Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Three Forgotten Feminists

Yes - and one of them is a guy!
Mary Wollstonecraft
Over a hundred years before Gloria Steinem, Germaine Greer and Simone de Beauvoir three brave intellectuals swept aside the objections of all the stodgy chauvinists running 18th and 19th century England and insisted that women should enjoy equality with men. I reference them all in my new novel, Unnatural.  Who were they?


MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT (1759-1797)
 Writer, philosopher and advocate of women’s rights.  Mother of the famous Mary Shelly (author of Frankenstein)  After a rough family life with a violent father she founded a school, became a high-ranking and respected intellectual, penned A Vindication of the Rights of Women, among many other books and essays, and ridiculed the image of the “trivial sexualized female – obsessed with appearance and living an empty, self gratifying life with male admiration as its only purpose.”

Read more about her 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/empire_seapower/wollstonecraft_01.shtml


Harriet Martineau
HARRIET MARTINEAU (1802-1876)

Credited with being the first female sociologist.  She wrote many books and pamphlets that made economic and sociological theories understandable for everyone and campaigned for the rights of slaves, servants, women and children.


JOHN STUART MILL (1806-1873)

a British philosopher, political economist and civil servant

"... [T]he legal subordination of one sex to another — is wrong in itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; and that it ought to be replaced by a system of perfect equality, admitting no power and privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other.”

John Stuart Mill
Used his position as Member of Parliament to advocate for votes for women, a very controversial stance at the time.  In his famous essay, The Subjection of Women he states,  “the wife's position under the common law of England is worse than that-of slaves in the laws of many countries.”
Hmmh - have things changed that much!!??

Read his essay here: 

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/mill/john_stuart/m645s/