Am I upholding my staunch tradition of missing the boat on holidays, or insisting that we should celebrate women every day, rather than reserving just the one? You decide!
The truth of it is, I’ve been thinking a lot about it, and when I was cleaning, I ran across this poem. I wrote it during the final exam of a gender issues course, on the difference between Simone de Beauvoir’s take on happiness and Mary Wollstonecraft’s on love. It’s…Just go past the jump, and happy International Women’s Day.
The similarities between Beauvoir and Wollstonecraft are legion,
Moreso than their common origin from European region.
They both stand, historical women, their voices filled with fire,
It permeates their writing, this articulate desire.
They eloquently argue, they patiently beseech,
For women not to simply be a lower class of Sneech.
For her to leave the home, and for her to have a voice,
And in her education, for her to have a choice.
But here is where they differ, these two writers separate,
On just how and what and why we should help women elevate.
Beauvoir talks of happiness, Wollstonecraft of love,
One waxes existentialst, one prays to god above.
Herein I will explain to you these differing ideas,
Goals separate but both quite new in their respective years.
See Beauvoir’s brand of happiness is the self made realized,
An honest kind of becoming which can be analyzed.
Happiness is for oneself, not about where one lives,
And although that can be a help, Beauvoir won’t just give.
She says happiness is just to be who you want to be,
The matter of where is less of a care
When you’re yourself, you see.
For women to be happy, they need to have that say,
The power to choose just who they’ll be on any given day.
And sure, they can be happy, as sisters or as mums,
A woman isn’t what you’re born,
It’s what you become.
But Wollstonecraft talks instead of love based on respect.
On conduct between equals, and rational intellect.
Now these are ideals which we should see spread far and wide,
But what Mary needs for girls to be free is for men to step aside.
It’s not about the taking, but being given room,
And in the end we’d best be friends or else it’s certain doom.
While I can see the parallels, their goals aren’t quite the same.
They’re very different players, though not in a different game.
One appeals to selfhood, one appeals to faith.
Simone says that women are the choices that they make.
Mary, quite contrary, says they really need the space,
That they’d adore to be seen as more than just a pretty face.
They’re both right but coming in at almost opposite angles,
Each bound up in their own history of gender freedom wrangles,
While the projects differ, the sentiment’s the same.
A woman ought be considered more
Than just her husband’s name.