The Sex of All Possible Worlds: Analyzing 'Candide' Through the Feminist Lens College

If the entire world were experiencing hardship, one is forced to wonder, would it be equal? If the entire world were experiencing joy, one is forced to wonder, would it be equal? If the entire world were to experience any one specific event--any one specific feeling, emotion, or urge--would it be equal? Often, feminism is written off in a socially-tied, hush-hush affidavit: ignorantly, yet contractually bound to be a pipe dream--some way to convince us that we live in “the best of all possible worlds”--a world where equality is a given and opportunity is “just a knock away.” However, the gender-specific challenges faced every day by all men and women--young, old, short, tall, handsome, or plain--remain ever-increasing and formidable. The last place a confused, curious reader may look for answers regarding feminism and equality would appear to be 18th century satire; however, Voltaire's 18th century satirical text Candide displays trends relevant in feminism not only hundreds of years ago, but also today. Voltaire, while satirizing the principles of philosophical optimism, inadvertently portrayed the deeply-rooted separation of men and women in an andro-centric society. The segregation of the two sexes is often done...

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