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Just as women’s bodies are softer than men’s, so their understanding is sharper.

The fact that, as early as at the end of the14th century, women’s bodies were already considered as being ‘softer’ than those of men may be noteworthy as it was a woman who publicly made this statement at such an early time in history. The real clou, however, lies in the matter-of-fact declaration that women also have sharper minds. Interrelating the opposites of ‘soft’ and ‘sharp’ in one person, and then indeed in that of a woman, makes this statement all the more provocative. Even today, the concept of a soft body and a sharp mind combining in a woman would at least be unusual. The philosopher and poet Christine de Pizan gradually radicalised her writing: her criticism grows from initial love poems to her major work Le Livre de la Cité des Dames, in which she attacks male misogyny and the oppression of women and presents an alternative utopian society in which women and men are equal.

 

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