Reading Response

1. I was really surprised to read, on page 264 of “Unequal Sisters” the observation that “…men and women are equal in Europe and America… In France and America, there are women in high offices. In England and America, there are women in astronomy, clerical work, communications… medicine, law… no different than men.” I know that objectively this is not true, and I wonder to what extend the writer (Pan Xuezhen) thought this. Obviously on some level she believed it, but did she really think that there were no gender differences, or was she overstating to make a point? If she truly believed that men and women were absolute equals in Europe and America, I would be fascinated to know where she got this idea.

 

2. Another idea I was fascinated by was Molly Dewson’s description of dressing in drag. On more than one occasion, she says that she wore men’s clothing and that, at least once, she was actually assumed to be a boy. It makes me very curious what she looked like, and how she felt about the incident. Her feelings in her letter home seem to be mixed- it is “amuzing” (sic) but she also feels “rather queer”. The other girls at Wellesley don’t seem to mind it, but I can only imagine the reactions of non-students if they had realized that she was actually a woman.

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