Last post of the semester!
This was an interesting class I found, and not only because it focused on women in writing during times that women has such distinct guidelines to follow in order to be considered socially acceptable, but because these women, who fought through the discrimination of their sex, wrote wonderful pieces!
Lorde states in The Masters Tools that “As women, we have been taught either to ignore our differences, or to view them as causes for separation and suspicion rather than as forces for change”, which in the context of her work relates mostly to women of colour and sexual orientation, but I feel that this quote pertains to all of the women that we studied this semester. These women, who were expected to fit into an ideal image of a woman, were not able to ignore their differences, but rather used them as forces for change. They had interest in academics and wrote, despite the qualms that society had against women and writing; they pushed through their stereotypes and have transcended the ages and their works are still read and studied today! Many women, such as Elizabeth Montagu, refused to place themselves into the mold that society expected them to shape to, and instead persevered in spite of society’s expectations. Woolf, in A Room of One’s Own, also discusses the idea that women were forced to hold positions of inferiority in all aspects of their lives, and although we might like to think of “genius as transcendent”, that is not always the case. Many of the women that we looked at this semester, if not all of them, were able to transcend the very distinct gender line, and have their works widely read or published, and that is why I found this course to be quite inspiring!
It is impossible for me to imagine living in a time when men and women were so distinctly unequal, and we have come a long way. But even today, equality between the sexes even in Canada is not completely diminished; just the other day on my internet homepage was an article about the different wages between men and women across the provinces; men on average earning quite a deal more than women in the same fields. I was astonished. Perseverance is the key however, and “
It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths” that has made a difference in society, and will continue to do so. C’mon women. Clearly we are all genius. And that can transcend about anything.