Born Marie Gouze in 1748, she took the name Olympe de Gouges after her husband died and she began to write plays and essays of a socially conscious nature. Her subjects were often very controversial, and in 1977 she wrote an anti-slavery play that went unpublished until the beginning of the French Revolution. She also wrote about women's right to divorce and to have sexual encounters outside of marriage. She embraced the Revolution as a hope to spread the ideas of equality between the sexes, but was soon disappointed to see that men still retained all power and refused to extend it towards female citizens.
In 1791 she became part of "Cercle Social", which was a group working towards equal rights for women. Inspired by the activities of this group, she wrote the first declaration of universal human rights entitled "Déclaration des droits de la Femme et de la Citoyenne" ("Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen"). This was followed up with several other writings concerning equality and injustice.
In 1793 she penned "Le trois urnes, ou le salut de la Patrie, par un voyageur aérien" (The three urns, or the health of the country, by an aerial voyager.) where she spoke out against Robespierre and Marat while still supporting the revolution itself. This caused enough of an uproar that it lead to her arrest. Found guilty of anti-Revolutionary conduct, she was sent to the guillotine on November 3, 1793.
ABOUT THE DOLL
Olympe is a reworked vinyl doll that stands approx. 10" tall and is dressed in a blue fabric gown trimmed with cream-colored lace. Her underskirt is a peachy-pink brocade fabric that matches the lace-trimmed shawl she wears on her shoulders. The shawl is adorned with tiny rose ornaments in the front and back.
Olympe carries her cloudy-eyed severed head in her right hand. The neck stump and above the shoulders are both cut to resemble the wound inflicted by the guillotine with the skin drawn back a little from the wound.. Blood, spinal column bone, and muscle tissue is visible.