Her Feminist TendenciesMargaret 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.
Studious is she and all alone
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Seventeenth Century Women Poets