Women of the Future

[May 1908]

   “I feel that I do now realise, dimly, what women in the future will be capable of. They truly as yet have never had their chance. Talk of our enlightened days and our emancipated country – pure nonsense! We are firmly held with the self-fashioned chains of slavery. Yes, now I feel that they are self-fashioned, and must be self-removed. 

 . . .Independence, resolve, firm purpose, and the gift of discrimination, mental clearness – here are the inevitable. Again, Will – the realisation that Art is absolutely self-development. The knowledge that genius is dormant in every soul – that that very individuality which is at the root of our being is what matters so poignantly. 

   Here then is a little summary of what I need – power, wealth and freedom. It is the hopelessly insipid doctrine that love is the only thing in the world, taught, hammered into women, from generation to generation, which hampers us so cruelly. We must get rid of that bogey – and then, then comes the opportunity of happiness and freedom.” 

– Katherine Mansfield: Letters and Journals
  I feel as if I’ve been given the best pep talk in – well, a very long time. How is it that this writer who lived over a hundred years ago is able to fire up my blood? For some bizarre reason, I feel the need to make her proud. To make the most of what I have, to somehow compensate for what she didn’t. To live up to her legacy of becoming whole, becoming strong, and most of all, to be free through art. 
   Sincerely,
     Lady Disdain 
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5 thoughts on “Women of the Future

  1. Fantastic! It's funny how writers who lived so long ago could write such powerful words that can move us all these years later. We live in a different era, yet what she says still resonates.

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  2. This is so great, and so true. I always get chills when something – be it a piece of writing, or music – from decades or even centuries ago can resonate so strongly with even one person in the present. That last paragraph of Mansfield's excerpt is the truest truth I've come across in a long time.

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  3. hello Lady D! It's a little awkward to do this here, but I couldn't think of any other way to contact you (Blogger should really make messaging easier) but shall we take our conversations over to the Facebook, if you have an account? It would make sharing music/books/ideas/thoughts much easier and more interesting 🙂 Feel free to add me through the little Facebook widget on the sidebar of my blog, if you'd like!

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  4. Ah, wonderful passage! What she wrote contains several universal themes that I doubt will dissipate within society any time soon: emancipation, enlightenment, enlargement of knowledge as opposed to settling for just satisfactory, etc. Thanks for sharing and I'm glad it's inspired you!

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  5. @Naida: I think it speaks for how essentially similar we all are – we all seem to want the same thing in the end.

    @Vanessa: Yes, chills is exactly right! It's both comforting and kind of bizarre the way someone you've never even met seems to understand you. Btw, I sent you an email. Hope you got it?

    @Thomas: It is, isn't it? They are rather universal which is probably why it resonates so well even now.

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