Tilting the Double Standard

A Response from the Other Half of the Human Race

By Lauren Owens

Make Up Your Mind, Men...

Sor Juana references Thais, the alleged exotic lover of Alexander the Great, and Lucretia, the violated but virtuous Roman lady. She points out that men are "presumptuous" to expect women to be one of two very opposite, one-dimensional objects depending on their marital status. Instead, any woman has the right to be viewed as an "entire" being with thoughts, feelings, and flaws of her own.

Sor Juana's Poem: "Foolish Men"

...Practice What You Preach!

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

She was more than a feminist. She is an inspirational example. As a 17th century nun in Mexico, she had very few life choices and was essentially required to choose between becoming someone's wife or becoming a servant of God. There was no possibility for her to live a life completely centered around studying for her own knowledge. However, this poem was her form of retaliation. It might not have changed society at the time, but it surely placed the need for change in the forefront of someone's mind. The Viceroy and his wife deeply admired and respected her works. To Sor Juana, this would likely have been the greatest achievement because she was very proud of her own intelligent mind until the very end of her life, when foolish men deprived her of that last piece of individual identity.