Thoughts on feminism, identity and culture

First of all, my sincerest apologies for the lateness of this post.

1. Wollstonecraft

As likely evidenced in seminar I am a big fan of Vindications and of Mary W. In part due to her husband’s unflattering posthumous memoire, W’s reputation was severely damaged until the last century and she has thus not received much of the credit that she is due. I think that she is due credit as writing and therefore initiating the FIRST comprehensive discussion on women’s rights – and as a result human rights – and especially from a female perspective. there was nothing before her! no concept of women’s rights before she started writing about them. I find it interesting that some found W’s argumentation linking women’s education to being better wives and mothers as hypocritical. As noted in seminar I found the way that she structured her arguments brilliant in strategy, as it must be recognized that she was trying to appeal to men and she had to convince them that women’s education was worth their while, that it would benefit them. Regardless of her personal motives, I think that W should be applauded for her brilliant foresight and argumentation. Any woman can write an angry rant about our misogynistic society and men’s oppression of women – how successful do you think these women have been in truly advancing egalitarianism? It is women like Mary Wollstonecraft who are truly responsible for advancing the rights of women and society’s view towards them, through logic and well supported evidence, not through hyperbole and angry vitriol.

2. Hacking

I really enjoyed Rewriting The Soul and found the discussion of DID very interesting. As evidenced by my essay topic my main interest with this work is Hacking’s discussion on identity and the “self.” While Hacking may not say that identity is exclusively a societal construct, I think that that the case is made that it is still largely societally constructed. But while this may be true I think that identity is still a necessary and fundamental part of humanity.

3. Fanon

The concept of culture in Black Skin White Masks is something that is not unique to the time or specific culture that Fanon was discussing. It is something that many people especially in Canada struggle to define. Canada has always prided itself on being a multicultural country, the land of 200 languages but this has also resulted in losing a sense of what Canadian culture is. It is hard to describe to other Canadians never mind non-Canadians, what Canadian culture or identity is, often falling on tired clichés like maple syrup, hockey and amiability. Salim Mansur, a professor of political science at the University of Western Ontario says that “a multicultural country has basically indicated it is a country without a core culture, or the core culture that once gave it cohesion, identity, framework, anchor, has been jettisoned to embrace a multiplicity of identities.”

1 thought on “Thoughts on feminism, identity and culture

  1. Hey, good to see you back blogging! Better late than never. On Wollstonecraft, didn’t Olympe de Gouges write about the rights of women, as a response to the rights of man and citizen in France, earlier or at least around the same time as Wollstonecraft? But agreed, Wollstonecraft’s argument is much more comprehensive, for certain. I can’t think of anything else written on this subject in such a comprehensive way, at least in what I’ve read of (mostly Western) non-fiction, before her work. There was Mary Astell writing on women’s education in the late 17th century, but I don’t know that much about her.

    And being somewhat new to Canada, I have to agree with your point about Canadian culture. It’s hard to pinpoint anything exactly. But is this a problem, really? I can pinpoint a number of things about American culture, but some of them I’d rather just not be there, actually. And I kind of like Canada being more diffuse amongst many different cultures. Though perhaps that’s more an ideal than a reality; I’m not sure all these different cultures are treated as if equally valuable, of course!

    Also, could you reactivate the plugin that allows commenters to check a box to get an email if there are any replies? Go to the dashboard, click on “plugins,” then activate “subscribe to comments.” Thanks!

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