same thing, that by reading certain kinds of books, our ideals (and especially female ideals) of love and romance have been warped to something super unrealistic. I love it because it’s completely true.
Okay! That’s enough of my feminine thoughts. I’m excited to hear Jill’s lecture on this and even more excited to finish the book!
I don’t agree that girls are naturally more emotional or romantic. (that sounded really harsh, sorry…) I also don’t think that being emotional/romantic is a “weakness of character”, either – maybe if you got caught up in them, but to be totally fair, being overly stoic (any other appropriate antonyms to emotional/romantic?) would be a weakness of character too. I guess what I’m getting at is that having a balanced character is important and better than dismissing “feminine” traits as flaws or weaknesses.