Throughout the history of the world, minorities and women have fought for equality, for equal opportunities as white protestant men. Women’s struggle can be seen from the beginning of civilization. It can been seen as early as the ancient Roman Empire, as the web-site, “The Roman Empire In the First Century” states that women received little, if no, education. They were subjects to the authority of man. As time went on, women’s rights did not improve at all. Throughout the entire world, women were treated as second class citizens to their superior male counterparts. This continued on through the ages; up until the Victorian Era in Britain did women try to denounce these thousand year old “rights of women.” Several brave women spoke out against the ways they were treated, these women included, Mary Wollstonecraft and Jane Austen. Both of these women felt the need to write about this situation of equality for women so they may encourage others to take up arms with them and fight for equality. From the two different texts written by Mary Wollstonecraft and Jane Austen, Mary Wollstonecraft’s “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” is the more radical of the two texts of the day due to Wollstonecraft covering a broader range of subject that women dealt with in her day.
Indisputably, Mary Wollstonecraft was one of the most influential figures of Enlightenment, also considered the ‘first feminist’. It is certain that her works and writing has influenced the lives of many women and altered the outlook of some societies on women, evolving rights of women a great deal from what they used to be in her time. It is clear that Wollstonecraft’s arguments and writing will remain applicable and relevant to societies for many years to come, as although there has been progression, there has not been a complete resolution. Once women receive so easily the freedom, rights and opportunities that men inherently possess, may we be able to say that Wollstonecraft has succeeded in vindicating the rights of women entirely.
The Victorian era was a time when the rights that women are so accustom to today did not exist. In fact, this era was especially known for the stern code of morality that was placed on women. Men acted more like property owners when it came to women. Men viewed women as only useful to serve a few specific purposes, and other than that, they were virtually worthless. Women like Louisa May Alcott, were seeking a chance to explore their individual freedoms apart from men. Women weren’t granted the right to vote until 1919; however, Louisa May Alcott expressed early interest in the subject of women’s rights, having lived through this demeaning era herself. It was almost 50 years after writing her inspiring and revolutionary novel, Little Women, that women were finally and truly recognized as equals and in which the passageway to women’s rights was rightly unveiled. Louisa May Alcott’s life in a 19th century restrictive society led her to write feminist novels that ushered in the era of women’s rights.
Throughout history, women have struggled with, and fought against oppression. They have been held back and weighed down by the sexist ideas of a male dominated society which has controlled cultural, economic and political ideas and structure. During the mid-1800’s to early 1900’s women became more vocal and rebuked sexism and the role that had been defined for them. Fighting with the powerful written word, women sought a voice, equality amongst men and an identity outside of their family. In many literary writings, especially by women, during the mid-1800’s to early 1900’s, we see symbols of oppression and the search for gender equality in society. Writing based on their own experiences, had it not been for the works of Susan Glaspell, Kate Chopin, and similar feminist authors of their time, we may not have seen a reform movement to improve gender roles in a culture in which women had been overshadowed by men.
In the analysis of the issue in question, I have considered Mary Wollstonecraft’s Text, Vindication of the Rights of Woman. As an equivocal for liberties for humanity, Wollstonecraft was a feminist who championed for women rights of her time. Having witnessed devastating results or men’s improvidence, Wollstonecraft embraced an independent life, educated herself, and ultimately earned a living as a writer, teacher, and governess. In her book, “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman,” she created a scandal perhaps to her unconventional lifestyle. The book is a manifesto of women rights arguing passionately for educating women. Sensualist and tyrants appear right in their endeavor to hold women in darkness to serve as slaves and their plaything. Anyone with a keen interest in women rights movement will surely welcome her inexpensive edition, a landmark documen...
Throughout history, women have been oppressed and seen as subservient to men. Gender differences denied women the right to education, among many factors that men had. Women lived their lives to be wives and mothers while men went to school, held careers, interests passions and individual lives outside of the homes women so rarely left. Mary Wollstonecraft expressed her abhorrence for this injustice in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Later in the same year of 1792, Anna Barbauld responded by attacking Wollstonecraft with her “The Rights of Woman.” Both women present a clear, though opposing argument allowing the reader further insight of the oppression plaguing women in the late eighteenth century.
Mary Wollstonecraft’s work A Vindication of the Rights of Woman received critical reviews that were almost uniformly positive following its publication in 1792. This is surprising because of the extreme level of political conservatism that was present in Britain in the late 18th Century. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman was even shocking to some liberal thinkers of the late 18th century, and because of Britain’s political conservatism, Mary Wollstonecraft was subject to a variety of cruel humiliations during her lifetime. The political reform that she advocated in her work seems quite harmless today, and it is difficult for current readers to empathize with the vitriol that Wollstonecraft received during her lifetime. Political thinkers of the late 18th century would lambast her work, particularly after her husband William Godwin published her memoirs after her death in 1797. The political landscape in the late 18th century was not favorable to the radical ideas that Mary Wollstonecraft put forth in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, and it would take years to rehabilitate her...
Many women during this time allowed their opinions to be known on the education and working conditions of young women. Mary Wollstonecraft, mentioned previously, was a woman whom wrote about the importance of women and education stating that she “[wished] to see [women] placed in a station in which [they] would advance, instead of retarding, the progress of those glorious principles that give a substance to morality”. Wollstonecraft’s appeal to men was done gracefully as she touched on the importance of a woman’s morals which seemed to have been of utmost importance to these men. Had Wollstonecraft been blunt about the education of women and stated that men were holding women back and should allow women to be their own people, an uncomfortable feeling would have washed of the male population and Wollstonecraft’s article would have been met with great opposition. However, because she justifies the education of women with them needing to able to understand “why she ought to be virtuous”, men were able to see that education of the females in their lives could be beneficial to them as
Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Ed. Carol H. Poston. New York: Norton, 1988.
Mary Wollstonecraft thought that women should defend themselves and should try to make themselves equal to men. She said, “I do not wish them [women] to have...