Elaine Forrestal

Would Rose have been a feminist?

Rose de Freycinet, 19 years of age.

It is interesting to speculate whether Rose de Freycinet would have been a feminist, had she been born at a different time. Certainly she was a strong, indepedent minded person who was not afraid to take on the male dominated beaurocracies that controlled much of society during her lifetime. But, like strong women in our own time, Rose worked out how to get what she wanted. Rather than fighting against the constraints of French Naval Law, she infiltrated the system. By taking courage in both hands and stowing away as she did, remaining hidden on board l’Uranie until she was essentially out of reach of the Navy, she demonstrated that women could indeed survive the hardships and privations of shipboard life just as successfully as men.

Rose could also be charming and diplomatic. Many times on the three year voyage around the world she smoothed the way for Louis and avoided diplomatic confrontations. As a woman she was seen as less of a threat than the aristocratic Commander. Even, at times, exerting a calming influence on the crew, without compromising her own firmly held principals. Everyone, male or female, must forge their own path in life. While Rose was not afraid of confrontation, she had worked out other ways of getting what she wanted. Sometimes she failed, as we all do. But she was always prepared to get in there and have a go.

Vive la Rose sauvage!