Analysis Of Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman

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In the early 19th century, women were often thought as inferior to men due to their sentiment and irrationality. However, emerging feminist advocate Mary Wollstonecraft argued that women were not treated as rational beings because men would not allow them to have an education. She believed that women should have equal rights as men to prove that they were rational beings and not prone to sentiment. She wrote many works demonstrating her beliefs in hopes to evoke change for women’s rights. Mary Wollstonecraft’s political pamphlet, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and her novel, Maria both criticize men for using their desires to objectify women, thus preventing them from having any agency. However, Maria’s Maria hints that understanding …show more content…
The political pamphlet, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman uses philosophical language to explicitly call out educated men who believe that women cannot be educated or rational to emphasize that she is the writer and is educated and that their control of women is harmful to them. The line “Education of women has, of late, been more attended to than formerly” (pg. 10) blames men for not giving women good education. Wollstonecraft believes that the knowledge women need must build up “strength of body and mind,” (pg. 9) but that men “sacrifice” (pg. 9) this teaching meant for women so they can make them learn frivolous things. By allowing women to only learn how to care about beauty and desire, it benefits men but damages women. The word “sacrifice” sounds like the men are sacrificing something and allows them to sound generous, but Wollstonecraft is using this word ironically to demonstrate how selfish the men are being. By stating that men force women to care only about “libertine notions of beauty,” (pg. 9) Wollstonecraft is not only reprimanding men for making women foolish and powerless, but rebuking sentiment as weakening

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