Radical Women Essay

832 words - 4 pages

On Election Day in 1920, American women exercised their right to vote for the first time. It had taken nearly 100 years for activists and reformists to convince the U.S. that women were just as equal as men (Dunlap). Women, like men, deserved all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship like men did. They used to be seen as a type of property either owned by their father’s or husband’s. Women’s education focused mainly on “ladylike” accomplishments such as sewing and music. Many women around the 1800s like Jane Austen or Mary Wollstonecraft were big on the treatment of women. In fact, both of the women wrote radical stories during their time over the rights of women. Austen wrote “On ...view middle of the document...

“A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” shows that there is a need for a revolution in female manners. Wollstonecraft writes, “It is time to effect a revolution in female manners—time to restore to them their lost dignity—and make them, as a part of the human species, labor by reforming themselves to reform the world.” Mary wants women to shake off the bonds that men have put on them in order to render them beautiful, foolish, gullible, and useless. Wollstonecraft wants women to attain a rational education, develop their reason, perfect their virtue, and embody true modesty that arises from purity of mind and rationality (Cowley).
In “A Vindication,” Wollstonecraft is quite ferocious in her criticism of sensibility. She believes that men feel the need to protect and own the women because certain ladies show weakness and silliness. Mary feels that this silliness included cultivation a weakness and delicacy of body. “When they marry, they act as such children may be expected to act—they dress, they paint, and nickname God’s creatures…” Wollstonecraft was not a fan of the expected woman of society where they played a part of innocence. Through the choices that women make of their character, their minds are rendered pliant and weak and become nearly incapable of exercising reason (Moravec). A women’s mind should not become a soft, underdeveloped mass.
The need for education, a revolution in female manners, and sensibility problems are all the reasons why “A Vindication of...

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