Margaret Fuller from “Women in the 19th Century”

I thought this was an interesting essay about women, written in a unique way. I especially enjoyed the historical aspects as well as Fuller’s mention of the Roman gods (1959). That part where she brings up Proclus’s ideas about power and spheres was something i never would have thought of while writing about this topic. But the part that was most memorable for me was on page 1947 where Fuller includes the conversation about the man discussing a woman in the household.

“Have you ever asked her whether she was satisfied with these indulgences?”

“No, but I know she is. She is too amiable to wish what would make me unhappy, and too judicious to wish to step beyond the sphere of her sex. I will never consent to have our peace disturbed by an such discussion,”

Then the conversation continues when he says, “Am I not the head of the house?” She says, “You are not the head of your wife. God has given her a mind of her own.” And he says, “I am the head and she the heart.”

I thought this bit of dialogue demonstrated the problem the author wanted to explain. It says a lot about the time that the male cannot see the woman as anything more than the “heart.” He doesn’t see her as his equal and he ignores the fact that she has a mind of her own because woman weren’t thought of as intelligent or powerful in that time. I like the comparison of the heart and the head because usually those two part of the human body are thought of as being equally important and working together. They may oppose each other, but they often go hand in hand. The way the comparison is used here is in a negative way, though the male may┬ánot even realize this. He believes it should be an honor for the woman to be the heart, but in reality they should both play heart and head equally in order to create a marriage of equality. Each one should possess head and heart and neither should be more dominant than the other.

Those ideas relate to the second quote that I felt contributed to the main point of the article.

Yet, then and only then, will mankind be ripe for this, when inward and outward freedom for Woman as much as for Man shall be acknowledged as a right, not yielded as a concession.

I liked this quote because it could almost be a response to the former quote where the man and woman are discussing the idea of consent. The quote doesn’t say that a woman should hold more power over man or that a woman is more important. It says that they should both be acknowledged as equals because being equals would be a basic human right rather than something to consent to. This reminded me of the head and heart idea and how woman and man should build each other up as well as build off of each other. Each sex is its own entity, independent of the other. That doesn’t mean one has to be inferior to the other, but that they should each recognize that they are their own person and own mind. ┬áThen men will stop assuming things about a woman’s feelings or mind and understand that they are allowed to think and have opinions just as strongly as a man.

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