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A Word From The Wise: Mary Wollstonecraft

894 words - 4 pages

Mary Wollstonecraft was one of the very first English feminists (1). She had brilliant ideas and wrote about them all the time. She often found herself hating other women in which she thought they were the definition of what was wrong with the women population. She wanted women to take a stand and fight for their educational rights, not to be weak and depend on men for their identity (2). Mary Wollstonecraft wasn’t taken seriously by many people during her time because her ideas were so unique, her scandalous personal life, and her two kids out of wedlock.
Even though people had similar ideas as Mary her work was still very unique and controversial for her time period (4). Mary was a moral and political theorist (1) as well as a women’s rights activist (3) who’s main work was female pedagogical, teachers and education (1). She was a true French Revolution child, a new age of reason and benevolence (5). She wanted women to achieve a better life, not only for themselves but for their children and husbands too and to bring together what people already had and “ultimate perfection” (5). Mary argued that women’s education was “strictly training them to be incapable and frivolous” so they could only be wives and mothers (4), but she wanted to secure happiness for women and men so they could be looked at as equals (1). Mary thought politically changing the status of women would benefit all of society so women could be more than just wives and mothers, they could be business professionals too (4).
Not many people agreed with Mary. She had very little support and many people mocked her, before and after her death. While Mary was alive people didn’t agree with her because her ideas were so strange to them, but after her death people had even more reasons. Mary’s life was quite scandalous (1). Mary’s “sexual freedom” was released after her death and she was thought of as a ‘prostitute’ and ‘unsexed female.’ Her ideas were soon forgotten (2). Many biographies of Mary in the 19th century were focused on her personal life instead of her ideas alone (4). It took over a century for people to finally look solely on her work instead of her personal life (5). She was no longer looked at as a “scandalous literary figure” (1). Only within the last few decades have her ideas been genuinely excepted (1), scholars looked past the “mishaps” in her life (4). Virginia Woolf was one of the 20th century feminists to except Mary’s work, saying “She is alive and active, she argues and experiments and we hear her voice and trace her influence even now among the living” (6).
Mary’s scandalous life all started when...

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