This essay was written on February 13th, 2017 for ENGL 222: Modern Poetry, taught by Dr. Deidre Egan-Ryan. This essay is a commentary on Mina Loy’s “Feminist Manifesto”.
Mina Loy’s “Feminist Manifesto” is a message to the world about how women deserve the equal rights and respect of men. Although this piece was originally only a rough draft, it was part of the start of the feminist movement in the 1910’s. To provide emphasis on claims she found most important, she would either bold or underline significant words or phrases. Loy also wrote these poems with words of varying sizes. The paragraphs in a larger font size were meant to make a key statement while the smaller paragraphs, though still important, were filled with evidence to back up bolded or underlined claims. Loy does this to really get her point across to the reader on what she believes is significant. One of Loy’s claims was that a man who does not treat a woman with equal respect is considered a coward. I think that at this time, in the nineteenth century, this was a bold statement to make. This is because it was an unwritten rule to treat each and every man with respect since they were the highest in social status. Loy also stated that in order for women to truly believe that they are equal to men, they needed to stop believing they were “pets.” What Loy meant by this was women need to start seeing themselves as individual humans, not something that needs to rely on the stability of a man. This was also a bold statement because the “norm” back in the time this poem was written was that women needed to take care of their husbands and children. They were expected to do as their husbands asked without question. Loy’s bold statement gave women a new perspective on life in the sense that they never really viewed themselves as real human beings until this movement. Another claim stated within the poem was that women need to stop listening to what government officials say about their bodies and health since the government was composed purely of men. This was a difficult mindset to understand because the government obviously is in control of what happens in this country so it was believed that they had the knowledge to control the rights of men and women. What Loy was trying to convey was that men should not be able to control women’s rights because men’s health and well being is vastly different from women’s health and well being. Although many people disagreed with Mina Loy’s poems and perspective on women’s rights, she became a well known influence to women around the world. Loy’s pieces are still influencing many women today. She inspires many to understand and act on treating men and women in ways that give each gender equal respect.