"Foolish Men"

by Sor Juana Ines De la Cruz

Christin Collie

Quest for Purity

Throughout the poem, Sor Juana discusses the issue of virginity. The same double standard still exists today. Women who are virgins are highly sought after, and those who are not have a tarnished reputation. Sor Juana explains that men are the reason for women losing their virginity and also their good reputation, yet men do not accept responsibility for this and place blame on women.

Sor Juana has two paths, she can be married or she can become a nun. Because her mother would not allow her to disguise herself as a boy to attend more schooling, she chooses the path of a nun. Knowledge is more important to her than being married.

Men = Devils?

In the final stanza of the poem, De la Cruz writes, "I well know what powerful arms you wild in pressing for evil: your arrogance is allied with world, the flesh, and the devil!"

Sor Juana tells her audience that men are synonymous with evil. Her experience warrants this point of view because she was taken advantage of by men throughout her life, though not physically. Her work was published under a pseudonym without her permission, and she was forced to deal with the consequences of speaking out for women's rights. For her, men took away her freedom to learn by stripping her of all of her books and forcing her to work with nuns dying of the plague, of which she later died from.

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The World's First Feminist

Sor Juana De La Cruz is now known as the world's first feminist, as she was the first to publicly speak out for women's right to education and access to knowledge. Her image can now be found on currency in Mexico (as shown above). Her writings were important for women around the world, and she is one of the reasons behind access to education for women today. Without her, feminism would not have appeared until possibly much later in history.