Tag Archives: feminism

Today We Learn About: Modern Feminist Arguments Regarding Women in Shakespeare

‘Are We Reading the Same Play?’

“A feminist editor of Shakespeare… must interrogate the assumptions made about gender in the text itself and in the previous transmission and elucidation of the text, drawing on feminist studies of the ways in which Shakespeare has been reproduced and appropriated by patriarchal cultures.”
~ from Ann Thompson’s essay “Feminist Theory and Editing Shakespeare”

Audiences still flock to showings of The Taming of the Shrew and Hamlet. These modern audiences judge these pieces, applying them to their lives and interpreting them how they will. The ability to do this has helped Shakespeare’s plays stay popular despite the fact that he would have celebrated his 445th birthday this year. Many contemporary feminist scholars, however, take issue with Shakespeare’s treatment of strong female characters and portrayal of weak ones. Books and essays have been published and plays have been rewritten in an attempt to undo the damage done by a well-loved form of entertainment that celebrates taming a woman who is honest and does not put up with anything she does not want to. These plays show women as individuals poisoned by their sexual passions and eager to secure their place among power and wealth. Continue reading

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Today We Learn About: Sojourner Truth

Nell Irvin Painter’s 1996 book entitled, Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol tells the story of a young slave girl named Isabella who rises from her meager beginnings to become Sojourner Truth, a woman that many hold as an inspiration, and a woman that is widely regarded as a symbol of abolitionist and feminist ideals. Painter employs a unique approach to her subject matter, as the reader is given extensive background information on not only Sojourner Truth, but also most of the people and institutions she spends time with over her years of preaching and activism. In doing so, Painter treats the reader to a thorough examination of Sojourner Truth, but also of the movements that she has come to represent. Among the movements discussed in the book are the abolition of slavery, women’s rights, African-American resettlement, and the personal struggles that Truth must endure until the end of her days. Continue reading

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