kmgilles: (Default)
i started off my university career taking an english class, one of the 100 level classes that the instructor can pretty much make about whatever they want. i got lucky, and the version i took focused on the nonfiction writing produced by women during the nineteenth century (and slightly earlier, because we did read something by wollstonecraft). it was a really great class, and gave me a strong appreciation for further aspects of the nineteenth century that makes it so relevant to study today because of the ways in which it mirrors contemporary developments, events and discourses. what it also did was give me a grounding in feminism that was very much restricted to the evolution of rights and thoughts in the UK.

in general i've been really pleased with how many of my classes have put a canadian lens on what we study, because that's really been missing from my life where i've been overly interested in british and american history. but as a gender studies minor - rather than a women's studies or GSWS minor - i haven't had a reason to go back to basics with feminist history before the class i'm taking right now, so that lens has rarely been applied to feminist history or theories. as someone with a background in GSWS, i was among those who were told this week's readings were optional. i did skim them, because i wanted to know what they particularly said, but nothing jumped out as unusual or new to me.

but the lecture and discussion did. canada, which to a large degree i still have rose-tinted glasses on (for probably at least in part because of how hard it is not to compare us to the US), apparently was slow to make reforms. the only reason we have the vote is because the privy council was made to decide on it, and because the UK was far enough ahead of canada it seemed more than reasonable to them to pass it.

my notes from class aren't that helpful for getting the specifics of what we discussed in class and i didn't record my reaction at the time, but i remember feeling just blindsided by the idea that in canada women had had more restrictions on their ability to own and control property than they had in the UK, that "all forms" of contraception were illegal until 1969, and that spousal rape was not legally recognized until the 1980s. i don't know why it hit me so hard. maybe just because it was all news to me, or because it contradicts my personally held imaginings of canadian history.

fine me:

November 2013

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