“Where are all the Stoic women? Surely this is not a philosophy only for and by men.”
It is a common and reasonable criticism of this philosophy, one that Daily Stoic seeks to understand and ameliorate whenever possible.
Recently, we had the opportunity to interview Lauryn Evarts Bosstick, a wellness influencer who reaches millions of people—mostly adoring young women—through her blog, social media, and podcast. Lauryn is a vocal advocate of Stoicism, so we asked her about why the philosophy can seem so male-centric and and what might be done about it:
I WANT TO CHANGE THIS. It’s so interesting to me how it’s seen as a male dominated philosophy. It has nothing to do with gender, it has to do with just being a better person and being the best version of yourself. My brand ‘The Skinny Confidential’ is all about being the best version of you. It’s not about being someone else, it’s about taking what you have and creating your own strategic future. Anyone can benefit from stoicism because it teaches invaluable lessons like perseverance, serenity, and resilience.
The Stoics believed that philosophy transcended any individual human being or society. It’s not rooted in any one gender, but in the universal principles of life, the human experience.
Musonius Rufus—Epictetus’s teacher—was one of the pioneers of gender equality, at least in philosophy. “It is not men alone who possess eagerness and a natural inclination towards virtue,” he said, “but women also. Women are pleased no less than men by noble and just deeds, and reject the opposite of such actions. Since that is so, why is it appropriate for men to seek out and examine how they might live well, that is, to practise philosophy, but not women?”
Stoicism isn’t male or female. It’s human. It’s for anyone trying to get better. It’s for all of us—since everyone needs more perseverance, serenity and resilience. It’s even for you.