FE101 - Wollstonecraft Summary

FE101 - Wollstonecraft Summary - opportunities within...

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David Dreisin Freedom and Authority February 21, 2007 Tonja Olive Summary of Wollstonecraft’s Arguments In Chapter III of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman , Mary Wollstonecraft makes many arguments as to why women should be treated equal to men, especially on an intellectual level. She begins by arguing that the only attribute which legitimately distinguishes men from women is physical stature, which she believes in inconsequential when gauging one’s merit. Even this, she says, is not a defining difference, as strength of mind, which women are able to posses if given the opportunity, generally coincides with strength of body. She belies that the role women have fallen into also contributes to the discrepancy in physical build. She argues that these preconceived notions are engrained in the minds of children before nature is even able to dictate any natural superiority between genders, and that this contributes to women’s inability to achieve equal
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Unformatted text preview: opportunities within society. She cites an instance in which a woman neglected her duties in life and laid complacent on her sofa, content with her role. Such a woman, Wollstonecraft believes, is just as irrational as certain Roman emperors, depraved by her “power” by fulfilling such a role. She believes that the prevailing attitude within society is that women should be subjected in such a manner simply because it has always been so, and for the most part, women are deluded by this notion. However, she believes that even if it were possible to prove woman’s inferiority to man, fulfilling woman’s current role would only make them even weaker than nature had intended. The way to change this is to contest man’s “divine rights” by showing the intellectual equality of the two genders....
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