Explanation on works by women present in Enlightenment Thinking. Please answer ONE of the following questions in an original post:
To analyze the role of gender and ideas of power during the Enlightenment and the French Revolution
The ideas of the Enlightenment played a major role in inspiring the French Revolution, which began in 1789 and emphasized the rights of common men as opposed to the exclusive rights of the elites. As such, they laid the foundation for modern, rational, democratic societies. However, historians of race, gender, and class note that Enlightenment ideals were not originally envisioned as universal in today’s sense of the word.
Although they did eventually inspire the struggles for rights of people of color, women, or the working masses, most Enlightenment thinkers did not advocate equality for all, regardless of race, gender, or class, but rather insisted that rights and freedoms were not hereditary (the heredity of power and rights was a common pre-Enlightenment assumption). This perspective directly attacked the traditionally exclusive position of the European aristocracy but was still largely focused on expanding the rights of white males of a particular social standing.
The theme of this module’s discussion board is gender and power.
Gender divides power. Inequalities between men and women are one of the most persistent patterns in the distribution of power. For example, women’s lack of influence marks political decision-making the world over.
Gender relations are power relations. Often what it means to be a ‘woman’ is to be powerless (quiet, obedient, accommodating). A ‘real man’, by contrast, is powerful (outspoken, in control, able to impose his will), particularly in relation to women. These gender roles tend to perpetuate the power inequalities that they are based on. For example, the fact that many men and women think it’s not ‘natural’ for women to speak up in public often poses a key barrier to women’s access to decision-making.
‘Power equals masculinity’ also helps explain why powerful people often demonstrate dominance in gendered ways. In Malawi, for example, leaders have traditionally asserted their ‘big man’ status by getting women to offer sexual ‘favors’ to party leaders and functionaries. As a result, they have established “the mobilization of women in subordinate and exploitative roles as an enduring feature of Malawi’s political system.”
Read from Western Civilization: A Concise History
The Enlightenment and French Revolution, V. 2 Chapters 11-13
Read Primary Source Materials:
Declaration of the Rights of Man
Enlightenment Thinking Readings
Please answer ONE of the following questions in an original post:
How do the works by or about women, as presented in the “Enlightenment Thinking Readings”, represent or contradict traditional Enlightenment thinking as presented in the textbook?
How do the Declarations of Men and Of Women construct new ideas of power?
How do either of the Declarations (of Men OR of Women) provide evidence for the ideas of gender and education as demonstrated in the “Enlightenment Thinking Readings”?