Analysis Of Mary Wollstonecraft's Maria Or The Wrongs Of Woman

Better Essays
Mary Wollstonecraft’s, Maria or The Wrongs of Woman, is an analyzation and critique about a woman’s place in society. Specifically, that socially, politically, and economically woman are at a disadvantage. Furthermore, society perpetuates this imbalance through certain expectations about motherhood, marriage, and double standards. This power imbalance has always been present in society and through the analyzation of Maria and themes such as: motherhood, domination, and traditionalist thought it is possible to contextualize the era that Mary Wollstonecraft lived in to gain a better understanding of what women went through in her time so that we have a reference to compare to how women are treated today. The traditionalist ideal of marriage…show more content…
However, she simultaneously rejects these notions of promiscuity by attempting to take her life after the father of her preconceived child refuses to stay with her and by marrying. This indicates that she both rejects the traditional view of marriage as a concept while also rejecting sexual promiscuity for the sake of sexual promiscuity. In an article written by Barbara Taylor titled, The Wild Wish of Early Feminism, analyzing Mary Wollstonecraft the author says, “ so long as the sexual distinction is in fact a sight of division and opposition- so long that woman sexual subjectivity be a central site of feminist politics. That recognition is at least part of the legacy Mary Wollstonecraft left to us” ( Taylor 217). Within the traditionalist ideal of marriage, the man and the breadwinner, is inherently given power over the woman and thus he is given the ability to subjugate woman. Taylor further says, “ if woman had an identity at all it seemed to be located in their genitals” (Taylor 209). In this system the woman has no identity she is nothing more than her sex. Maria further supports this notion of…show more content…
However, biased expectations towards women, concerning both themselves and motherhood, have remained relatively unchanged. In, Maria, these expectations were addressed as the female sensibility. When describing Maria it is said that, “nay such was the sensibility which often mantled over it, that she frequently appeared, like a large proportion of her sex only born to feel” (Wollstonecraft 32). In any society men and women are expected to act a certain way. However, the female sensibility: which encompasses how one should dress, manners, etiquette, and reform have been used to suppress the position of women in society. Women are expected to sit quietly and look pretty and as a result they became what people expected of them. In A Vindication for the Rights of WomenVindication Wollstonecraft writes, “In their current state women are weak and artificial: taught from infancy that beauty is a woman scepter the mind shapes itself to the body” (Wollstonecraft 44). These expectations create a reality for women. For example, finishing school is the epitome of women’s sensibility. They’re sent away to learn how to fit into a society that is being dictated by men; they’re taught how to act, how to essentially be sensible. This puts emphasis on how a woman should look and act and that expectation creates the reality for women and they become a shell. Their only substance comes from the value that
Get Access