An Early Feminist: An Essay in Defence of the Female Sex

An Early Feminist: An Essay in Defence of the Female Sex

Length: 950 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

An Essay in Defence of the Female Sex, In Which are Inserted the Characters of a Pendant, a
Squire, a Beau, a Vertuoso, a Poetaster, a City-Critick, &C. by Judith Drake

Published in 1696, the authorship of An Essay in Defence of the Female sex has been a subject of debate for a long time. Initially the work had been attributed to the contemporary author of Judith Drake, Mary Astell. However this controversy has been cleared with Judith Drake as the decided author of this work. The controversy perhaps emanated from the fact that no author had been indicated on the letter. It was only stated, ‘Written by a lady’. This has been interpreted by some literary analysts as a having been done deliberately by the author to emphasize her message of feminism, the key theme in the work. (Hannah, 2006).

The main theme in Drake’s work is feminism, with the author seeking to disprove the male stereotypes that have painted women as being intellectually inferior. Written as a letter to a female friend, as is thus indicated: “In a letter to a lady”, the author is said to have been inspired to write the essay by some conversation between ladies and some gentleman. In vindicating the
intellectual strength of women and dismissing the belief by men that women are inferior, Drake employed the rationalist approach, similar to the approach used by John Lock in his work ‘An Essay Concerning Human Understanding’. This framework followed only two other earlier works by female authors, Fancoise Poulain De La Barre’s analysis of cultural misconstruction of gender in her work ‘De l’egalite de deux sexes’ in 1673 and Mary Astell’s ‘A serious proposal
to the ladies’ in 1694 (Hannah, 2006). Using this rationalist approach, Drake successfully coun...


... middle of paper ...


...tions, are born
slaves, and live prisoners all their lives". Drake also joins other feminist writers in echoing their key concern for women, equal opportunity to education. (Jones ,1990).

Works Cited.
Smith, Hannah. "Abstract: English 'Feminist' Writings and Judith Drake's An Essay in Defence
of the Female Sex (1696)." The Historical Journal. Cambridge University Press, 2001. 18
December 2006 fromPage=online&aid=85583>.
Devereaux, Johanna “Affecting the Shade”: Attribution, Authorship, and Anonymity in An
Essay in Defence of the Female Se,Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature(Vol 27) Number 1,
Spring 2008, pp. 17-37
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/tulsa_studies_in_womens_literature/summary/v027/27.1.devereaux.
html
Jones, Vivien Women in the eighteenth century: constructions of femininity, Routledge, 1990

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Sexism in the Church and Culture Essay

- Sexism is defined as “the system and practice of discriminating against a person on the basis of sex” (Purple Ribbon Campaign – What is Sexism. Government of Newfoundland and Labrador), but if one were to ask the average Canadian to define the same word, the results would vary enormously. In today’s modern society, people often think that sexism only applies to women in violent domestic cases because that is the type of sexism the media dominantly displays. However, this has been proved to be an incorrect assumption....   [tags: sex discrimination, maternity leave]

Better Essays
1595 words (4.6 pages)

The Second Coming a Poem by W.B. Yeats Essay

- 'Thing fall apart the centre cannot hold' is a line in W.B Yeats poem 'The Second Coming' because of its stunning, violent imagery and terrifying ritualistic language, "The Second Coming" is one of Yeats's most famous poems, its set in a world on the threshold of apocalypse must like the three texts. The texts 'Henry IV Part 2' by William Shakespeare, 'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood and the poem 'The Waste Land' by T.S Eliot deals with the topic of disintegration of and within civilisation....   [tags: The Waste Land' by T.S Eliot, sex, love]

Better Essays
1871 words (5.3 pages)

Essay on Sex and Defence as Modes of Discourse

- According to Paul Simpson, author of, ‘On the Discourse of Satire: Towards a Stylistic Model of Satirical Humour,’ the successful projection of satire must accomplish “simultaneously a number of humorous functions” (p. 4). In the introduction to his argument, Simpson states that satire as discourse should be understood “as a level of language organization that supersedes that of the sentence and as a type of meaning potential that arises out of the interaction between text and context” (p.1). The juxtaposition that Simpson describes here between text and context, indicates how satire as a literary tool relies heavily on both interpretation and topicality; whereby, satirical references must e...   [tags: Literary Analysis ]

