Foolish Men: The Tale of Sor Juana
Written by: Richard Jordan
Who was Sor Juana?
Sor Juana's Poem: "Foolish Men"
Her views regarding men, we can infer, were very strong. In her poem "Foolish Men", Sor Juana expressed her frustrations with the male identity consistently preventing females from achieving success and notoriety. In the first stanza of this poem, she writes:
"You foolish men who lay
the guilt on women,
not seeing you’re the cause
of the very thing you blame;"
Sor Juana recognizes that women fail to achieve because men condition them to believe that they are more worthy of fulfilling the domestic roles of motherhood. She clarifies this viewpoint in the fifteenth stanza:
"Why be outraged at the guilt
that is of your own doing?
Have them as you make them
or make them what you will."
Men have "made" women the way that they are, which Sor Juana, we can infer, does not approve of. Yet, she also highlights in this stanza that the molding of women by men is inescapable, and that if men are to do so, they must be careful about the woman they "create". The poem as a whole speaks to the idea that men have been deluded to think that they understand women and that they unfairly treat women in ways that perpetuate their own diminished feelings of self-worth.
The confrontation comes to a head when the Archbishop, without proper retort, shouts "may God have pity on you", calling her a "bastard" and using her illegitimacy against her, shielding his own contradictory views of women. Juan replies, justly (in my opinion), that [men] are the ones who "bear the devil in their heart", which relates to the final stanza of "Foolish Men" very closely:
"Patent is your arrogance
that fights with many weapons
since in promise and insistence
you join world, flesh and devil."
Men are indeed the devils that have done injustice to women.