A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is a book that depicts the events of the 19th century, the time of feminism. Merging enlightenment and romantic thoughts about gender and society, Wollstonecraft applies natural law and rights of male to female’s situation with an intensely felt passion. Considering writer’s personal experience, the book entails her tours in France in the period of French Revolution. Wollstonecraft was the 18th century British philosopher, wither and activist of Women’s rights. During her career, she wrote treatise, novels, a travel history and a narration of French Revolution. She is well-known for A Vindication of the Rights of Women, where she asserts that women and girls are not inferior to males but seem to be only due to lack of education.
WOLLSTONECRAFT’S VIEWS ON HUMAN NATURE AND THOSE ATTRIBUTES WHICH ARE DISTINCTIVELY HUMAN
Wollstonecraft believes that all people are fundamentally rational. She believes that fully developed human beings learn to utilize or control their passions. She is convinced that neither class nor sex is pertinent to the first birthright of people as reasonable. Wollstonecraft takes on the liberal model of the self-determining, liberal individual. She does not view females as different from males by nature, attributing the seen disparities to socially constructed gender roles. Wollstonecraft greatly emphasizes reason and asserts that females are ration beings, and like males, must be permitted a parity chance to develop their moral and rational capacities. She seeks to convince women to get the strength of body and mind and intends to persuade females that what has customarily been considered soft feminine virtues are the same with weakness (45).
The reason is a major idea of Wollstonecraft. According to Wollstonecraft reason or rationality forms are the basis of human rights. They give people the capability to grab truth and thus attain knowledge that separate human beings from the world of animals (81). She argues against the presumption that women are not rational creatures but are merely slaves to their own passions. She emphasizes that females should not be excessively swayed by their feelings and should not be restrained by or become slaves of their sexual feeling or body (Wollstonecraft, 40). Wollstonecraft argues that women are systematically demeaned through receiving petty attentions, which makes males think it is manly to pay to the sex when in the real sense, males are derisively supporting their person superiority (42).
HOW WOLLSTONECRAFT DEFINE “VIRTUE” AND “ELEGANCE” AND HOW THEY ARE RELATED
Wollstonecraft defines virtue as a positive trait. It is valued as a basis of good moral being. The notion “elegance” is a phrase that females are subdued into their inferior positions via flattery words like delicate, innocent, beautiful, and feminine. Wollstonecraft views elegance as inferior to virtue. Women are admired for their fair faults of character and venerated as girls or angels other than being intelligent, mature and capable women equal to their male counterparts. Wollstonecraft advocates for gender neutrality and according to her, this arrangement is not by divinity, but it is rather a social arrangement (37). She asserts that God would not have created females with their capability for spiritual salvation and virtuous conduct if it were not aimed to be as significant as elements offered by their counterpart males. Wellstone- craft discusses virtues that will result to an actual civilization and rejects conventional concepts of feminine virtue. She views virtues as human qualities other than sexual traits. She asserts that reason or intellect, and not passion or emotion is the directing force in conduct of humans.
REASONS THAT WOLLSTONECRAFT OFFER TO SUPPORT HER CLAIM THAT EDUCATION IS VALUABLE
Wollstonecraft supports education as the major thing that can enable women to get a feeling of self-respect and self-image. According to Wollstonecraft, women must be rationally educated so as to offer them the chance to contribute to the nation (80). Wollstonecraft argues that females ought to possess an education proportionate considering their place in society. They are fundamental to society acting as companions to their partners (80). Rather than treating females as adornments to society or as properties to be sold in marriage, Wollstonecraft asserts that women are human beings who deserve similar basic rights as males.
