The term "feminist"
Posted by Carolyn B on April 19, 1998 at 14:49:25:
In response to My mantra, written by Erin on April 18, 1998 at 11:35:27
] I agree as well. My oft spoken mantra is that Austen presents an ideal of what her society ought to be versus what it actually is...but she offers ways that her characters can achieve freedom (defined essentially as a retention of individuality) within society, without forsaking it. It is for this reason I would not classify her as a feminist, this is not her agenda. If there are hints of a feminist bent then they come as a natural result of her primary agenda: achievement of freedom within the social sphere --this ideal applies to both genders.
I agree with Erin that JA can't be called a "feminist" especially since that term today has so many connotations based on what has happened in the history of women's rights in this century. (also it carries so much post-modern[?] political and academic baggage - I'm using the p-m term rather gratuitously ; )
Erin can probably address this better than I can, but so many of the ideological terms we use ("feminist", etc.) have taken shape since JA's time that our trying to use it to discuss the Regency period would be anachronistic. (Sort of like applying the term "atheist" to a much earlier time period when the concept really didn't exist - can't remember which historian did a big expose on that.)
I see JA as a woman, like many women before her, who as a human being had ideas, desires, goals, that other humans have shared but because of her time & gender, she could be thwarted in certain aspects of her life or conditioned by her culture not to expect to do certain things(unless perhaps she was willing to go to the extremes that some women did - dress as a man to get a job, etc. which could take her "beyond the pale" so to speak). I was struck in the Tomalin bio how important her earnings as an author were to here because they were HERS. JA was certainly conscious of the many limitations her culture (though she wouldn't call it that) put on her gender (a term she also wouldn't use).
Hope that made some sort of sense.
- Defining Feminism Marie Bernadette 18:29:44 4/20/98 (6)
- More on feminism and Austen Erin 22:18:37 4/21/98 (1)
- JA as Humanist Marie Bernadette 13:43:58 4/22/98 (0)
- Arguing over semantics : ) Carolyn B 19:37:22 4/20/98 (3)
- Semantic antics Marie Bernadette 13:50:34 4/22/98 (0)
- The Vote -- not very good example (try education) The Mysterious H.C. 22:34:23 4/20/98 (1)
- This is (in an oblique way, perhaps) my point ; -) Carolyn B 21:44:14 4/21/98 (0)
- Made perfect sense to me... MB 16:39:53 4/20/98 (0)
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