I’m currently reading Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” and I’m actually enjoying it despite myself. Her envious tone keeps me from taking her seriously but she writes beautifully and I can see why it’s been in print since 1929.
However, Woolf misses the mark; Why is writing poetry and novels more important than motherhood? Can’t a woman’s genius be different than man’s? So what if men are more inventive than women. Women’s talents shine elsewhere. I also find it hard to believe that social construct has successfully “kept down” women for centuries! centuries! Camille Paglia has an interesting take and I agree Genius is not checked by social obstacles: it will overcome:
“In the beautiful hypothesis of ‘Shakespeare’s sister,’ Virginia Woolf imagines a girl with her brother’s gifts whom society would have ‘thwarted and hindered’ to insanity and suicide. Women have been discouraged from genres such as sculpture that require studio training or expensive materials. But in philosophy, mathematics, and poetry, the only materials are pen and paper. Male conspiracy cannot explain all female failures. I am convinced that, even without restrictions, there still would have been no female Pascal, Milton, or Kant. Genius is not checked by social obstacles: it will overcome. Men’s egotism, so disgusting in the talentless, is the source of their greatness as a sex. Women have a more accurate sense of reality; they are physically and spiritually more complete. Culture, I said, was invented by men, because it is by culture that they make themselves whole. Even now, with all vocations open, I marvel at the rarity of the woman driven by artistic or intellectual obsession, that self-mutilating derangement of social relationship which, in its alternative forms of crime and ideation, is the disgrace and glory of the human species.”