So in the XVI late medieval early renaissance began this "Querelle des femmes" who was basically a intellectual debate on: are women intelligent beings? Can they like write and think? There were several golden moments but one of my favorites came from Juana Inés de la Cruz serving scalding hot burns with her famous poem "Foolish men".
Sor Juana's most important plays portrayed brave and clever female characters. In the first stanza of her poem, "Hombres necios" ("Foolish Men") she highlights the double standard of sexual relationships in which women are both criticized for being chaste and sexually active. In the fifth stanza, “With foolish arrogance, you hope to find Thais in her you court, but a Lucretia when you’ve possessed her,” she uses a mythical metaphor “Thais” who was a sex worker who accompanied Alexander the Great on many of his campaigns, and “Lucretia” was a Roman noblewoman who committed suicide after she was raped to preserve her family’s honor. Another of her most well known poems, "Primero sueo" ("First Dream"), published in 1692, is both a personal and universal examination of the soul's quest for knowledge. Yet perhaps her most famous work was an essay written in response to the Bishop of Puebla, who had criticized Juana for her comments and for the lack of serious religious content in her poems. Sor Juana's reply, “the Respuesta a Sor Filotea” has been hailed as the first feminist manifesto which defended, among other things, a woman's right to education. Sor Juana was ultimately silenced by ecclesiastical authorities, yet her prodigious intelligence continues to incite minds.
Today, she is celebrated in her homeland of Mexico, and her old convent has been turned into a university. However, she isn’t as well-known in the U.S.
Here are some poems that you should know if you’re interested:
“You Foolish Men”
“Since I'm Condemned”
Her feminist manifesto: Respuesta
Who are some of your favorite poets? Comment below!
Editors, Biography.com. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz Biography. n.d. Web. 29 June 2018. Kantaris, Geoffrey.
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (Juana Ramírez de Asbaje). 1992. Web. 29 June 2018. Merriam, Stephanie.
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz & Poets, Academy of American.