How do the ideas espoused by Mary Wollstonecraft and other feminist writers of her time relate to women today?
In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft presented and developed ideas that were groundbreaking and new for her time. She believed the only way women could view their social roles objectively and differently was through education. Her ideas were “unambiguously feminist, although by modern standards, they may seem outdated” (“History of feminism”). But I believe her ideas and theories have relevance for women today inasmuch as today's woman is not as well educated as she might be and therefore open to being taken advantage of, and that many of the same problems of the past still plague us today. In her book, Wollstonecraft justifies women's rights and speaks out against the wrongs inflicted on women. She claims that “women's manners have been corrupted by a culture that exalts feminine inferiority” (Gilbert and Gubar 370). Our culture today is much the same. Many women today don't realize they are allowing society to subjugate them because they have “bought into” the male-dominated thinking of the popular culture. Movies, music and pop culture reinforce the idea that women can empower themselves (and make a lot of money) if they objectify themselves and present themselves to men as mere sex objects. But what these women do not realize is they are allowing themselves to be exploited. The cost of such exploitation is their personal dignity, and self esteem. I believe if women were properly educated, they would not sell themselves short and allow society to belittle and demean them.
Margaret Fuller stated that,
Women must leave off asking [men] and being influenced by them, but retire
within themselves, and explore the ground-work of life till they find their peculiar secret. Then, when they come forth again, renovated and babtized, [sic] they will know how to turn all dross to gold, and will be...
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