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Women and the Public Sphere in the Age of the French Revolution by Joan Landes - Essay Example

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The author outlines that the politicians who advocated for human rights are the same people who ignored women’s voices. The innovative…
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Women and the Public Sphere in the Age of the French Revolution by Joan Landes
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Women and the Public Sphere in the Age of the French Revolution by Joan Landes

Download file to see previous pages... She based her arguments on the fact that women were not excluded incidentally but rather central to an incarnation of the public sphere since their participation in politics broke up once they demanded rights as citizens of the new republic. The female image in this context constructs a specific sort of national identity.
In her book, Landes was concerned with France and its revolution, which was regarded as an advancement period for men, doing no good to women. During this age, the republican ideology of universal and equal citizenship created a danger to patriarchal supremacy; a sharper division of gender and forceful gendering of split spheres neutralized this threat. During the ancient regime, aristocratic salonnieres and women of the court influenced politics and could participate in public debates. In contrast to the new republic, women were barred from the bourgeois civic sphere and their voices prohibited. They were perceived to be irrational, motivated by personal emotions, and specific preferences practiced through bedroom or backstairs influence, would distort the public sphere expected to be neutral and concerned with the common good.
Private sphere acted as the dominion of particularism, feminine, and emotion, while the public sphere was characterized by universality, masculinity, and reason. Moreover, republican dialogue downgraded females’ local sphere such that, duty to the state was prioritized than family loyalty. Landes gave an example of Wollstonecraft, a radical woman who failed to challenge these ideologies; she approved a masculine public sphere conception and offered women a chance to enter it, particularly through assuming masculine features. Her aim was to enlighten men to take an initiative in allowing women to participate in politics as she noted that women could not speak as citizens devoid of their womanhood.
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