By Theresa Ann Smith
As artists, writers, and reformers, Spanish girls took up pens, joined academies and fiscal societies, formed tertulias—similar to French salons—and turned lively within the burgeoning public discourse of Enlightenment. In interpreting the which means of women's presence in various facilities of Enlightenment, Smith bargains a brand new interpretation of the dynamics between political discourse, social motion, and gender ideologies.
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Extra resources for The Emerging Female Citizen: Gender and Enlightenment in Spain
The resurgence of traditional discourses on women in the years following the Defense suggests just how threatening Feijoo’s propositions were to certain contemporaries.
The most welldocumented case of this involves two women related to Philip III who resided at the Convent of the Descalzas Reales in Madrid: Empress María, Philip’s grandmother, and her daughter Margaret of the Cross. Along with Philip’s wife, Margaret of Austria, who lived at court, these women forged political networks that allowed them to influence Philip’s decisions to such a degree that his favorite advisor, the Duke of Lerma, pushed for the court’s relocation to Valladolid in 1601, far from the reaches of the Madrid-based convent.
His list culminates in stories of the Amazons, those warrior women who, whether or not they truly existed, attest to the strength of women throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Finally, he argues that, contrary to common beliefs, women can keep secrets, even under the most harsh torture. The last task that Feijoo tackles in his Defense is to argue for women’s intellectual equality with men. ”70 Feijoo explains that these views on women’s intelligence were shaped by the fact that men, rather than women themselves, wrote books on the female sex.