Analysis Of Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman

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The inequality of women has been a long-lasting issue that still persists today. Women have gained more rights over time in part due to significant efforts made by feminists, however, much progress still needs to be made. Mary Wollstonecraft, often cited as one of the founding feminist philosophers, has acted as a strong influence for the modern conception of feminism due to her advocacy and ideas on femininity. One of Wollstonecraft’s most prominent works in regards to feminism is A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. In the piece, Wollstonecraft uses and critiques philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s work, namely Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, in order to build a case in defense of a woman’s inherent human rights in relation to factors such as education and socialization against Rousseau’s more antiquated views on what a woman’s purpose is to be.
A woman’s purpose is a central topic that both philosophers touch on in their respective pieces, however, in differing ways. Rousseau believes that women are subservient to men and that their primary role is to “please and to be subject to him” (Wollstonecraft, 78). Wollstonecraft’s view contrasts greatly from this conception by Rousseau as she believes that women should have power over themselves, including the power to act independently from men. A vital component to these notions is the concept of education. Both philosophers believe that education plays an important role in one’s purpose as an individual, however, in
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