Feminism and How the Roles of Women Have Changed Ever So Slightly

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Kinship or the Family is a major social institution if not one of the primary structural forces, which shape subject formation and societal views. Kinship relations play a significant role in the constitution of societal roles, cultural values and identity. In Western culture, Kinship places a strong emphasis on marriage and reproduction and, moreover, makes assumptions about sex, gender, and sexuality classifications and reinforces gender roles. For example, In their Anthropological piece titled, Is There a Family?, Jane Collier, Michelle Z. Rosaldo, and Sylvia Yanagisako proposes that because of their biological capabilities of childbirth and reproduction, women are confined to the home and viewed as “peace-loving” and “nurturing” homemakers (Is There A Family? 75). Their roles are to maintain a home; reproduce and raise children; and love and nurture their spouse and children. While the man, a public and active figure, resided in the workplace where his role is to work and maintain the economic exchanges of capitalism. These views reinforce gender roles and have been in place far beyond the age of industrialization and capitalism. Writers like Rousseau and Dr. Gregory desire that women remain servile, confined to the home, and concerned with matters most concerned with rendering themselves pleasing to men. However, Mary Wollstonecraft challenges these societal views and argues for the liberty and gender equality denied to women.
According to Wollstonecraft, Dr. Gregory and Rousseau have contributed to “render women more artificial, weaker characters…and consequently, more useless members of society” (23). These ideas are degrading and diminish societal potential for women. Wollstonecraft focuses on the claim made by Rousseau t...

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...n’s beauty and charm and more specifically her lack of a proper education makes her outwardly subordinate and dependent to man, whereas education allows her to be independent—education allows women to have and everlasting virtue to fall back on once their charm and beauty fade throughout their marriage. Thus, women should not just be content with their role of subordination and securing the affection of men. Wollstonecraft discusses that a women who cultivates her by “managing her family” and “practicing various virtues” will in term become the “friend and not the humble dependent of her husband” (27). Wollstonecraft’s ideal of marriage breaks away from this idea that women are supposed to be servile to their husband and confined to the home, and instead, emphasizes that marriage should be a friendship between spouses based on the independence, respect, and virtue.
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