Mary Wollstonecraft 's A Vindication Of The Rights Of Women Essay

Mary Wollstonecraft 's A Vindication Of The Rights Of Women Essay

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In the atmosphere of the French Revolution, Mary Wollstonecraft, in her work, A Vindication of the Rights of Women gives a thrashing to Enlightenment scholars who proposed that men should not have power over other men, but in regards to women, this notion was not applicable. To be beautiful, or "womanly" was to be associated with weakness, therefore women were regarded as the weaker sex. However, Wollstonecraft argues men deserve equality based on their humanity, not their sex and since women are equal to men regarding the fact that they are also human, they too deserve equality on the basis of their humanity. Most importantly, she explains that the existing deficits or appeal of women are a result of social construct, and she claims that women take part in their own oppression by enjoying their place as the weaker, "softer," sex who must be protected by men. Thus, for women to escape this state of inequality, Wollstonecraft suggests education is the key for societal order as well as for women to become productive, respected members of society.
Wollstonecraft explains that women are sabotaged from birth and are trained to be meek, quiet, unquestioning members of society: "Women are told from infancy... [that] softness of temper, outward obedience and a scrupulous attention to a puerile kind of propriety, will obtain for them the protection of a man; and should they be beautiful, everything else is needless" (Wollstonecraft 496). If women are taught that their beauty is the only tool they have, then they will use that tool to their advantage, but Wollstonecraft suggests that this keeps women oppressed because it is a false sense of power. To ignore other abilities, such as intellect, which Wollstonecraft believes to be the most im...


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...gly, Wollstonecraft believes that relying on a man for validation, who are flawed just as women are, will only lead to disappointment, because to depend on something (a man) that is with fault, as if it is perfect is illogical and an erroneous belief.
In conclusion, In Mary Wollstonecraft 's A Vindication for the Rights of Women, it is evident that she believes that the suggestion that women exist only to please is a damaging social construct. She argues that any happiness that women gain from taking a position to spend all of her time being a sweet, pleasing companion to a man and nothing more is a hollow existence. More than this being disappointing for women, she expresses that society suffers because one half of the population are not contributing as independent, intellectual beings in the way that they could if they were educated and perceived as equal to men.

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