After reading Lady Mary's letters from Turkey for the first time, my initial thought was this; What the hell am I reading? Lady Mary's letters at first glance made her seem like a very judgmental person who had an interest in all things Turkish. She also seemed to like to bath a lot. Once Mrs. Hamovit provided some context, it quickly all came together. Lady Mary was brilliant. Her theory on how Turkish women were more free than English women in the 18th century was interesting and convincing. The English women were prone to getting looked at, sexually harassed, catcalled and much more when they wore their traditional clothing in public. The Turkish women all wore the same traditional Muslim wear and the men never even thought about harassing them since it was engrained in them as part of their culture to respect women. By staying Anonymous, the Turkish women were able to carry out their lives the way they wanted to because nobody knew who they were. As convincing as this theory was, I find one major flaw in it. The women never had the choice to wear what they wanted, they just wore what was expected, which is not freedom. I also found the piece about the baths interesting. Specifically when Lady Mary is writing about the first time she undressed in the bath. She walked into the area of the bath were all the women were their naked and instead of gossiping or making wise remarks on how she was wearing British traveling clothes, they complimented her, none of the women in the room were bothered by her unusual clothing. This is something she says that she would never find anywhere in England. The Turkish women than encourage her to take her clothes off like the rest of the women and not once did the Turkish women treat her disrespectfully. From than on she was never treated as an outside but as one of them.
At the end of class Mrs. Hamovit asked us, can you name any women authors off the top of your head who are like Lady Mary? Nobody could answer, but now I believe I have found one, JK Rowling. I am not talking about how her Harry Potter books relate to her because they don't. What I am suggesting is that both women used their platforms to raise critical issues. Lady Mary wrote essays about politics and feminism and so does JK Rowling today. Jk Rowling has been a thorn in the side of Brexit and Donald Trump's campaign/presidency. She also uses her platforms on social media to preach third wave feminism.
All in all, I found Lady Mary's life very interesting and moving. She was defiant and brave by eloping her parents. She was not afraid to be unique, she wore Turkish gowns in England and even convinced a Princess to be inoculated by small pox. She was truly a women ahead of her time.