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|Caution about the use of the word "femininsm"
Written by Connie
(4/30/2010 11:21 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Charlotte's choice, Austen's feminism?, penned by Heather Leigh
I agree JA was very aware of the limited opportunities for women in her society, but I am not so sure that she was trying to advocate for change in her novels--rather, she may just be portraying a realistic view of the society she knew, as she did in all its aspects. She experienced the effects of the limited options, as did many women she knew.
My caution about the word "feminism" is its 20th and 21st Century connotations. Recognizing that women like Charlotte have no good choices, does not mean that JA would advocate for all sorts of rights women have now--even ones that seem like no-brainers to us. I am thinking particularly of her views on women's education, which came up in an earlier discussion. She never argued that women should be better educated than they were. Nor did she hesitate to include numerous silly, petty women in her novels. Her feminism was a feminism consonant with intelligent women of her time. It is hard, if not impossible, to say what positions she would have taken on various "feminist" issues of our day.
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