Reason versus Revelation: The Continued Fight for Educational Rights
A woman’s job is to cook, clean, and bear children. Although it may not remain true now, many thought this for most of history. A woman had her duty to her husband and that served as almost all of her worth. During the Enlightenment, some women began to question this norm and to voice their unhappiness. The Enlightenment period was an intellectual movement that sought to reform society and advance knowledge. Even with all of the Enlightenment’s great advancements, women still did not possess many rights. Women continued to be “oppressed and kept to the private sphere,” separated from men. These societal pressures faced by women are, arguably, the main topic of Mary …show more content…
She begins her book with words which clearly illustrate her concerns: "After considering the historic page, and viewing the living world with anxious solicitude… I have sighed when obliged to confess that either Nature has made a great difference between man and man, or that the civilization which has hitherto taken place in the world has been very partial. I have turned over various books written on the subject of education, and patiently observed the conduct of parents and the management of schools; but what has been the result?--a profound conviction that the neglected education of my fellow-creatures is the grand source of the misery I deplore, and that women, in particular, are rendered weak and wretched by a variety of concurring causes, originating from one hasty conclusion.” (Wollstonecraft 373). Wollstonecraft raises the notion that society’s limit on women’s right to education is wrong, not only because Nature has not created a difference between man and man, but also because society’s limitations have made women objects of frivolous beauty and nothing more. Wollstonecraft’s discourse on women’s rights to education effectively uses the socio-economic norms to make her point as well as effectively challenge those norms so they can better the women of society: “My own
During the Age of Enlightenment in the late eighteenth century, Mary Wollstonecraft presented a radical essay, A Vindication of the Rights of Women, that shed light on the largest, underrepresented groups of the time, women. The essay voiced the inequalities women at the time faced and called upon Wollstonecraft’s audience to invoke a revolution for the rights of women. Through her writing, she presented a compelling argument that slowly allowed women to question their “place” in society and demand change to the British social order. While these changes did not happen quickly, her work sparked the feminist movements through its unique message and called upon women to demand equality through the Match Girls Strike and Women’s Suffrage
Mary Wollstonecraft’s famous book, Vindication of the Rights of Women, is “one of the earliest expressions of a feminist consciousness.” Wollstonecraft claims that women are upset mainly due to the fact that they are not receiving the education they deserve, and goes on to explain how women are notorious for being weak, and mentally unstable. She blames the education system for this since all the books are written by men, and they claim that women are barley humans and are treated as another species. She questions the eligibility of men to claim they are better than women. A useful education, in her opinion, is one that teaches students how to be strong and independent. Her directed audience is anyone who is unsure of the true definition and meaning of feminism. Wollstonecraft believes that all humans are capable of the same intelligence, no matter the gender. Her overall idea is that every individual, both male and female, deserve equality.
She was a mother, a moral and political philosopher, a writer, and a feminist. Mary Wollstonecraft was the ideal image of what represented the push towards modern feminism. Some may even consider her as the founding mother of modern feminism itself. Much of Wollstonecraft’s literature is influenced by her own life experiences. In 1785, Wollstonecraft took on an employment opportunity as a governess. While spending most of her time there, she had a moment of epiphany where she realized that she was not suited for domestic work. Soon after, she returned to London and became a translator and wrote for a well-known publisher and discovered her love of writing. Eventually, years later she was then able to publish her most notable work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is still a very popular book which can be seen as a guide to becoming a better citizen and understanding feminism in a critical context. This essay will argue that Mary Wollstonecraft is still relevant to the feminist cause today as her views portrayed in her book A Vindication of the Rights of Woman are still relatable to many of the feminist issues that currently exist around the world. This essay will do so by comparing how her views in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman can still be used as guiding principles to tackle feminist matters.
Unlike the men, Mary Wollstonecraft agreed that individual freedom was very important to society, but that it also lead to more desirable equality for woman. “Women must be allowed to find their virtue on knowledge, which is scarcely possible unless women be educated by the same pursuits as men” (Doc D). Wollstonecraft believed the primary source was to educate woman the same as men. If a woman were educated the same as men the woman would have a greater value to society.
