A Vindication of the Rights of Woman - Book Report

Essay by RyankirklandHigh School, 12th gradeA, April 2004

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When I hear the word feminism, I automatically think of theories that want to place woman in a superior position to man. This is what most people think. When I was reading A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, I questioned if Mary Wollstonecraft was truly a feminist. So I looked up the definition of feminism and discovered that it is not an issue of one sex being superior. It is an issue of equality. In light of the definition, Wollstonecraft is the mother of the feminist movement.

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is a call to society to educate women, especially young women. Wollstonecraft believes that without education, a woman is doomed to live a life in true subordination to men. She proposes that society should perform an experiment. Educate women and see what happens. If women fail, then we will know for sure that they are inferior to men.

If they succeed, then Wollstonecraft has proven her point. But women should hot be "kept in ignorance" unless there is good reason for it.

Wollstonecraft proposes a change in the educational system. Boys and girls should be schooled together so that they may both learn to be companions to those of the opposite sex. If schooled separately girls will tend to pick up the bad habits and vices of the other girls. The same is true of boys. Separate education would only then make the situation worse. Wollstonecraft proposes a public school as the private schools tend to be trapped in a narrow vacuum of religion..."Religion, pure source of comfort in this vale of tears! How has thy clear

stream been muddied by the dabblers, who have presumptuously endeavored to confine in one narrow channel, the living waters that ever flow towards God - the sublime...