The Cause of Women's Lack of Self Respect as Described by Mary Wollstonecraft

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It is difficult to believe that during Mary Wollstonecraft's period women were denied many rights, yet it was completely acceptable by society. Wollstonecraft mentions that due to the "unnatural distinctions" that affected them, women developed a lack of self-respect. Although women of the present have what Mary Wollstonecraft wanted to help women earn self-respect such as equal opportunities, today we still fall victim to the desire to fit into society's standards, similar to women before. Wollstonecraft states the "unnatural distinctions" that affected women in society was the fact that females were judged and labeled based on their sex. They were automatically deemed to learn skills that were expected of a "normal" woman. These skills included sewing, cooking, or playing an instrument for mere entertainment. Women were discouraged in aiming for other goals except for those that were considered feminine. Their education was very limited compared to men and as a result there were scarcely any jobs suited for them. Their lack of education not only regulated what kind of jobs they obtained but also made them ignorant of what was going on. A limited education and career opportunities made it extremely difficult for women to support themselves. Therefore, marrying a wealthy man was a woman's only hope for survival and obtaining power. They became superficial and obsessed with their appearance to gain love and affection from a man. For a woman, being married was a way of achieving security and a way to be accepted in society and attaining happiness. A lack of education and financial stability reflected the way women behaved. Wollstonecraft asserts that because of their dependence on their husbands women were "cunning, mean, and selfish"(pg. 748). Love, as Wollstonecraft declares, "is not to be bought…; its silken wings are instantly shriveled up when anything beside a return in kind is sought" (pg. 748). Women grew to be so suppressed and obedient,...
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