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Essay on Mary Wollstonecraft's View on Women's Rights

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Mary Wollstonecraft's View on Women's Rights
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As one of the earliest feminist writers, Mary Wollstonecraft faced a daunting audience of critics ready to dispel her cry for the rights of women. Her powerful argument calling for equality in a society dominated by men was strong, and her ideas withstood a lot of criticism to become one of the most important feminist texts. Her argument was simple and illustrates a solution to the inequality in society. The foundation of this argument is the idea of education and how independent thought is necessary to live a virtuous and moral life. In the present state of society, women are seen as inferior to men and held in a state of ignorance. The worst effect of this relationship is that women are not educated and allowed to think for themselves. Without the ability to reason, women cannot achieve virtue or morality and society as a whole suffers. If women were allowed to reason and think independently, both women and men would share the benefits. With this argument, Wollstonecraft makes a very strong case in favor of women's rights.

Wollstonecraft acknowledges a great inequality in society in which women are valued only as sexual beings and domestic servants. She does not argue with the fact that men have more physically superior over women, rather she argues that men's bodily strength is the "only solid basis on which the superiority over women can be built" (Wollstonecraft, 150). Wollstonecraft makes a logical and reasonable argument that any physical superiority a man demonstrates should not have an effect on the treatment of women. However, an inequality does exist because men use their inherited authority and tradition role to suppress women's rights. Acco...


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Although The Vindications is a response to texts written by men arguing against the rights of women, Wollstonecraft's ability to create a clear and logical argument ensured that her work would be bear considerable weight in society. Her ideas that virtue is a universal right that needs to be cultivated in men and women through education and reason is very clear and compelling. She demonstrates the benefits men would also enjoy if women were to be treated equally. Wollstonecraft proves that she is more than a feminist simply expressing grief over the ill treatment of women. She establishes herself as an eloquent thinker with concrete ideas and solutions and this is why her text was well received upon publication. Although changes did not occur rapidly, the education of women continues to progress and develop, fostering a more equal society.


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