Monday Musings

This month, I’m reading Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women.

Despite being written 220 years ago, the sentiments expressed still echo the plight of women and how men treat them. I’m saddened that we have not come so far in the fight for equality. Here are a couple of passages that have had me thinking:

Men, in general, seem to employ their reason to justify prejudices, which they have imbibed, they can scarcely trace how, rather than root them out.(33)

Milton describes our first frail mother; though when he tell us that women are formed for softness and grace, I cannot comprehend his meaning, unless, in true Mahometan strain, he meant to deprive us of souls, and insinuate that we are beings only designed by sweet attractive grace, and docile blind obedience, to gratify the senses of man when he can no longer soar on the wing of contemplation. How grossly do they insult us who thus advise us only to render ourselves gentle, domestic brutes!(44-45)

 

Question: What are your thoughts? 

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2 Comments

Filed under Feminism, Women's Rights

  • http://profiles.google.com/roberta.wedge Roberta Wedge

    I too wish that her second Vindication were more widely read. I’ve got a lot of resources on the book, and her life, on my blog A Vindication of the Rights of Mary. You quote, but don’t pick up on, an additional point: her slur on Islam, which reflects the general ignorance on the subject then, not any particular vindictiveness.  I would be fascinated to know what modern Muslim women, particularly Islamic feminists, make of Mary’s views on modesty, let alone the unity of the divine.  And I’d love to hear what she’d say to devout forward-thinking equality-seeking Muslims.   

    • http://sarahaskins.com Sarah Askins

      Sadly, when it comes to Islam, she was a product of her times. I would certainly love to hear other non-Western, non-Christian viewpoints on her work as well. Thanks for such an insightful comment.