Women’s Inequality in Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women & Rousseau’s On the Origin of Inequality

1008 Words Feb 24th, 2018 4 Pages
Rousseau’s idea that socialization brings inequality in his Discourse On the Origin of Inequality is manipulated by Wollstonecraft in her A Vindication of the Rights of Women. She uses his arguments to prove that the inequality between men and women is not natural, but it comes from Rousseau’s idea of socialized inequality. The inequality experienced by women is a product of society, which Wollstonecraft tries to prove by uses Rousseau’s arguments about language and dependency. Wollstonecraft seems to agree with Rousseau when she says, “that the female in point of strength is, in general, inferior to the male” (Wollstonecraft, 8). She does not say that all women are inferior in strength to men, nor does she conclude from this that women, being physically inferior, should be dependent on men. Yet, she twists the argument when she says, “in order to preserve their innocence, as ignorance is courteously termed, truth is hidden from them, and they are made to assume an artificial character before their faculties have acquired any strength” (44). This is near contradiction to her previous admission of women’s natural physical inferiority. Her use of the word “faculties” is ambiguous as to whether she means physical or mental faculties, so perhaps, she is arguing that physical inequality could be part of the oppression of women, instead of it all belonging to nature’s fault.…
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