In Wollstonecraft’s work, she addresses the differences between men and women as being something that should be considered negligible, but instead is used to practically enslave one half of the population. The work details how women are akin to playthings when they lack an education, and that for her to truly be herself and practice her own free will, she must be knowledgeable. However, there are many different kinds of education, Wollstonecraft points out. Men received a formal education, consisting of a proper teaching of many subjects, while also aiding the young men in personal growth. Women, on the other hand, received a much less formal education. In their day to day lives, women observed, they leeched off
She argues against the assertion that men and women have innately different personalities, saying that the perception that women are flightier than men should not excuse the refusal of an education: “If then women are not a swarm of ephemeron triflers, why should they be kept in ignorance under the specious name of innocence?” (Wollstonecraft). She correctly identifies the fact that women’s education would stop women from being effectively enslaved by men and threaten their cultural supremacy: “Strengthen the female mind by enlarging it, and there will be an end to blind obedience” (Wollstonecraft). Wollstonecraft believes that the continued oppression of women in terms of education betrays the Enlightenment virtues of reason in favor of a patriarchal system that uplifts some members and not others (i.e.
She speak of women's equality and freedom, saying that they end up causing a lot of social problems. For example, how can people expect a woman to raise children well if she has no education and no ability to reason? Wollstonecraft asserts that women must be educated in the proper use of reason because she is primary concern is the education of women in women's rights. It is, therefore, immoral to leave women in ignorance or to be formed merely by the prejudices of society. An education that develops the mind is essential for any mortal
Wollstonecraft touches on various topics referring to equality of men and women, but one of the most prominent ones that she speaks of in this essay is the equality of education between the two. She
Wollstonecraft, outlines the issues faced with motherhood. Many women are expected to have children as this is a part of who they are (Ford, 2009). Wollstonecraft outlines the need for women in society to not conform and to try to teach their children equality, and not to please men, and she states that in society many “parents are the educators forced young girls into a precocious desire to please men at the expense of developing their intellects and capacity for virtue” (Field, 2011). This quote expresses Wollstonecraft’s need for women to not conform to society ideals, and as parents, they should try and teach their children that they do not need to please men, as they “must be taught to respect themselves as rational creatures” (Field,
Mary Wollstonecraft, who was born during the age of enlightenment in the 18th century, is one of the most prominent feminists in women’s history. Her book A Vindication of the Rights of Woman led her to become one of the first feminists, advocating for the rights of women. Born in a time where women’s education was neither prominent nor important, Wollstonecraft was raised with very little education. However, events in her life influenced her to begin writing, such as the way her father, Edward John Wollstonecraft treated her mother, “into a state of wearied servitude” (Kries,Steven)1. In 1792, she published Vindication on the Rights of Woman, which is one of the most prominent feminist pieces to date. This book is considered a reply to
Nowadays, it may be inadequate to say that merely equalizing educational opportunity will assure true equality for women. However, the century after Wollstonecraft was a movement of newly opened entryways for women’s education that dramatically changed their lives and gave them opportunities in all parts of society.
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
Due to their lack of educational opportunities during the Victorian era, women were more educated in domesticity, while men were taught in various subjects. Wollstonecraft describes the education that women receive to be “a disorderly kind of education” (161). If women were given equal educational opportunities as men, then it would allow them to become more empowered. Wollstonecraft states, “Strengthen the female mind by enlarging it, and there will be an end to blind obedience…” (163). Meaning that by providing women with a educational equivalent to men, then it would put an end to women having to be reliant on men and be able to independent. Therefore, women will not have to feel inferior to their male counterparts. She encourages women to become more empowered and challenge the gender constructs of society.
She is so education-driven that she goes so far as to say women who don’t educate their children have no right to call themselves citizens. While Wollstonecraft is adamant about the belief that girls should have the right to attend school alongside boys, her proposed idea is quite idealistic and, because of that, it is flawed.
In Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, she addressed many issues for women regarding civil rights and the expectations that were held for them at the time. “…men have… been led by viewing education in a false light; not considering it as the first step to form a being advancing gradually towards perfection; but only as a preparation for life.” (Wollstonecraft 58). Essentially, Wollstonecraft implied that men interpreted education only as a means of learning how to live life. In accordance with such an interpretation, women were only allowed to learn how to be wives and mothers. Wollstonecraft also stated her own perspective as to what education needed to be perceived as in contrast to what it was believed to be. After the large uproar that A Vindication of the Rights of Woman created, Wollstonecraft’s writing inspired many other female writers to join the fray.