A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

I have a backlog of things I should have posted about throughout the year, but didn’t. Better late than never.

Below is a fanvid I made for Vividcon, an annual convention for fan video enthusiasts. The vid is entitled, “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman”, after the book of the same name by 18th century feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

Wollstonecraft wrote, in the introduction to “Vindication”:

My own sex, I hope, will excuse me, if I treat them like rational creatures, instead of flattering their fascinating graces, and viewing them as if they were in a state of perpetual childhood, unable to stand alone. I earnestly wish to point out in what true dignity and human happiness consists—I wish to persuade women to endeavour to acquire strength, both of mind and body, and to convince them, that the soft phrases, susceptibility of heart, delicacy of sentiment, and refinement of taste, are almost synonymous with epithets of weakness, and that those beings who are only the objects of pity and that kind of love, which has been termed its sister, will soon become objects of contempt.

Women in historical dramas are often portrayed as passive, as pawns, or as victims. I wanted to show the awesome side of women in history and in historical movies/TV: women living active lives, women with careers and interests more usually set aside for men, women in control of their own sexuality, women who “don’t give a damn ’bout their bad reputation”.

Here’s a full list of the video sources used, in order of appearance:

The Duchess
Brotherhood of the Wolf
The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant
Vanity Fair (1998 mini-series)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
The Scarlet Pimpernel (1999)
Casanova (2005 movie)
Cut-throat Island
Sharpe (various episodes)
Wives and Daughters
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Dangerous Liaisons
Byron
Marie Antoinette
Sense and Sensibility (2008)
Jefferson in Paris
Persuasion (2007)
Pride and Prejudice (1995)
Lost in Austen
Quills
Northanger Abbey
Plunkett and Macleane
Doctor Who (“The Girl in the Fireplace”)
Catherine the Great
Orlando
Amazing Grace
Beau Brummell: This Charming Man
Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Valmont
Hornblower (“The Duchess and the Devil”)

All these are set during, very roughly, the late 17th to early 19th century. There’s at least another complete vid to be made of Victorian and Edwardian women rocking out, which I wouldn’t mind doing at a later date.

If you enjoyed “Vindication”, you might also enjoy Danegen’s Around the Bend, which premiered at the same event as my video, or any of these links about feminist fanvids: one, two, three, four, five.

6 thoughts on “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

  1. Every time I watch this when I haven’t in a while I find myself crying. Mostly they’re happy tears, because there are so few vids that are that joyous and that centred on women (like us) doing things that they really want to do, with a few angry ones mixed in that anyone ever thought women (like us) didn’t have the right to do those things — and that some fuckwits still do. <33333333

  2. ALSO I’d like at some point to have a get together at my place to watch some of these sources, though I don’t have all of them YET.

  3. Oh, I would so love for you to guest-post this at Hoyden About Town as a New Year Friday Hoyden. Just under 5 hours to midnight here…

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