Marry Wollstonecraft, before her time

When the ideas of equality in Western Europe, specifically in France and England, are discussed, one thinks of the disparity of wealth between the aristocrats, the bourgeoisie, and the peasant classes. However the subject of equality comes specifically out of a male dominated society.

In France during the 1790’s Women were treated as inferior to men in all respects, both physically and mentally. They were not represented equally politically, and had practically no voice in the changes that were coming to France at that time.

During the Same period the wife of an aristocrat in England Marry Wollstonecraft, was able to take advantage of the education that her status provided, and wrote about the plight of women during the period. Wollstonecraft commented on both the sexism and the belief of most men during the period that women were simply social objects. Wollstonecraft’s writings were ahead of her time. She could be considered to be one of the first Western European women’s rights activists. In her writing she specifically describes how men would never ask the opinion of women on any subjects having to do with social or political issues. She also describes how many men treated women like objects, or as a delicate thing that may break if it was handled poorly. Wollstonecraft’s argument is that women should be included in the workings of western society. She cited the fact that women are never consulted, and therefore are not able to influence their surroundings, and therefore are at the mercy of men.

Wollstonecraft’s writings were heavily influenced by the events of the French Revolution, and the fact that women, especially peasant women bore the brunt of many atrocities that the revolution produced. Wollstonecraft was ahead of her time in the way that she argued for increased representation of women in the political realms of her time.

One thought on “Marry Wollstonecraft, before her time

  1. I believe that this post does a nice job emphasizing how revolutionary and ahead of her time the notion that men and women had equal mental faculties really was. After reading this work the novel “The Great Gatsby” comes to mind, particularly the scene where Daisy says that it is better to be a “beautiful little fool.” She made that comment in reference to how being an ignorant women is sometimes the best route to take because it prevents one from being disappointed by the sad reality of their situation in a world so dominated by men. Obviously Wollestonecraft does not agree with Daisy’s stance and instead chose to be vocal in expressing her discontent. Another key difference to take into consideration is that “The Great Gatsby” takes place in the 1920s, well over 100 years after Wollstonecraft published her work. Women were still being highly objectified in society many years afterwards, but Wollstonecraft was integral in getting the wheels of social change moving in the proper direction.

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