A short response to Mary Wollstonecraft's "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman"

Essay by sweetld215A+, November 2004

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There were several passages that truly caught my attention. First, on page 260, "My own sex, I hope, will excuse me, if I treat them like rational creatures, instead of flattering their fascinating graces, and viewing them as if they were in a state of perpetual childhood, unable to stand alone." This is a bold statement, in my opinion. Wollstonecraft 'dares' to speak to women as though they have a mind, as though they are capable of being spoken to. I find it interesting that she chooses the words 'rational creatures' to describe women. The term has a connotation of being asexual, and it gives a notion of an equality between men and women as both being creatures.

Also, Wollstonecraft appears to be fighting for an equal education for both men and women alike. She repeats the idea of education throughout the essay. "By individual education...for the sense of the word is not precisely defined, such an attention to a child as will slowly sharpen the senses..."

(p. 263). It appears that Wollstonecraft is fighting the idea of women as frail, artificial 'creatures' who are meant to be merely appealing to men. On page 265, Wollstonecraft continues on with, "Probably the prevailing opinion, that woman was created for man, may have taken its rise from Moses's poetical story..." She continues on, being pretty rough on men the entire time, "...it proves that man, from the remotest antiquity, found it convenient to exert his strength to subjugate his companion... because the whole creation was only created for his convenience or pleasure." I find that she is a bit too rough on men in a few instances like the quote above. Wollstonecraft, in my opinion, is truly tearing apart the male species, and placing most, if not all, the blame on...