To eliminate it, they have tried everything. First, repression, that is to say, puritanism. Then, trivialization, that is to say, liberalized practices with their parade of scientific surveys and sexual gossip. Lastly, the final solution, that is to say, American feminism. I am not so pessimistic as to imagine that American women will conform to a woman to the model proposed for them, nor so optimistic as to believe that French women will remain untouched by the vices of our time.
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Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Man - Joan Wallach Scott - Google Books
On the one hand, they insisted that the differences between men and women were irrelevant for citizenship. On the other hand, by the fact that they acted on behalf of women, they introduced the very idea of difference they sought to eliminate. Joan Scott's concluding chapter, "Citizens but Not Individuals: The Vote and After," helps us understand why Claude Servan-Schreiber could claim in that essentially nothing had happened for women since the granting of suffrage.
Scott begins by listing a series of reasons, each of them convincing, as to why the Free French government in exile of General de Gaulle decided to enfranchise women in I would simply add one reason to round out the explanation.
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How could full civil rights be denied to those who had shared in the trauma and pain of the Occupation and so willingly joined the Resistance? Though the particular case I mention below could not have been known when the decision to grant suffrage was made, many others were.
In Dijon on a comfortable stone school building on the rue Condorcet coincidentally the only Enlightenment figure who was a feminist, a friend of Olympe de Gouges, and like her a victim of the Terror , one may read the following plaque:. I would hope that Joan Scott's marvelous book will soon be translated into French, so that the current generation of students at the Lycee Marcelle Parde, and many others, both men and women, will have a better understanding of the "reasons for the intractability of the dilemmas [French] feminists have confronted and for the necessarily paradoxical responses to them they continue to have" p.
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Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Man
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