Happy International Women’s Day!
To celebrate, I’d like to bring you a video in the Redefining Beauty series. Today I’ll focus on Arcangela Tarabotti.
We don’t have a portrait of her. As a teenager, she took orders to be a nun and then lived the rest of her life in the convent of Sant’Anna, in the eastern Castello district.
And she spent many frustrated and unhappy years there.
She loved God but didn’t feel she had the same true calling as other nuns. She was placed in the convent by her parents who believed that, because of her deformed foot, she would never marry.
Arcangela instead turned her frustration towards a life of letters. She corresponded with men in the Venetian literary scene–men who supplied her with reading material but also mocked her intellectual abilities.
Her venom nearly flies off the page. She rails at “paternal tyranny” and deftly argued against the patriarchal society that cloistered her and tried to silence her.
Watch this video to see where she lived and to hear a bit more of her story. I’ll apologize in advance for the poor sound quality–it was really windy that day, but because I had to rely on a kind stranger to videotape me, I didn’t have the time or opportunity to wait and do retakes. You can also read the fuller story of her life in a chapter dedicated to Arcangela in my book A Beautiful Woman in Venice.
Let’s not let women be silenced or forgotten. Read their stories and pass them along to others!