Tong And Williams Feminism

Decent Essays
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, feminism consists of “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes”. The feminist movement emerged during the eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries, when philosophers began to question the perception of women in society and the moral differences between the sexes (Tong and Williams). A demand for equality was explored, vindicated and raised to the authorities by early feminists, like Mary Wollstonecraft (Tong and Williams). Equality represents a fundamental issue that is still debated. By exploring the roots of the western culture regarding equality between the sexes, one may acknowledge the whole progress in pursuing justice, resulting from the fight of many generations.…show more content…
Wollstonecraft first identifies degrading prejudices held toward women, that are considered like “vain inconsiderate dolls” (Wollstonecraft, Political 25). These predispositions, such as the weakness of mind, indolence, delicacy, vanity and sensuality, imply the misperception of the women’s status in society (114). Women then possess inferior positions and their interests are ignored in the governmental decisions, as they remain slaves of their husband, of the laws and of the authorities (78). Tong and Williams rename the women’s political exclusion as the “arbitrary effect of prejudicial social beliefs” (919). Indeed, women are controlled by men, such that the system of government in place only represents half of the total population’s interests (Coffee 912). The British thinker writes that “women ought to have representatives, instead of being arbitrarily governed without having any direct share allowed them in the deliberations of government” (Wollstonecraft, Political 237). Women must be part of the political leadership in order to ensure impartial representation of the common whole. Moreover, based…show more content…
However, she claims that women are discriminatorily disadvantaged in developing impressive political thoughts, since schoolboys are taught morals and critical thinking whereas girls learn manners like “mindless automaton[s]” (Tong and Williams). Wollstonecraft argues that with the same education, both genders may attain virtuosity. Therefore, she encourages women’s role in politics, as it would benefit publicly. She even writes that “some women govern their husbands without degrading themselves, because intellect will always govern” (Vindication 84). Gender is thus swept out from the criteria to enter political institutions, while intelligence is what matters. Moreover, independence is the ideal status of human beings, as Wollstonecraft “consider[s] [independence] as the grand blessing of life, the basis of every virtue” (Wollstonecraft, Vindication 85). In her novel Maria: or, The wrongs of woman, she pictures a woman, Maria, trapped under her husband’s control. She uses Maria’s misery to illustrate the barrier generated by dependence that
Get Access