How do the ideas espoused by Mary Wollstonecraft and other feminist writers of her time relate to women today?
In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft presented and developed ideas that were groundbreaking and new for her time. She believed the only way women could view their social roles objectively and differently was through education. Her ideas were “unambiguously feminist, although by modern standards, they may seem outdated” (“History of feminism”). But I believe her ideas and theories have relevance for women today inasmuch as today's woman is not as well educated as she might be and therefore open to being taken advantage of, and that many of the same problems of the past still plague us today. In
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What Wollstonecraft is saying here is although women were allowed to go to school (though not schools with men) and were taught reading, writing and arithmetic, they were still not taught to think, because rational deductive logical thinking was thought to be beyond what they could comprehend due to their inferior, female minds. This was further illustrated by the laws of the time, in which women were forced to be financially dependent on a man and almost completely subjugated to his will. On the subject of women's supposed mental inferiority to men, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony said, It would be ridiculous to talk of male and female atmospheres, male and female springs or rains, male and female sunshine . . . . how much more ridiculous is it in relation to mind, to soul, to thought, where there is as undeniably no such thing as sex, to talk of male and female education and of male and female schools.” (About.com -Women's History) Jane Austen echoed the beliefs of Wollstonecraft when she said, “Give a girl an education, and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well,