This week we are reading about feminism and gender differences in society and the arts, and while never having been particularly engaged with feminism in the past, I have now become such a great fan of the 19th century artist Rosa Bonheur after reading Linda Nochlin’s article on “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”. Personally to me, her appeal lies not so much in her paintings, but more in her outlook on women and marriage, which so greatly reflects my own sentiments. She maintained that “Too many young girls let themselves be led to the altar like lambs to the sacrifice”. I would not define myself as a feminist, but I am very much an opponent of marriage. Not only because I do not believe in it for various reasons (I will not bother to further explain this here), but because I have witnessed too many young women my age who have given up their education, and whose lives evolve around nothing but their partner and their child – without the two their lives losing all sense of happiness, identity and meaning. To me, not having an education or a passion of your own is inconcievable, and ever since I was a small girl, I knew in my heart that I would never marry or have kids – a statement I have held on firmly for ten years, but which I constantly need to defend from a society in which marriage and motherhood has become a convention, and something females are not only expected to go through, but expected to want to go through. I not only admire, but I also feel inspired by Rosa Bonheur, who defied 19th century society by deciding to live for her freedom and passion, rather than being confined into the four walls of a domestic household in the role as the loving wife and mother. Nochlin’s article really inspired me to do some further reading on feminist literature, and as a little Christmas treat to myself, I logged onto Amazon and ordered The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy and The Second Sex by Simone du Beauvoir. Something for me to read on my six hour train ride to Sweden on December 22nd.

 

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