Friday Feminist – Christine de Pizan (4)

I immediately stood up to obey her commands and, thanks to these three ladies, I felt stronger and lighter than before. She went ahead, and I followed behind, and after we had arrived at this field began to excavate and dig, following her marks with the pick of cross-examination. And this was my first work:

“Lady, I remember well what you told me before, dealing with the subject of how so many men have attacked and continue to attack the behaviour of women, that gold becomes more refined the longer it stays in the furnace, which means the more women have been wrongfully attacked, the greater waxes the merit of their glory. But please tell me why and for what reason different authors have spoken against women in their books, since I already know from you that this is wrong; tell me if Nature makes man so inclined or whether they do it out of hatred and where does this behaviour come from?”

Then she replied, “Daughter, to give you a way of entering into the question more deeply, I will carry away this first basketful of dirt. This behaviour most certainly does not come from Nature, but rather is contrary to Nature, for no connection in the world is as great or as strong as the great love which, through the will of God, Nature places between a man and a woman. The causes which have moved and which still move men to attack women, even those authors in those books, are diverse and varied, just have you have discovered…

…. I can assure you that these attacks on all women – when in fact there are so many excellent women – have never originated with me, Reason, and that all who subscribe to them have failed totally and will continue to fail. So now throw aside these black, dirty, and uneven stones from your work, for they will never be fitted into the fair edifice of your City.

Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies, 1405


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