Three Guineas

Three Guineas Analysis

Woolf says the world is at war because there is an imbalance at the geopolitical level. She feels peace is not an option when men dominate according to historical traditions that protect and insulate the rich, powerful few in power. The very same thirst for power and wealth that disenfranchises minorities and women is responsible for the kinds of geopolitical and economic foreign policy that brings war. This is because unchecked, men bring assumptions about competition and aggression to the political realm, which keeps the whole world in a state of fight or flight.

She says the answer to this problem is very simply that we should eliminate the assumptions which, when held at the cultural or societal levels, have historically resulted in the historical disenfranchisement of women. In other words, if we empower women, perhaps the female point of view might alleviate the need for conflicts. Whether that is possible or not is still the issue of experimentation, she notes, and throughout the story, she plays mental experiments and games with her prose, exploring in her imagination new ways the world might be.

She also mentions real social experiments that deal specifically with disarming the patriarchy. Put simply, Woolf feels that the violent component of patriarchy, the willingness to do violence for power or "safety" (safety means something different to a paranoid point of view), is toxic. Certainly violence is a toxic force, and the experiments she mentions are not designed to eradicate men in power, but rather, they are attempts to shake loose any residual assumptions about gender that we brought from our dark and broken past.

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