Wollstonecraft's Struggle For Women In The Eighteenth-Century

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“…If one half of mankind be chained to its bottom by fate, for they will be continually undermining it through ignorance or pride” (Jacobus, 656). The eighteenth-century was a time of struggle for women, stemming from the issues of the previous centuries. At the start of the century, women could not vote, they had no access to higher education, and they were excluded from professional occupations. A wife had no legal identity apart from her husband. She could not be sued, sign a contract nor could she own property. She was not permitted to control her own wages or gain custody of her children in case of separation or divorce. Mary Wollstonecraft was one of these women in the eighteenth-century struggling for her independence and freedom. Wollstonecraft was unlike any other women in this century though, in the fact that she pursued a full-time professional writing career. …show more content…
Stimulated by her family’s financial problems, Wollstonecraft set to in some manner make her own way. She pursued the usual opportunities open to smart but poor young women. At only 19, she was a live-in helper for a wealthy widow. Wollstonecraft was not like the majority of women in her time who got married for no other reason than security. She believed that women were sensible and rational, and they did not need a husband for identity. Wollstonecraft wrote her A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1972 on the pernicious effects that arise, specifically for women, when unnatural distinctions are established in society. Wollstonecraft outlines several of these effects that are the most tragic and dangerous for eighteenth-century women. These effects are, beauty is emphasized more in women then intellect, virtue, and happiness, women when married lose their independence, women want to become a lady and want to be lazy, and the fact that women have no professional

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