Rebel Daughters: Women and the French Revolution

By Sara E. Melzer; Leslie W. Rabine | Go to book overview

6

"A Woman Who Has Only Paradoxes
to Offer": Olympe de Gouges
Claims Rights for Women

JOAN WALLACH SCOTT

Si j'allais plus avant sur cette matière, je pourrais m'étendre trop loin, et m'attirer l'inimitié des hommes parvenus, qui, sans réfléchir sur mes bonnes vues, ni approfondir mes bonnes intentions, me condamneraient impitoyablement comme une femme qui n'a que des paradoxes à offrir, et non des problemes faciles à résoudre.

Olympe de Gouges, 1789

For women, the legacy of the French Revolution was contradictory. On the one hand, the unit of national sovereignty was declared to be a universal, abstract, rights-bearing individual; on the other hand, this human subject was almost immediately given particularized embodiment as a man. The abstraction of a genderless individual endowed with natural rights made it possible for women to claim the political rights of active citizens and, when denied them in practice, to protest against exclusion as unjust, a violation of the founding principles of the republic. There is no question, from this perspective, of the powerful impetus such universal theory gave (and continues to give) to democratic movements. But there is also no question that the equally abstract gesture of embodiment—the attribution of citizenship to (white) male subjects—complicated enormously the project of claiming equal rights, for it suggested either that rights themselves, or at least how and where they were exercised, depended on the physical characteristics of human bodies. This particularization of the human in the name of universality introduced into discussions of equality the problem of difference: How could those who were

I wish to thank Sara Melzer and Leslie Rabine for helpful editorial readings and Judith Butler, Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, Ruth Leys, Denise Riley, Donald Scott, and Elizabeth Weed for their invaluable critical suggestions. A somewhat different version of this essay appeared as "French Feminists and the Rights of 'Man': Olympe de Gouge's Declarations," in History Workshop, 28 (Autumn 1989), pp. 1-21.

-102-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Rebel Daughters: Women and the French Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 296

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.