When Soledad Acosta asks herself in her essay “What is the mission of women in the current era?”, She points out that this is one of the most debated questions in the last fifty years (second half of the 19th century). The author refers to the large corpus of articles on the duty to be of women written by men and appeared in the press not only national but of all Latin American countries and other western cultural traditions. Hispanic American literate men spent a good part of their time thinking about the duty to be feminine and publishing articles that sought to define and govern feminine behavior.1 The character of this prolific production has a political explanation: the literate class, regardless of their political affiliation ( Alzate 2006), establishes the bourgeois family as the base of the Republic and said the family is conceptually defined around the feminine ideal of a domestic woman. aptitude test versus ability test in career counseling.
The article “Aptitude of women to exercise all professions” (1892) is part of a corpus, also extensive, in which women writers debate about the restriction imposed by the republican discourse on the space of feminine performance, corpus a through which they try to expand that field of action. In these types of texts written by women, a gesture is common: they start from the affirmation of the domestic role, linked to religion, and try to expand the description of their gender from the space provided for them by patriarchal discourse. The strategy of the writers, including Acosta, is, instead of posing a head-on fight against an establishment that they know strong, to speak from the intended space and try to expand it from there. Another common feature of this type of writing is the elaboration of catalogs of illustrious women, who seek to “show with facts” what women from other latitudes do: women who come out into the public domain and whose work, far from representing a threat, it is beneficial for the common good. Acosta’s most extensive catalog is his book The Woman in Modern Society (1895).aptitude test versus ability test in career counseling.
In this context, the essay by Soledad Acosta that we present here responds to articles such as that of José María Vergara and Vergara (1931), a contemporary conservative lawyer of the author and the most important figure in the literary scene of the moment. Vergara published in 1867 a text in which he advises women to tie their thoughts and not speak or give anything to talk about, that is, assume an attitude of heteronomy and domesticity (“Always obey, so as not to stop reigning”, he also advises). Starting in 1859, from the age of 26, Soledad Acosta (1833-1913) wrote for Colombian newspapers. Between his 20 and 22 years he had written an intimate diary that allowed him to start writing, a diary possible only from a Protestant subjectivity inherited from his mother (born in Nova Scotia and of Saxon descent), and that she would never admit: only a female subjectivity Protestant in the 19th century Bogotá would take care of the self that supposes sitting down to write a newspaper (Alzate 2004a). Her first fiction book would appear in 1869 (Alzate 2004b), two years after Vergara’s article, who would never write anything about her. In 1892, at age 59, he read in Madrid “Aptitude of women to exercise all professions”. I point out these dates to prevent readers from locating the author in generations to which she does not belong: her literary work was read until recently with much carelessness, misplacing her, for example, as a contemporary of José Asunción Silva and not of Jorge Isaacs. Even today it is common to see that she is spoken of without having read it and that the comments on her work are exhausted in a footnote that identifies her as a “conservative and reactionary writer wife of José María Samper”. Hers is a complex work that must be read carefully and in the context of gender studies, and she as an author is no more conservative or contradictory than any of her male contemporaries, including liberals. “Aptitude of women to exercise all professions” is an essay written for women “of the Spanish race”, “shy and shy about things that concern the spirit”, and this not because of lack of intelligence but because of “insufficient education they have been given, “according to the author. He wants to show them “that they have seen each other in the century that is ending and thousands [of women] who have brilliantly carried out all the professions, all the arts, all the honorable trades”, “without for that reason having had to renounce the Religion from their elders, to the sweet chores of their home, to the care of their families and to the attendance of society “. As I pointed out before, this is an article that wants to open spaces for female action without attacking domesticity or its religious component. Other aspects I could point out in this presentation, but I prefer not to elaborate. I will stop at just one more: this article also sharply identifies the argument of the supposed feminine inconstancy, used in the political discussions of the time to deny women their citizenship: it has been said, says the author, “that they lack courage and personal courage, perseverance, judgment, the seriousness of ideas, that the imagination always drags them “, that” they are always carried away by the impressions of the moment, and that with the sway of their feelings they change without ceasing, and they are never fixed but when they obey their whim “:” To these charges “, he says,” I will limit myself to answering with recent examples “. In his conclusion, he affirms that “the just thing, the equitable thing will be to open the doors to the feminine understandings so that they can choose the route that best suits each one.” So let’s move on to your text.