Christine De Pizan's Definition Of Feminism

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Feminism is a social movement campaigning for the equality of the genders that officially began sometime during the twentieth century. The men and women who introduced these ideas separately into the world before they were combined into the movement are referred to as proto-feminists. In today’s world feminism has grown exponentially all around the world, and continues to fight gender inequality and the globally established patriarchy. Due to the extreme actions of certain women who misuse the title of feminist, many women have misinterpreted the goal of feminism, and separated themselves from the movement, claiming that they believe in equality, not the triumph of men over women. Several women believe that feminism will prevent them from being …show more content…
This paper is based upon the definition of modern feminism as the belief that all genders should be politically, socially, and economically equal, and the beliefs expressed by Christine in the text do not fit into this definition. In her concluding paragraphs, she distinctly tells women what to do and who to be, and does not give them the freedom of expression and free will that was gifted to men at the time (de Pizan 238-239). She tells married women that they are to remain subservient to their husbands as well, claiming that wives of good husbands should “serve their husbands with devotion,” wives with mediocre husbands should “thank the Lord that they’re not any worse,” and women with awful husbands should “do their best to tolerate them,” (238). Christine does not believe that women and men should be equal and agrees that men should be the superior gender in most situations. However, she does tell women to disprove men who wrongly portray women in negative ways, and that they are to rise above them (239). This is where proto-feminism, or concepts that are a part of feminism being put into practice before the creation of the movement that lays down its foundation, comes into play. Christine de Pizan may not be a modern feminist, but her belief that women need to unite and disprove …show more content…
She states several times throughout the text that women and men were created to both be used by God, as demonstrated when Justice says, “My dear Christine, I’m not sure what more to say to you. I could tell you endless stories about women of all different social ranks, whether virgins, wives, or widows, whose wonderful strength and constancy revealed how God was working through them” (de Pizan 236-237). Christine reveals here that she believes that God works through women as well as men and that he does not care about the gender in these instances, which is an idea that was far less socially acceptable at the time, and one that is very important to the founding of feminism. Christine also claims that men and women are inherently equal at their cores within the novel with Reason saying, “It is he or she who is the more virtuous who is the superior being: human superiority or inferiority is not determined by sexual difference but by the degree to which one has perfected one’s nature and morals” (23). While she is not saying that men and women should be treated equally in all aspects of life, she is saying that they were made equal by God, and this idea that all of the genders, when stripped down to their basics, are equal is what later grows into the idea that they should be equal. One area where Christine de Pizan does claim that men and women

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