Chapter Two – Early Liberal Feminism

Olympe de Gouges Exercises

Olympe de Gouges

  1. Identify the social institutions that stand against de Gouges’ idea of sexual freedom.
  2. Reread the paragraph that starts with “Women, wake up; the tocsin of reason sounds throughout the universe; recognize your rights.” What is the connection between liberalism and its emphasis on reason and freedom. How does de Gouges use these tropes to advance her agenda?
  3. How would de Gouges react to the current state of women in society?
  4. Choose one of the following questions, or combine them, to create a short presentation for the class. Please find video clips, news stories, pictures, memes or some other media to help illustrate your answer. Be prepared to share them with the class.
  5. How would Olympe de Gouges analyze marriage equality today, given that folk of the same sex can get married? Use quotes from her text to support your answer.
  6. What changes to our current gender arrangements would need to be in place for a Western society to achieve sexual freedom?

Part Three. Watch this video:

  1. The video is showing us a reversal of gender roles, to help us de-naturalize patriarchal oppression. Identify the different oppressive situations that this man goes through when forced to live “like a woman.”
  2. The video has a number of problems, including that it attaches positive images only to white people. How do depictions of women of color compare to the depiction of white women?
  3. The video implies that women who cover their hair are forced to do so. Why is this a shallow Western critique of non-Western women ways? How is this connected with French police forcing women to remove their Burkinis when sunbathing at the beach?
Comic depicting two Middle Eastern women holding a banner reading "Welcome to Bienvenue a Emancipation Beach" while standing on the Mayor of France that tried to ban burkinis. One woman is wearing a bikini and one woman is wearing a burkini.
Emancipation Beach. ©Contemporary Bart. Used with permission from the artist.



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