Was Virginia a feminist? The brilliant writer had many indications of a depressed life. She was unsatisfied with the way things were. Her strength, however, allowed her to continue to write and to participate in social life until her suicide. Her talent and dreams helped women to aspire making significant contributions to Literature, as well as to contribute in other fields. So, yes. Virginia Woolf was a feminist and not just because she contributed to women’s cause, she contributed for culture in general, and by doing so, extended the number of female writers with relevant work.
Virginia reunited and participated in many women’s meetings, in which her friends would talk about society values and discuss gender issues. By participating critically and commenting about society, Virginia influenced women to engage and to participate in the process of comprehending social matters and, by doing so, she also contributed to abandon the traditional expectations of the female gender.
She would analyze the role of women in her novels and portray them in several contexts, trying to break the common sense of female characters in Literature. Virginia was one of the many women who tried to improve her gender’s condition, not by manifesting or doing what we call today “street activism”, but by studying and trying to contribute to universal culture.
The notion that by manifesting on the streets one many effectively contribute to a change in society is simply absurd. People have values that can only be changed by a different comprehension of society and culture, in general. It is not a ranging mass screaming words of order and demanding action that will contribute to political changes or to anything besides getting attention for the desperation that takes hold, to gather money or to interrupt traffic. Those reasons aren’t good enough and damage the image of feminism worldwide.
Great theorists and philosophers, like Virginia, didn’t try to change the word because they simply knew that by making significant contributions to culture, political matters would change, asrepeatedly affirmed by Olavo de Carvalho.
In the same way, on 1964,Hannah Arendt affirmed for the “Zur Person” TV showthat her only function as an academic was to understand things. She surely knew what she was talking about. Heidegger’s favorite student has opened a way for other women in Philosophy and changed our perception about many events which are difficult to interpret nowadays.
Women need to be more like Virginia Woolf and seek to comprehend and discuss the problems of society in a way that matters. Only with a lucid analysis of gender issues women’s representation in society, especially in the Middle East, will change. It is not enough to blame men or the society in general, women need to stop feeling like victims and start by entering Literature, Sciences and other fields. Let’s be more like Virginia!