I found the chapter “Free Love” in the Victorian Age to be very interesting. Many of the issues free love advocates addressed are still very topical today, like abortion and equal standards of behaviorial conduct for men and women.
One of the “free love writers,”Angela Heywood, wrote “long treatises arguing that women should be more than household drudges and sex objects.” Today, various independent media publications champion for the rights of women and offer empowering anecdotes and workshops meant to inspire. I definitely want to point out some of these contemporary publications. One site that caught my attention was called “Shameless Magazine.” The magazine’s creed says it aims to “inspire, inform, and advocate for young women and trans youth.” The magazine’s writers publish inspiring articles about women from around the world making a difference. For example, an article that appeared in the Winter 2012 issue discussed how young women farmers are gaining ground in the sustainable food production industry. The magazine also keeps track of different workshops and events that focus on women empowerment. Here is an image of one of the events they are advertising.
This magazine reminds me somewhat of Angela Heywood and the other free love writers, but perhaps without the overt sexual language. Still, shameless magazine does not shy away from issues such as abortion and prostitution. Shameless magazine is promoting an event called “Hustle & Dough,” which is part of a month-long celebration of “International Sex Workers Rights Day.”
There are numerous other outlets that give voice to women who are typically silenced by the men in their society. One of these great publications is called the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. The project allows Afghan women to express their uninhibited opinions.
My favorite part of the free love chapter was the section titled “exposing the hypocrisy of the Victorian man.” I thought it was brave of Victoria Woodhull to publish the story about Rev. Henry Ward Beecher’s affair. Now, I do not believe that people’s private lives are particularly newsworthy, but I do believe Woodhull addressed a widespread issue. The issue of double-standards for men and women. Men should not be pardoned for something women are frequently shunned for, nor should a reputable man like Henry Ward Beecher pass judgement onto people who are participating in the same act as he.