More on feminism and Austen
Posted by Erin on April 21, 1998 at 22:18:37:
In response to Defining Feminism, written by Marie Bernadette on April 20, 1998 at 18:29:44
You offer several convincing points. I agree that feminist currents have existed throughout history, absent of the formal rubric of "feminism" (see Sappho, for example); and the argument can be made that such and such an author may express a certain ideology even though it is not his/her explicit intention.
But permit me to explicate a few of my previously stated points. Although JA advocates (via her novels) certain values that can be construed as "feminist", these values also apply to men (Darcy is a prime exposition of this sentiment). In my estimation, her social ideal transcends gender. In this sense, I would be more comfortable with labeling her a humanist (or an even an elitist) rather than a feminist. Secondly, she was not a social revolutionary or a reformer along the lines of a Mary Wollstonecraft. Austen does not seem to envision ways in which an individual can renounce society, but instead, offers options in which the individual can thrive within a pre-existing social structure. It is for this reason why I find her social views so compelling and laudable...it's much harder to live (and retain self) within social constructs as it is to reject them.
If she's a feminist, IMO, it is by default.
- JA as Humanist Marie Bernadette 13:43:58 4/22/98 (0)
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