#998 Letters from the Pandemic 10: My dearest Mary
LETTER: Ms. Mary Wollstonecraft
c/o The Disputatious Hereafter
by Reema Faris
My dearest Mary,
It’s been over five years since our encounter at Gunnebo House on the outskirts of Göteborg. Pushing the door ajar for me was such a kind gesture on your part. Luc, 14 at the time and with all the certainty of youth, insisted it was merely a draft, but I recognized your presence!
I often wonder, Mary, what you would make of the world today. In your travels through Scandinavia, you often commented on the paucity of information and education, especially for women. Today, information and education proliferate and yet the deluge of misinformation and disinformation threatens to undermine the opportunities that exist for self-improvement and self-edification. It’s become abundantly clear that the wider availability of knowledge is not necessarily accompanied by a wider application of reason!
Your adoption of the moniker “Cassandra,” alas, has proven all too prescient. Your disturbing vision of what was to come to pass if wealth became the predominant operating system for the world is the reality of now. This pandemic has ripped away the mask and shown, as you were wont to observe, the deep inequities of monied hierarchies and pyramids of power.
As always, however, there are distractions from the woe. You would be chuffed to see that a statue now stands in your name on Newington Green. The furor it has caused! While I fear you would find the inescapable corporeality of the naked female form unseemly despite its upwards transcendental trajectory, I am convinced you would be vastly amused that the artist, in defence of her work, pronounced that “there are plenty of schlongs honouring men in art.”
These are the absurdities and intrigues of life that temper the harshness of human existence in our quarantined bubbles of isolation and anxious speculation!
Until we meet again and in eternal appreciation,
Reema Faris is a PhD student with the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies (GSWS) at Simon Fraser University (SFU). She holds an MA in Graduate Liberal Studies from SFU, a BA and MBA from other Canadian universities, and has worked as a teaching assistant in various SFU departments. Her research focuses on popular culture and feminism as demonstrated in her 2017 TEDxGastownWomen presentation. Before resuming her academic career, she served one term as Trustee for the West Vancouver Board of Education, after many years as a communications professional with a variety of public and private sector organizations. Ms. Faris is also a mother who is guiding the now undergraduate through life as an artist. A past member of Vancouver Opera’s Board of Directors and a Philosophers’ Café moderator, she is an avid traveller, a chocolate enthusiast, and often dreams of Paris.
Editor’s note: to view all the “Letters from the Pandemic” in the Graduate Liberal Studies Journal, see here.
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