Mary Wollstonecraft's The Vindication Of The Age Of Enlightenment

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The Age of Enlightenment happened in the 18th century from 1685-1815. This is a long period of time that brought unconventional yet necessary ideas to the public’s eyes. Ideas of feminism started to be talked and argued about because of the notable and headstrong Mary Wollstonecraft. She was only 19 when she decided to be independent and who realized that education for women is crucial and needed advocacy. Her influence and passion gave her the reputation of being the “founder of feminism” (Pedersen 432). Along with the ideas of Wollstonecraft and feminism, The Age of Enlightenment also brought the ideas of John Locke and the role of government, Voltaire and freedom of speech and religion, and Montesquieu for separation of powers. The works …show more content…

In her book, Wollstonecraft argues and slams Jean Jacques Rousseau’s multiple times on his view on education and his belief that women should only have education on how to be a better wife and mother (Poonacha 428). Wollstonecraft critiques him, “Rousseau declares that a woman should never, for a moment, feel herself independent that she should be governed by fear to exercise her natural cunning, and made a coquettish slave in order to render her a more alluring object of desire…” To add, Rousseau is advocating for the rich and upper-class families, while Wollstonecraft is speaking up for middle class women who most of them are forced to please men and take care of their children (Poonacha 430). Rousseau is not the only guy she critiques, she also mentioned Edmund Burke in her pamphlet The Vindication of the Rights of Men. Despite education for women being an emotional and personal topic for Wollstonecraft, she balances her writing with reason (Volkova 896). She provides details and logic that back up her statements. She gives relatable examples and alarming possible outcomes. One of Wollstonecraft’s point is that, women are dependent on men because of the way society views marriage. Women from before based their survival on the approval on men, instead of furthering on their educational needs (Poonacha 427). Wollstonecraft, in order to convince her readers for change, gather up what women lack and blames it all back to their lack of education, thus proving her point more. She does not only attack men who she believes is wrong, but she also mocks these privileged women who are gullible and too caught up with only themselves, fashion, and criticizing other females. She writes, “and these young ladies, with minds vulgar in every sense of the word, and spoiled tempers, entered life puffed up with notions of their own consequence, and looking down with contempt on

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