5 Feminist Lessons From Jane Austen That Are Especially Valid Today

To anyone who identifies as a feminist or knows something about feminism, Jane Austen is one of the novelists who has largely contributed to promoting women’s innate rights through her novels. Here are five evergreen lessons we can all learn from her work…

1. Don’t Settle for Less Than What You Deserve

 Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice
5 Feminist Lessons From Jane Austen That Are Especially Valid Today

In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet is a prime example of a woman who refuses to succumb to the status quo and not marry for love. Even though the estate she and her sisters live on is entailed to the outrageous Mr. Collins, and her family will be left penniless when their father dies, she is hell-bent on marrying a man who respects her. When Mr. Darcy proposes saying he loves her despite her embarrassing family connection and crude upbringing, she is rightly angered. No one should make her feel inferior, even if he’s the owner of Pemberley.

2. Chase Your Own Happiness

Lady Catherine de Bourgh
5 Feminist Lessons From Jane Austen That Are Especially Valid Today

When Mr. Darcy’s overly controlling aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, storms into Elizabeth’s house demanding that she turns down the proposal, Elizabeth’s not having it. She says that her actions are guided merely by her happiness and nothing else.

3. Don’t Judge Other Women for Their Choices

Charlotte Lucas
5 Feminist Lessons From Jane Austen That Are Especially Valid Today

Remember when Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth’s close friend, decided to accept Mr. Collins’ marriage proposal? Do you remember how furious Elizabeth was at first? What Elizabeth failed to understand is that women are different, and just because she wanted happiness above all, it doesn’t mean happiness means the same thing to everyone. When she sees Charlotte happy in her new life, Elizabeth finally understands that she has no right to judge others over the choices they make for themselves.

4. Be Confident Like Emma

GWYNETH PALTROW EMMA
5 Feminist Lessons From Jane Austen That Are Especially Valid Today

Perhaps out of all of Jane Austen’s characters, Emma is the greatest feminist. She is the actual head of her household, and she chooses not to marry because she already enjoys a good standing in society. She’s confident, independent, strong-willed, and won’t let anybody make her feel gender inferior.

5. You Need to Stand Up to Those You Love Sometimes

 Anne Elliot & Frederick Wentworth
5 Feminist Lessons From Jane Austen That Are Especially Valid Today

In Persuasion, Anne Elliot falls deeply in love with young navy officer Frederick Wentworth, and they get engaged. Being just 19 and under the influence of her family, Anne breaks up the engagement, and it takes years until she realizes the mistake she’s made. Seven years later, having realized the importance of standing up to those you love for the sake of your own happiness, Anne finally marries the man she loves.

Jane Austen, the Rockstar Feminist of the 18th Century

Jane Austen, the Rockstar Feminist of the 18th Century
5 Feminist Lessons From Jane Austen That Are Especially Valid Today

Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey are just two more prime examples of the incredible lessons on feminism that Jane Austen teaches her readers. Feminist or not, one can’t help but immerse themselves in the beautiful stories of personal triumph that Austen has created in her novels.