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Her Feminist Tendencies

         Margaret Cavendish was a woman of firsts. She was the first British          woman to make a living off of her writing. She was the first woman to          publish science-based works. The first woman to visit the Royal          Society of London, Margaret was also the first woman to openly          criticize popular natural philosophers such as Descartes and Hobbes.          She was truly the firt feminist writer, defending females as being an          equal sex, and she paved the way for future feminist writers such as          Mary Astell, Aphra Behn, and even Virginia Woolf.

         Margaret stepped out of her expected role as a woman in many ways.          She married for love (how scandelous) and published her works, intent          on earning money as well as great fame. Margaret wrote about the lack          of education available to women, the way they were excluded from the          typical "masculine" activities, the oppressive nature of the traditional          housewife and mother roles and the negative light in which women of          the time were viewed. Margaret is well known for saying "Women live          like bats or owls, labour like beasts, and die like worms". This seems          to accurately sum up the way of life that was presented to women in the          17th century.

         Margaret also stepped out of her expected role as a female writer.          Women of the time generally expressed their writing talents by          translating religious documents or by keeping journals/confessionals.          Even then, only those women who were rich enough to afford education          found themsleves "free" to write. Margaret refused to obey these          boundaries. She spoke out strongly about the need for renovation to the          current writing "guidelines" placed on women, and did so by breaking          the very boundaries she was attempting to refine (and rather          successfully at that).

         Margaret was able to find a fine balance between wife, writer, scientist,          and individual, creating a strong testimony to what a woman with          convictions can become.

My Image

Studious is she and all alone

         Information on this page was compiled          from the following webpages:

Valerie Nigro's Page

Lindsay Della Serra's Page

Marg Cavendish

Seventeenth Century Women Poets