Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz
Sor Juana is truly an example of a woman ahead of her time, and her poem "Foolish Men" is an amazing reflection of that. This criticism of men and their actions, especially towards women, was a bold statement in a highly patriarchal society. In the 17th century, women were expected to be followers rather than leaders and were only given two main choices in life; to get married and be under the control of a man, or become a nun and be under the control of the church. Sor Juana used her role as a nun to become a leader and speak out against the societal norms of her time.
"Foolish Men" is an open condemnation of the double standards of patriarchy and the manipulative power that men have over women. This poem is a timeless reflection of woman's disillusionment with man and presents themes that are applicable to today's society.
"...could any action be so queer as oneself to cloud the mirror, then complain that it's not clear?"
This is a metaphor for the double standards that men imposed on women. In a sense, a man can ruin a woman, but then fail to see that he is the source of her brokenness. This is similar to the lines, "...you're the child that makes a bogeyman, and then recoils in fear and cries." In both of these statements, Sor Juana points out man's weakness in not being able to deal with the consequences of his own actions. This is also exemplified in the first stanza of the poem when she blames men for the faults placed in a woman's mind/
"So why are you men all so stunned at the thought you're all guilty alike?"
In this stanza, Sor Juana makes it clear that this poem applies to all men and implies that no one man is better than any other. Men, as a whole, are to blame for the condition of women. This line can also be seen as a wake up call to meant that they need to change their actions to improve the condition of society.
"...your arrogance is allied with the world, the flesh, and the devil!"
This verse stood out to me as it shows Sor Juana's religious views and devotion that is not seen anywhere else in the poem. Stating that men are of the world and the flesh is an audacious statement since, in the Bible, sin is associated with the world and the flesh while purity is associated with Heaven and the spirit. This statement provides a great contrast between her views of the corruption of men and the purity of the women they take advantage of.