The Vindication of Rights of Women

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In Mary Wollstonecraft’s essay “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” she

constantly compares men and women. Her comparisons range from their physical nature

to their intelligence, and even down to the education that each sex receives.

Wollstonecraft states, “In the government of the physical world it is observable that the

female in point of strength is, in general, inferior to the male.”(line 1.35-37) to show that

women are inferior to men in physicality, and a number of areas throughout the essay, yet

through it all she voices her concerns for the rights of women and how well deserved they


Throughout mankind’s history there has been an obvious bias towards men. Men

have always been deemed superior to women, whether it be physical or intellectual.

When Wollstonecraft says, “…I presume that rational men will excuse me for

endeavoring to persuade them [women] to become more masculine and

respectable.”(lines 1.81-83) she tells her fellow women to fight for equality, while

flattering the opposite sex. Her statement tells women that in order to get what they want

[equality] they must change their ways and habits. Its sort of like–If you can’t beat them,

join them. There is just one thing holding women from their full potential–men.

Wollstonecraft states, “…men who, considering females rather as women than human

creatures, have been more anxious to make them alluring mistresses than affectionate

wives and rational mothers…”(lines 1.17-19) Regardless of what women do there will

always be men who will continue to degrade and discourage rational, intelligent, and

free-thinking women. Humans have been around for thousands of years, yet men still


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...…the heart should be clean…Women ought to endeavor

to purify their hearts…”(lines 1.129-132) Wollstonecraft felt that women had to ignore

and shed all of the things that men had told them and taught them. Women need to be

themselves and not conform to anyone’s regulations. Wollstonecraft wants women to be

strong, to defend their honor and innocence, and to learn to think rationally again. She

says, “Weakness [in women] may excite tenderness, and gratify the arrogant pride of

man…”(lines 1.142-143) and “…the woman who strengthens her body and exercises her

mind will, by managing her family and practicing various, become the friend, and not the

humble dependent of her husband…”(lines 1.145-147) Rational and independent thinking

will help women in their endeavor for equality, and Wollstonecraft was an excellent

example of that.
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