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

1753 Words Nov 3rd, 2014 8 Pages
In her famous work A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote about the oppression women in society face, and the ways in which they are denied an equal chance to participate in society and make the best choices for themselves. Many of Wollstonecraft’s arguments are connected not only with women, but with the conceptions of manhood prevalent at the time. Through revealing social norms and double standards towards women in society and references to other prominent writers of the age, Wollstonecraft shows that, while manhood was equated with freedom, reason, intelligence and superiority, the conception of manhood lacked responsibility and accountability. The pressure of remaining virtuous was placed solely on women, Wollstonecraft points out, for a society to be truly effective, men must also conduct themselves virtuously and earn respect.
Early in her text, Wollstonecraft discusses the views on gender differences present in her time. Though her explanation of how women were seen in society, the confines in which women were expected to live in society during the period are revealed. Wollstonecraft writes that “women aren’t thought to have enough strength of mind to acquire virtue…” (pg 12), she goes on to show that women were only taught lessons and qualities from infancy which would “obtain for them the protection of man” (pg. 13), and it is considered when a woman is married that “she has reached her goal” (pg. 22). This shows that womanhood was…

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