The Mother of Feminism: Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Voice in a Male-Dominated Society

Topics: Woman, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Age of Enlightenment Pages: 5 (1597 words) Published: August 26, 2009
The Mother of Feminism:
Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Voice in a Male-Dominated Society A Society is how a country organizes community living by giving security and identity to its people. It helps influence the minds of many by establishing common interests which impact the way people view different subjects and matters. In the society during the Enlightenment period, women were valued as creatures that were secondary to men. They were seen as short-lived beauties, only able to acquire power and significance through producing healthy offspring, as it was their primary role in society (Wollstonecraft 114). Discrimination towards the female race was very common, and it influenced the minds of both men and women. However, as the Enlightenment period unfolded, more people started to think in more logical and open-minded ways, giving birth to many interesting concepts such as equality, and the freedom of mankind. Mary Wollstonecraft, a well-educated woman who lived during this period, showed interest in topics concerning freedom and equality. During her time, she was one of the few women who pondered big questions like, “What action is needed for women to gain equality in a male-dominated society?” just out of curiosity. As she began to take act and create wonderful masterpieces, more people took notice of topics about women independence and they either supported it, or went against it. The era of Mary Wollstonecraft marked the beginning of significant changes concerning female injsustice and perspectives toward women in her society through her published work, the Vindication of the Rights of Woman. The issue of women independence was brought to the fore. She was also a most potent example of a woman who lived an independent life.

As the Issue of the Rights of Man brought forth the American and French Revolutions, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote the feminist declaration of independence, the Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Wollstonecraft, 7). Wollstonecraft was courageous enough to dare and take the ideas of the equality for men, the dominant race, and consider the same rights for her own sex. Wollstonecraft wrote her topics in a very rhetorical and persuasive manner, which helped the readers see her ideas through her eyes. Some topics in her essay consisted of ideas like how men considered females to be women rather than human beings, and how women didn’t mind this, how men thought that physical strength defined power and rank, and how women then used affectation for men to love them back (Applebee 632-636). Her main argument however, was how women are depicted as lower creatures than men while women are unaware of their current state due to the lack of education they receive (Wollstonecraft 86). On the other hand, Wollstonecraft not only criticized matters like the limits in female education, she also criticized the way women behave towards their own situation in society. She writes, The conduct and manners of women, kin fact, evidently prove that their minds are not in a healthy state; for, like the flowers which are planted in too rich a soil, strength and usefulness are sacrificed to beauty; and the flaunting leaves, after having pleased a fastidious eye, fade, disregarded on the stalk, long before the season when they ought to have arrived at maturity (Ferreri 0:5:37-0:6:03). Wollstonecraft writes that women do not respect themselves, appealing to their husbands as the ideal wife of all men, but not a wife who is able to speak her mind and show her true emotions (Applebee 633). She, in great detail, describes women behavior, and how women allow men to be the ones with all the power. She wants women to be less-dependent on their husbands and for them to be encouraged to acquire a strong mind and body (Wollstonecraft 12). Wollstonecraft allowed the women of her time to see the society through the eyes of a woman, and by doing so helped them see the wrong-doings they omitted daily. One of her key views was the need for...

Bibliography: Written/Books:
Wollstonecraft, Mary. Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Ed. Brody, Miriam.
Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1985.
Arthur N. Applebee, Andrea B. Bermudez, Sheridan Blau, Rebekah Caplan, Peter Elbow, Susan Hynds, Judith A. Langer, and James Marshall. The Language of Literature: British Literature. Evanston: Illinois, 2006.
Ovidious. “Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Women and Patriarchal Society”. 2007. 22 February, 2009. .
Online Article:
Lewis, John Johnson. “Mary Wollstonecraft”. Online posting. 2009. About. 22 February, 2009. .
Ferreri, Kirsten. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Alex Foster, Kristen McQuillin, David Barnes, Carl Manchester, Margaine, Denny Sayers, J.M. Smallheer, Betsie Bush, Corie Samuel, Jen Kidd, and Caitlin Kelly. Librivox, 2007.
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