Foolish Men by Sor Juana

Amber Walser

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

Sor Juana was a feminist, nun, and intellectual. She was considered an illegitimate child of a Spanish Captain. She was a very intelligent lady. She taught herself to read and write by age three; this was an activity girls were not suppose to partake in. By age five she could do accounts. She chose to become a nun to pursue an education for herself. She made this decision after her mother would not let her attend school disguised as a boy. During that time women only had two choices to get married or become a nun; she chose the latter. She loved to read and in the movie "Yo, la peor de todas" referred to them as her children. She took and passed a board exam in front of a committee of men questionnaires at age 17. She was very spunky and had her own set of beliefs which she stood strongly for. She wrote a poem in response to a picture that she did not feel captured her livelihood. She also got a bad reputation by writing a response to a sermon that was then published without her knowledge. She also wrote the poem Foolish Men to criticize men's behavior toward women and the impossible roles they desire women to fill.


Sor Juana was a famous and controversial figure in the seventeenth century. In response to critics of her writing, Sor Juana wrote a letter, Respuesta a Sor Filotea. In the letter she defended women's right to education. She made the following argument, how much harm would be avoided in our country if women were able to teach women in order to avoid the danger of male teachers in intimate setting. SorJuana said that such hazards "would be eliminated if there were older women of learning, as Saint Paul desires, and instructions were passed down from one group to another, as in the case with needlework and other traditional activities." In response, the archbishop of Mexico condemned Sor Juana's "waywardness". In 1693 Sor Juana stopped writing in fear of being censored. In1694 she signed a Church formulae; "Yo, la peor de todas" ("I, the worst of all women"). After that she is said to have sold all of her library of over 4,000 volumes, and her musical and scientific instruments. Other sources report that her defiance toward the church led to all of her books and instruments being confiscated

Themes of the Poem