An Analysis Of Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication On The Rights Of Women

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Mary Wollstonecraft’s “A Vindication on the Rights of Women” is considered to be a one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy. Published in 1792, Wollstonecraft wrote the treatise in response to claims by educational and political theorists that argued educating women beyond a domestic life education, was unnecessary. Overall, “A Vindication on the Rights of Women” is Wollstonecraft’s response to the societal oppression faced by women in the eighteenth-century. Particularly, Wollstonecraft focused on how the societal oppression caused by the neglect of a girl’s education was not only bad for the domestic household, but for society at large (“Feminist Ethics”). For Wollstonecraft, the societal oppression faced by women is the answer as …show more content…
If women have souls, argues Wollstonecraft, then women have the same rational and virtue abiding abilities as men (Wollstonecraft, p. 72). Secondly, that society’s mandate which renders women to be attractive above all else, has resulted in women’s feeble mindedness and immorality. Men who complain about the folly of women, or women’s perceived weakness and inability to reason, do not want to comprehend that people are responsible for women’s ignorance (Wollstonecraft, p. 72). Females, from birth till adulthood, are praised to maintain a state of innocence and beauty in order to attract and maintain a husband. While Wollstonecraft never used the phrase “gender norms”, gender inequalities and the power imbalances between men and women, led to men becoming morally superior to women. In response, Wollstonecraft states that educating individuals “will slowly sharpen the senses, form the temper, regulate the passions, as they begin to ferment, and set the understanding to work before the body arrives at maturity; so that the man may only have to proceed, not to begin, the important task of learning to think and reason” (Wollstonecraft, p. 77). Unlike some educational and political theorists of the eighteenth-century, Wollstonecraft did not believe that women were meant to less virtuous than men because of their nature. Actually, Wollstonecraft believed “in social change

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