The First Feminist

Emma Gonzalez, Staff Writer

Juana Ramírez was born on November 12, 1651 in San Miguel Nepantla, Viceroyalty of New Spain, later to be a part of Mexico. Even as a child she loved learning, and disliked anything that got in the way of that passion. Being a female, she couldn’t go to school and had to be self taught almost everything. Her parents were not married when she was born so her birth date is not certain, but we do know that she was sent to live with relatives in Mexico City when she was 8, after her father died. While she was there, a viceroy tried courting her and had her knowledge tested. She made it very clear that she didn’t want to get married or do anything that got in the way of her studies. To escape the pressures of her suitors and others that suggested she get married, she became a nun.

She would then write numerous plays and poems, tales of romance and lust. She also wrote about the struggles that women had to go through and the tough relation between the mind and the body. She recognized other women and taught the young girls at Santa Paula’s school drama and music. She also had a humongous library. She had mastered all the different types of poetry, from romance to adventure, and drew sources from biblical, classical, and mythological sources. She sang the religious lyrics that she wrote in the cathedral during service. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (her new name as a nun) wrote about how women are intelligent and logical, but also disillusionment towards our aspects of love.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz’ works consist of Hombres Necios (foolish men), and Respuesta a sor Filotea de la Cruz. She wrote Respuesta after the bishop of Puebla published a critique without her permission. He also advised Sor Juana to stop writing and studying and focus on her religious duties under the false name of Sister Filotea. This was when she wrote Respuesta, which she signed “I, the worst of all,” in her own blood.

She eventually had to decrease her studies and sell her library, which was one of the biggest libraries in all of North America, for money and food to give to the homeless. She renewed her vows to her previous confessor, sometime in1694. But in April of 1695, she died helping her sisters during an epidemic. Today, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz is remembered for being the first ever feminist and the worst nun. There is a movie made in her legacy called “I, the Worst of All,” and a TED-Ed video called “History’s ‘worst’ nun- Theresa a. Yugar.” Unfortunately, not many people know of Sor Juana around the world, save Mexico since she is on the 200 peso bill.

Work Cited
Merrim, Stephanie. “Sor Juana Inés De La Cruz.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 12 June 2019,