Feminism In The 17Th Century

2385 Words10 Pages
The 17th century marked the beginning of an evolutionary shift away from traditional conceptions of puritanical rigidity in support of a new of science of politics that supported self-representation inspired by human reason and individual thought. The forward thinking of the early Enlightenment encouraged a transition in both communal and individual philosophical ideologies towards a more modernized mindset that dramatically shifted the entire intellectual and cultural landscape of the period. As the world grew increasingly reliant on reason as a vehicle for understanding and exploring knowledge, long established cultural norms were questioned and social institutions began to be reevaluated. The changing social climate likewise demonstrated that the status of women is liable to change and social repositioning. This essay highlights some of the different ways in which, women in 17th century Britain recognized this potential for social mobility and demonstrated proto-feminist ideas, within their social and political communities. This essay will present a brief examination of the history of Margaret Hoby’s Rachel Speght, and Bathsua Makin in order to provide the context connecting each individual’s unique political involvement to a universalized common goal, a push for representation, suffrage, and proto-socialism similar to that proposed in the philosophies of the liberal politics of the mid-nineteenth century. The examples these three women set in their forward thinking and courageous lifestyles demonstrate how the history of women's politics is also part of the history of gender relations. The ways which the relationships between men and women are constructed, argued about, and maintained in any society is a direct result of the politics that these women take to be important and choose to engage in their daily lives; differences of gender in this sense interact in
Open Document