Mary Wollstonecraft's The Subjection Of Women

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While efforts toward women’s civil rights had been made in previous centuries, large scale movements known as feminism began to truly gain ground in the 19th century. The beginnings of feminism, commonly defined as work toward the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes, are often attributed to Mary Wollstonecraft in her book The Vindication of the Rights of Women, published in 1792. The ideas spread by Wollstonecraft inspired many more prominent figures and works to emerge throughout the 1800s. The feminist movement was especially prevalent in Great Britain, where women such as Josephine Butler and writings like A Room of One’s Own and The Subjection of Women worked and spread awareness. While women’s political rights in 19th century Great Britain were improving, the social attitudes worked in the…show more content…
However, the 19th century saw many important works regarding women’s rights being published. One of the most significant of these was John Stuart Mill and his wife Harriet’s 1869 book The Subjection of Women (832). Mill used his unique position as a member of Parliament to have his opinion be heard and carry weight. His wife contributed to the book prior to her untimely death, and the arguments presented were an affront to the norms of European society (“The Subjection”). His opinions defending women’s rights were logical and appealed to humanistic values, arguing that humankind was being held back from its full potential by confining half of the population to the household and not educating them (“The Subjection”). He also argued that women seemed to have less potential than men solely because they were never allowed to try and reach their full potential (“The Subjection”). People began to think of women’s rights in a different way after realizing that female subjection was hindering human development and
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