The Power of Education
Mary Wollstonecraft believed that there was more women could do to improve the way they were viewed by society. She found it unfair how men were able to boss women around when the women were not allowed to talk back. The work that she produced improved immensely the roles of women. The roles of women in the 18th century were very limited, as women had no voice. Her book, “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” struck a revolution in gender roles. Wollstonecraft was able to inspire not just the women of her time, but women forever. In her book, “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” Wollstonecraft expressed that it is not fair how women are always being judged by men, plus she questions why men have the power to decide what is right, wrong and what their roles are in society. She quotes, “Who made man the exclusive judge if woman partakes with him the gift of reason?” Wollstonecraft believed that, like men, women had the right to express what made them happy and to conquer happiness without the control of a man. She also proved that knowledge was innate, so if man and women were made equal, with the same knowledge, then why can’t they be treated the same and given equal opportunities? If a man had the complete power to decide what he wanted in order to achieve the ideal life, why couldn’t a woman do the same? At that time, she thought if women have such a great potential to contribute to society then, why weren’t they given the proper chance?
Wollstonecraft believed that the ignorance of people was the cause of why they continued to dwell on male dominance and refused to make a change. “Faithless husbands will make faithless wives; such ignorant beings...” Since men were very much closed minded about their perception on what women could truly do, there was no way that women could justify the men to demonstrate their capabilities. In order to become successful at something, one must have faith that it can be done. Without faith from their husbands, women felt that there was nothing they could do; they had no support and no confidence. Since there was no encouragement on becoming more than a wife and mother, it was very much difficult for a woman to make a historical impact on society. If there was possibly for a strong woman to stand up for what she believed during this time than maybe it would have been an encouragement for others to follow and be the role model of the era. Wollstonecraft counteracts the notion of how men thought that women were viewed as weak humans, without barely an education and no potential.
Wollstonecraft’s quote of strength very much defines the biggest concern of a husband during the 18th century, “Strengthen the female mind by enlarging it, and there will be an end to blind obedience..” The role of a woman was to look pretty, be a wife and take care of her family and was like a slave to her husband, but there were also those women who got away with being the mistress. If females had any sort of power they would have definitely never stood next to their husband after and infidelity. The attitude that women represented themselves with could have potentially been another reason why they were not given the right to have rights. In order to get what one wants, one must express just how much they want it and prove themselves worthy. Women were proud of their sensibility, they had feelings, were sweet and did as they were told. “I once knew a weak woman of fashion, who was more than commonly proud of her delicacy and sensibility... I have seen this weak sophisticated being neglect all duties of life...” A person with the quality of being sensible defined the ideal woman. Asking to have rights was almost like competing with the man of the household as if the woman was superior. Receiving an education or receiving any kind of freedom was believed to change a woman’s temperament. This could have in fact been a true statement but it would have also helped society develop different traits that could have made it successful a bit faster. Just because women received an education and had the knowledge to make a difference in society did not mean that things were going to change in a negative manner. Mary Wollstonecraft had the idea that women could do everything that men could do, they could make a positive impact on society without being or believing that they were superior to anyone. Nowadays, women have gained the right to vote, have property rights, equal education and the right to enter the workforce. During the 18th century it must have been hard to think that women could work, but now humanity realizes that everything can be done with a balance. With an education not only men, but women have appreciated that they can be free people. When men relied on women to take care of them and be their slave was not the proper way to live a successful life and no one should confine themselves to live that ineffective life.
Proving themselves has not been an easy task, but we know that everything can be done, that women can offer society something, and that all the rights have been earned. Control was the biggest issue that Wollstonecraft expressed was the biggest problem to why society could not move forward. Without having power over people there is a sense of chaos and loss, having ignorant women meant that men could get away with their actions. Having control of what their wives did make men feel superior, I would not say that what they believed was done with bad intentions, it had to do with the way that they were raised. An open mind for new ideas and ways of living was not something that men had.