Mary Wollstonecraft's Analysis

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In philosophy, many great thinkers have written on the subject of women and in particular, how women were expected to behave in society. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, for example wrote in his work Emile, that women should be trained to embody submissive and manipulative attributes. Edmond Burke, another great thinker, emphasised that rights should be conferred on an individual based on traditions rather than skill. Although this view did not explicitly target women, it did demonstrate a striking resemblance to the treatment toward women during that time. The obsession of promoting the views of men, by society, empowered one women to speak on the rights of women. Mary Wollstonecraft was a feminist, who after observing the male driven society, published…show more content…
To understand the state of affairs in which Wollstonecraft published her work, it is important to first understand the social, historical and political backdrop. Her work was written and published during the time of the French Revolution. This backdrop was significant to Wollstonecraft’s work because during the French Revolution, issues such as the separation of the Church and state as well as human rights, were being heavily debated. Moreover, it was also during this period that Rousseau’s theories (regarding women) were also by in large, endorsed by political regimes and resonated within much of society. Wollstonecraft disapproved largely of Rousseau’s critique by first addressing the rights that women were entitled to within the house. During this time, women were mostly confined to their homes and expected to please men as their only duty. The daily life of a married women was to be a care taker and look after the upbringing of offspring. In many cases, women were not permitted to work, but if they did, the job designation, hours and location would be restricted and require little to no skill set. Another restriction placed on women was that they were regarded as mere creatures of feelings that were incapable of forming rational thoughts. This notion of females being perceived as incapable of intellect…show more content…
This is because when Wollstonecraft discussed about the upbringing of children, she focused her discussion on the roles of women primarily. To clarify, when discussing about caring for children, Wollstonecraft seemed to hint that the ability to care for children, belonged to women by nature. This contradicted her points not only regarding femininity but also natural rights. If women, as emphasised by Wollstonecraft, were not distinctive in nature then men, then why were women expected to care for the child? This question also introduces a final contradiction to Wollstonecraft because if there is no distinctive nature between men and women, then how was the institution of marriage supposed to remain intact? As mentioned earlier, if Wollstonecraft’s theory was to be followed, then either manipulation through the mind, or the assignment of duties would have to occur (both of which Wollstonecraft
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