Friday, December 10, 2010

Adventure #102, #103 - The Feminist Reading

I have always liked "girl stuff" and have been a fan of the riot grrrls movement for a while. Feminism is something I have been wanting to look at more closer for a long time but, as usual, never did. Time for a change! I have decided to read feminist writings and I'm loving it. I don't really have a rule to pick the books I'm reading, I just choose them because I know they were important in the Feminist History or just because they look interesting. Here's what I've read for the moment :

Olympe de Gouges - Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen (#102)
In 1791, two years after the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, Olympe de Gouges published this text as she thought that the Revolution, even based on equality ideals, had totally forgotten about women. I had heard about this text many years ago but never read it, even if it's only 5 pages long and you can find it very easily on the internet... I thought it was really interesting as I didn't expect it to be so ahead of it's time. Olympe de Gouges is for example asking for equality amongst men and women in politics and jobs. She was also in favour of sex outside of marriage and fought for the rights of illegitimate children and single mothers.
" No one is to be disquieted for his very basic opinions; woman has the right to mount the scaffold; she must equally have the right to mount the rostrum, provided that her demonstrations do not disturb the legally established public order. [...] For the support of the public force and the expenses of administration, the contributions of woman and man are equal; she shares all the duties and all the painful tasks; therefore, we must have the same share in the distribution of positions, employment, offices, honors, and jobs."
In France, we study the Declaration of the Rights of Man in school, and I think that kids should be asked to read the Declaration of the Rights of Woman then.

Betty Friedan - The Feminine Mystique (#103)
I see the American 50s as a spotless picture with a happy family. You know, the kind you can see in old ads. Times after a long war are always very special, filled with joy and hope. I have also always like the idea of being a housewife. Just for this, many people will say that I cannot be a feminist. But I'm just speaking for myself. I love family, baking, cooking, spending time at home and stuff like that. I could be a happy housewife I guess, even if I never really picture myself as being just a housewife, I think that if I was one, I will always keep some time for writing or doing something like that. Anyway, being a housewife is a real job and it's not because you'd like to be one that you are anti-feminist. What shouldn't be is when women don't have the choice, when raising a family is the only career they can really dream about. The Feminine Mystique was a good reading as it shows how all these women had to suffer from a lack of fulfillment, feel guilty about it, and how difficult it was for them to find their own identity in a marriage and society where the man was the strong figure. Even if some points may be a bit out-dated now, most of Betty Friedan's thoughts can still apply to our modern world. Which is quite sad when you think that it was published in 1963.

I'm currently reading The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir and The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol Adams, I would also like to read A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft. Any other suggestions?

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