Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz: The Feminist Badass You've Never Heard Of

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz: The Feminist Badass You've Never Heard Of

Proving “one can perfectly well philosophize while cooking supper.”
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The 1600's weren't exactly the best time to be a woman almost anywhere in the world. In Mexico, women were expected to be obedient to their fathers, and eventually to their husbands. Pop out a couple of kids while keeping the house clean and your mouth shut and you were golden. But from an early age Sor Juana (Meaning 'Sister Juana' in Spanish) decided that the domestic life was not for her. So in 1667 she made the decision to become a nun, self proclaiming that she chose so in order to have time to study and cultivate her writing skills. She resided in the Convent of San Geronimo in Mexico City for the rest of her life, where she collected a strikingly large library for a woman of the time, and began publishing her own poetry, often which advocated for women's rights by damning the societal values of the time.

Sor Juana’s work caught the attention of church officials and political leaders alike. Her work was highly controversial, so much so that it might be considered as such in modern times. In a poem titled “Redondilla 92” Sor Juana calls out the inconsistency of men who seek pleasure in women, but regard women who seek pleasure as filthy, and she does it with style and intelligence. To quote some of my favorite stanzas from the poem:


“O foolish men who accuse

women with so little cause,

not seeing you are the reason

for the very thing you blame:

for if with unequaled longing

you solicit their disdain,

why wish them to behave well

when you urge them on to evil?” (Sor Juana 1-8)


“You think highly of no woman,

no matter how modest: if she

rejects you she is ungrateful,

and if she accepts, unchaste.” (Sor Juana 29-32)


From these lines, Sor Juana’s feminist message is exceptionally clear, and her themes carry on to other poems, such as “Redondilla 87”, in which Sor Juana eloquently describes the beauty and grace of a woman named Feliciana. The poem itself is so complimentary and erotic that many have interpreted it as a sapphic love poem to Feliciana, which pushed the boundaries of women's sexuality. Though she gained a loyal following and was regarded in some circles as a genius, Sor Juana was a nun in 17th century Mexico, so it is not hard to imagine the backlash her work received both from society and the church.

The church was so threatened by Sor Juana’s intelligence and poetry that the Bishop of Puebla, don Manuel Fernandez de Santa Cruz, wrote her a letter under the guise of being a fellow nun named “Sor Filotea” urging Sor Juana to cease her writing and studies. The argument made by don Manuel was that male scholars were intimidated by Sor Juana’s impeccable skills, and that for her own reputation and safety, Sor Juana should stop writing, as women were not supposed to be “public” during the 17th century. Don Manuel’s letter also uses the church as an argument to why Sor Juana should stop writing, stating “God does not want letters that give rise to presumption in woman” (don Manuel 145).

Sor Juana, seeing through the guise of “Sor Filotea”, wrote a letter back to don Manuel titled “Response of the Poet: To the Very Eminent Sor Filotea de la Cruz.” In the letter, Sor Juana refuted the argument that God did not want her to write because he would not condemn the gaining of knowledge in any seeking soul. She also defended the right of all women to study, famously stating “One can perfectly well philosophize while cooking supper” (Sor Juana 185).

Sor Juana’s stunning poetry and brave refutation to the church led her to be known as the first feminist author of the New World, though she does not get the recognition that her male counter-parts of the time do. If I had not taken an American Literature class taught by a professor dedicated to showcasing diverse authors, I might not have ever had the privilege of reading Sor Juana’s work. Every time I read one of her redondillas I am stunned by her progressive world-view and the bravery it took for her to publish such controversial work during the 17th century. Sor Juana’s poetry laid the foundation for future women authors, and her work will not be forgotten by those who are so inspired by her message.

Cover Image Credit: redbubble.com

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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The Football World Loses One Of Its Finest Players

Bart Starr passed away and NFL players, coaches, and fans all mourn the loss of the Packer legend, but his life and career will live on in hearts of Packer nation forever.

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Bart Starr passed away at the age of 85 in Birmingham, Alabama. The NFL lost a great player. The Green Bay Packers lost a hero. And, the world lost a true gentleman. Starr's legacy has surpassed his accomplishments on the gridiron. He inspired not only his peers but the generations that have come after him. He is — and always — will be remembered as a Hall of Famer, a champion, and a Packer.


Bart Starr was a Packers legend. Starr led Green Bay to six division titles and five world championships. As the quarterback of Vince Lombardi's offense, he kept the machine going and executed the plays like no other. His mastery of the position was a large part of the Packers success in the 1960s. Starr was also the perfect teammate for the perfect team. His leadership put him in command of the Packers. Starr's time in Green Bay will not be forgotten by former players, coaches, and the fans.

Bart Starr's resume is rivaled by few in NFL history. He played in 10 postseason games and won 9 of them. He led the Packers to victory in Super Bowls I and II and won the MVP award in both games. He was the MVP of the league in 1966 and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s. The Packers retired his number 15 and Starr has been inducted into the Packers and Pro Football Hall of Fame.


After his playing days, Starr would become the head coach of the Packers. He could not repeat the success he had on the field from the 1960s teams. His coaching years do not take away from his legacy as one of the all-time great Packers. Starr was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

One of Starr's last visits to Lambeau field was on a cold November night in 2015. Starr and his wife attended a ceremony in which the Packers retired Brett Favre's jersey number. Starr was the perfect personification of what it meant to be a Packer. His most heroic moment came in the 1967 NFL Championship Game. The Ice Bowl came down to a third and goal in Lambeau Field's south endzone against the Dallas Cowboys. Starr came to the sidelines and bravely told Vince Lombardi that he can sneak it in for a game-winning touchdown. Lombardi then replied, "Run it, and let's get the hell out of here." Starr ran a quarterback sneak for the game-winner and the Packers were off to Super Bowl II. Without Starr, Green Bay would not have won a second straight Super Bowl. His leadership in big game moments will live with Packers fans for a lifetime.

Vince Lombardi: A Football Life - The Ice Bowl

Starr leaves behind his wife Cherry, his son, and three granddaughters. Packers fans will have a tight grip on the memories Bart Starr and the 60s teams created. Starr left behind a template for being a Green Bay Packer. He also left a template for being a good man and a gentleman of the game of football. He was a competitor and a leader. Packer nation mourns for the loss of one of the finest human beings the game has seen.

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