Western Civ C Block
27 May 2016
Mary Wollstonecraft’s Beliefs on Women’s Rights
The investigation shows the importance of Mary Wollstonecraft's argument for women's rights and their role in society. In order to evaluate her writing, the investigation will focus mainly on how she argues for women's rights. This essay will portray Wollstonecraft's beliefs, experiences, and how they tie into the modern world. It will also show ideas from a modern author that ties back to Wollstonecraft's ideas and what the author thought of Wollstonecraft’s ideas. Wollstonecraft's The Vindication of the Rights of Women and Catriona MacKenzie's “Reason and Sensibility: The Ideal of Women's Self-governance in the Writings of Mary Wollstonecraft” are evaluated for their origins, purposes, values, and limitations. This investigation mainly focuses on Wollstonecraft's argument for women's rights and not about the rest of her life. It will not include when she was born, how she grew up, what other works she published, and how she died. Opinions of other philosophers about women's rights and those of Mary Wollstonecraft are also left out.
The origin of The Vindication of the Rights of Women was a primary source written by a philosophe named Mary Wollstonecraft in 1792. The purpose of this document existed to address her beliefs on women's rights. Another purpose was to show everyone, especially men at the time, how women should have the same rights as men in all areas of society as well as an equal education. She wanted people to know that gender should not stop anyone from achieving their goals. Wollstonecraft also believed that women should not simply give into men and play on their beauty to get what they want in life; these tactics would simply render women of little value because they would be giving into men’s image of the “ideal” woman who is submissive to their men. In this way, women make themselves disposable and vulnerable to men’s whims. The value of this document was that people learned that Wollstonecraft fought for women's rights and wanted equal opportunities for all. She stood up to fight for those rights in a time when it was considered socially disruptive. Society thought women were simply delicate, frivolous or workers, and believed that women should not have the right to be educated. However, the limitation of this article is that everything is in Wollstonecraft's view and opinion. It limited readers from knowing what the rest of society thought. There might be other women and men who disagreed with Wollstonecraft’s assertions. Moreover, men's thoughts were also purposely not addressed. Readers only see the side or belief from one perspective, while missing others’ valuable contribution to the opposite side.
The origin of “Reason and Sensibility” is a secondary source, published by author Catriona MacKenzie in 1993 in the journal “Reason and Sensibility”. The purpose of this journal explains the author's thoughts on...