Juana Manso, the other ‘Juana la loca’

Juana Manso streaking clothes during his lectures or shouted ‘Juana la Loca’. His follies were talking about equal education, civil marriage, family relations rethink, secularism … A pioneer of feminism in Argentina, Manso was born and died in Buenos Aires (June 26, 1819 April 24, 1875), but lived also in Uruguay and Brazil, countries where, in parallel with the writing of his books, participated in the discussions to promote social and political change. All this in a turbulent period for the wars of independence from the Spanish Crown, conflicts between neighboring countries and the need to lay the foundations of a new government and a nation-state.

Manso was part of the intellectuals of the late nineteenth century colonial culture and challenged the hegemony of the Catholic Church. He also worked as a journalist and translator as well as writing novels and poetry. It is considered one of the forerunners of the American novel with Eduarda Mansilla or Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, among others.

Its main line of work, however, was the defense of a universal education accessible to all people, introducing modern educational methods, the same for children and promoting the professionalisation of teaching. In this regard stated

“Education must be paid for by all and for all”.

“School is the secret of the prosperity of the young.”

“Graduemos the school: Primary and elementary us broaden the circle of notions and matters of teaching and be convinced that they should divide those matters in relation to the powers required for their understanding.”

“It is useless to say to men: you are free but are taught to be.”

Manso had to suffer in life, even among the River Plate intelligentsia, all kinds of comments and stereotypes about their “lack of femininity”. It was unusual for the society of his time a woman come out of the private space and opinase and participate in public life.

“I want and I have to prove that the intelligence of women, far from being an absurd or a defect, a crime or folly, is your best adornment, is the true source of your virtue and domestic happiness because God is not contradictory in his work and when he formed the human soul, did not give him sex. ”

In Buenos Aires discovers the power that can have the press to publicize their approach when it begins to collaborate with the newspaper La Argentina illustration ‘. That’s when cover ‘album Señoritas. Newspaper Literature, Fashion, Fine Arts and Theatres’ whose first issue was published on January 1, 1854. It was a magazine music critic and events whose director and owner was a woman (and thus put it), at a time which the journalists wrote under male pseudonyms yet.

It lasted just 8 numbers as the society of the time not wanted to take modern approaches of which they spoke. In this publication he wrote

“Everything quitáis woman! All that can fit in the great mission of intelligence, where they take part sensibility and free will, but flatter his vanity, incite them love to luxury, headdresses, blind idolaters of their beauty, are the unfortunate incentive corruption, because if you do not know what your soul, do you care to sell it for a handful of gold pins?. ”

Previously, Manso published in ‘O Jornal das Senhoras’ Brazil a series of articles under the title ‘moral emancipation of women’.

Either through lectures he puts initially develop its role as a communicator. She was accused of heresy if questioned church immoral to propose gym classes and the education authority suspended its “conferences for teachers”, which aimed to professionalize teaching. People thronged the windows and let loose obscenities and insulting to the “ladies” who came to them.

As a feminist, Juana Manso defended the role of women outside the family, believed in education as a way of integrating it into education, it encouraged own development of women and women’s empowerment spaces.

Sarmiento support

Daughter of a Spanish engineer who supported the May Revolution, Juana Manso knew from a very young age what it felt persecuted and having to flee for political ideas. In Montevideo he helped his family at home creating a school for girls at age 22 and, as in Brazil, giving private lessons in Spanish and French.

She had two daughters, Eulalia and Herminia, after marrying a violinist, but the family went through many economic problems. When her husband ran off with another woman to Portugal and his father died, he decided to return to Buenos Aires.

Despite the problems we mentioned to transfer their ideas to society, he had the support of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento and set up a school for both sexes, a network of kindergartens, public libraries or translate promote educational texts.

However, it would take years after his death for his contributions to the development of Argentina and Latin America were understood. He died poor and unrecognized. And today it is still not a character known by most people of his country, but was key to subsequent feminists in their country.

(Source: Juana Manso Author:. Myriam Southwell Published in Unesco, International Bureau of Education. 2005).