Wollstonecraft fights for the right of females to be educated since they are primarily liable for the education of young children. Wollstonecraft asserts that educating females will strengthen the marital relationship. Her argument lies in the concept that a firm marriage is a partnership between a wife and a husband; a social contract between two persons. A woman, therefore, is required to have equal sense and knowledge in order to maintain this partnership. A firm marriage also offers the appropriate education of young children. Wollstonecraft argues “contending for rights of females, my major argument is built upon this simple opinion, that if she isn’t prepared through education to become male’s companion, she will discontinue the advancement of knowledge, for truth should be universal to all, or it will be inefficacious with its effect on common practice.”
Wollstonecraft maintains that if girls are endorsed, from an earlier age, to build up their minds, it will be possible for them to be viewed as rational beings. Considering that fact, women will have careers and get professions just as similar as men. There will not be a reason for their denial of opportunities that are offered to young men in regard to training and education. Wollstonecraft’s intention is to illustrate the restraints of females as the result of scarce education. Wollstonecraft notes “taught from their early years that beauty is the scepter of a woman, the mind shapes itself to the body and wandering around its gild cage, solely seeks to decorate its prison” (83). She means that without encouragement girls get from childhood, they focus their thought on outward accomplishments and beauty, females could accomplish much more. Wollstonecraft goes a step further suggesting a similar form of education for young women as that suggested form for boys. She proposes that boys and girls should be educated jointly. Wollstonecraft (26) argues that schooling must be co-educational, asserting that men and women whose marital relationships are “cement of society” must be “educated after a similar model”.
HOW WOLLSTONECRAFT ARGUE THAT ROMANTIC AND PHYSICAL LOVE GET IN THE WAY OF A WOMAN`S DEVELOPMENT
Romantic and physical love gets in the way of a woman’s development due to sensibility that is attached to a certain set of ethical beliefs. Women are more emotional than men. The emotional excess is connected with the sensibility that makes women emphasize a lot of things easily. She asserts that females who surrender to sensibility are usually blown about by each momentary burst of feeling. Since women are the prey of their own feelings, they are unable to think rationally (89). Wollstonecraft argues “I don’t wish women to have authority over males but over themselves.” Wollstonecraft recognizes that females are sexual beings, and so are men. Therefore, female fidelity and chastity, essential for a firm marriage, need male fidelity and chastity too. Males, as much are females, are needed to put responsibility for sexual pleasure. Control over the size of the family, for example, serves people within the family, fortifies the family, and serves the public interest via raising superior citizens. Wollstonecraft views the absorption of women in purely feeling and sensing activities like beauty and fashion as degenerating their reason, making them less capable of maintaining their part in marriage affiliation and lessening their efficiency as children’s educators and, therefore, making them less compliant citizens.
HOW WOLLSTONECRAFT COMPARES ARGUMENTS MADE AGAINST EDUCATING THE POOR TO ARGUMENTS AGAINST EDUCATING WOMEN
Wollstonecraft attacks educational philosophers like Rousseau who asserts that educating the poor is similar to educating the poor because both do not require rational education. Wollstonecraft state “my major argument is built upon this simple principle, that if women aren’t prepared through education to become male companion, she will stop the progress of virtue and knowledge; for trust should be common to all”. She argues that society will disintegrate without educated females, especially because mothers are the basic educators of young children (18).
Wollstonecraft claims that the education and present roles of education of women cause them more damage than bring positive results. She advocates for reform that will offer women deeper and broader learning (85). She establishes a precise educational plan and argues that every child must study at school. She supports the idea of home education, in order to instigate domestic pleasures and affection for home. Wollstonecraft also affirms that schooling must be co-educational and that women and men, whose marital relationships are the foundation of the community, must be taught after the similar model (Wollstonecraft, 91).
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is an influential book that advocates for equality for girls and women in both civil and educational opportunities. The author views education as the major thing that can enable women to contribute to society and live with benefits. The book also calls for gender neutrality with women, who are intelligent, mature, and capable human beings as their male counterparts. Wollstonecraft is convinced that a woman can be equal to a man through education, which identifies her responsibility to educate her children and to be an equal partner with her husband. Education will also identify that females, like males, are creatures of both feeling and thought; creatures of reason.