Better Essays
923 words (2.6 pages)

Media, Sexualisation and Female Tennis. Essay

- Within todays sporting community, certain aspects of sport and its practices promote and construct ideas that sport in general is a male dominated. Sports media often provides an unequal representation of genders. Women athletes are regularly perceived as mediocre in comparison to their male equivalents (Lenskyj, 1998). Achievement in sport is generally established through displays of strength, speed and endurance, men usually set the standards in these areas, consequently woman rarely reach the level set by top male athletes....   [tags: female athletes, sports, media]

Better Essays
1113 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on Sex in Advertising

- Sex in Advertising I chose sex in advertising for my research topic because I do not know about it well, even though a lot of sexual images and texts in advertisements. When I was a little kid, I often surprised by ads with sexy woman. Even now, I sometimes have my eyes glued to such kinds of advertising. I wonder that there are some physiological reasons why people pay attention to sex images. Also, learning about sex in advertising is useful for my career because I want to work for an advertising company in the future....   [tags: sexual images, female, ads]

Better Essays
1350 words (3.9 pages)

Essay on How The Environment Affect Sex Determination

- The sex of a male or female is mostly determined by sex chromosomes which results from set of genes. In the recent time, it can be said that environment partly contributes to sex determination. They are so many environmental factors that may affect this production like humidity, cell types, temperature, food, location of the birth and timely of the sexual intercourse but this essay focuses on effect of temperature alongside other factors . Most reptiles show temperature dependent sex determination in which low temperature within the range of 20-27 degree Celsius producing females and producing males at higher temperature within the range of 30 and above degree Celsius .Temperature in between...   [tags: male, female, genes, temperature]

Better Essays
922 words (2.6 pages)

Female Genital Mutilation is Sexual Abuse Essay

- Female circumcision, also known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), is a very dangerous surgery. It is done to girls of any age, from a few days old to right before their wedding. The most common age is three. In most countries where FGM is practiced the clitoris is considered dangerous to the man. At one point they thought that if a penis touched a clitoris, it would shrivel up and fall off. Girls in Africa and parts of Asia are genitally mutilated for family honor, cleanliness, protection against spells, insurance of virginity and faithfulness to the husband, or to terrorize women out of sex....   [tags: FGM, Female Genital Circumcision]

Better Essays
644 words (1.8 pages)

Analysis of Presentation on Nature as Female Essay

- Analysis of Presentation on Nature as Female I found the presentation on Nature as Female to be very interesting, because the topic asks as many questions as it answers. The question of why nature is gendered, I believe, is inextricably rooted in language. Language determines everything our experiences, our perceptions, our beliefs, and our desires. In a class I took last term we spoke about Lacan and his theory about language determining our desires, and it made sense to me, because you cannot desire what you cannot name....   [tags: Gender Sex Female Male Essays Papers]

Free Essays
750 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Provocation as a Defence

- Provocation as a Defence For a person to be criminally liable they must be commit the relevant prohibited act, or omission; the actus reus, and also be in the requisite mental state; mens rea, and also have no valid defence. Defences available cover situations such as insanity, duress or intoxication. However the Courts have accepted that there are situations in which a defendant has committed the relevant actus reus for murder, and also displayed thee relevant mens rea, and does not have a reasonable defence, however in the interests of giving the judges discretion and avoiding the mandatory life sentence dictated by a verdict of murder, the Courts have prepared...   [tags: Papers]

Better Essays
1968 words (5.6 pages)

Sex Roles and Gender Bias in Early Childhood Education Essay

- Sex role stereotyping and gender bias permeate everyday life. Children learn about sex roles very early in their lives, probably before they are 18 months old, certainly long before they enter school.(Howe, 1). The behaviors that form these sex roles often go unnoticed but their effect is immeasurable. Simple behaviors like: the color coding of infants (blue & pink), the toys children are given, the adjectives used to describe infants (boys: handsome, big, strong; girls: sweet, pretty, precious), and the way we speak to and hold them are but a few of the ways the sex roles are introduced....   [tags: Stereotyping Bias Gender Roles Stereotypes Essays]

Better Essays
2170 words (6.2 pages)