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In France, the struggle for women’s rights is a very ancient one. In the 17th and 18th centuries it found expression in literary salons led by such famous figures as Madame de Tencin, Madame du Deffant, Madame Geoffrin and later by Madame du Châtelet and Madame d’Epinay.
For women, the victory of recent years is one of empowerment in their professional lives: they now have the means to compete with men in every field. Yet societys traditional image of what is a male or female profession remains very powerful. In 2001, French women had managed to enter professions that were previously practically closed to them but French men are still reluctant to enter traditionally female professions. This book reviews two centuries of womens work. It shows that women have always worked but not everywhere. Womens access to increasingly prized jobs goes hand in hand with economic and global development.
The history of the Académie Française under the Revolution and the Empire
The desire of women for their own sex is a subject that has been concealed and heavily censored since Antiquity. Yet it has constantly resurfaced throughout history - despite repression, denial and today's feigned indifference - and its existence is a historical and anthropological fact, whatever the dominant opinion may say. Marie-Jo Bonnet argues that lesbianism transgresses social norms and female stereotypes, and breaks with the phallic model and the restricted social role that is assigned to women even today. She sees lesbian desire as a radical instrument of emancipation and offers an original analysis of the women's liberation movement, of recent discussions about homosexuality and, finally, of the persistence of lesbophobia. Desire, regardless of its subject, is always a unique and complex experience, and Bonnet does not ignore this fact. In an original, wide-ranging study of lesbian love through literature, she delves into the work of such major writers of the past as Marguerite Yourcenar, Violette Leduc, Simone de Beauvoir, Djuna Barnes and, surprisingly, Madame de Sévigné, as well as of more recent writers such as Monique Wittig, Anne Garreta and Christine Angot. The author's thesis is that women's desire for their own sex can serve as a tool to empower them to conquer their own space of creativity and liberation. Marie-Jo Bonnet, a writer and historian, is the author of Les Relations Amoureuses Entre Femmes (XVIe-XXe siècle).