Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft

For Women's Tales, I present a bit of women's herstory...

A Vindication of the Rights of Women
by Mary Wollstonecraft

First Published: 1792
Genre: Feminism, Psychology
Rating: tba

Description from the amazon:
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) published A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792. It was written in reaction to Rousseau's Emile (1762), which argued that the purpose of a girl's education was to make her useful to a man.

Wollstonecraft offered a defence of woman's ability to reason, given appropriate education. She argued that the limited education given to women made them docile and empty-headed playthings whose supposed fragility and coquetry were constructions that damaged not only the individual but society as a whole.

Her radical prescription was for girls to be educated alongside boys and to the same standard, so that they were not left dependent on marriage for financial security.

The independence of mind displayed in this polemic has ensured its place as a foundational work in the canon of feminist thought.

My two-bits:
In-a-word(s): independence

I am currently reading this, but wanted to introduce this book to those of you who do not know about this classic piece of feminist herstory.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Rights And Involved Duties Of Mankind Considered
Chapter 2: The Prevailing Opinion Of A Sexual Character Discussed
Chapter 3: The Same Subject Continued
Chapter 4: Observations On The State Of Degradation To Which Woman Is Reduced By Various Causes
Chapter 5: Animadversion On Some Of The Writers Who Have Rendered Women Objects Of Pity, Bordering On Contempt
Chapter 6: The Effect Which An Early Association Of Ideas Has Upon The Character
Chapter 7: Modesty. Comprehensively Considered And Not As A Sexual Virtue
Chapter 8: Morality Undermined By Sexual Notions Of The Importance Of A Good Reputation
Chapter 9: Of The Pernicious Effects Which Arise From The Unnatural Distinctions Established In Society
Chapter 10: Parental Affection
Chapter 11: Duty To Parents
Chapter 12: On National Education
Chapter 13: Some Instances Of The Folly Which The Ignorance Of Women Generates; With Concluding Reflections On The Moral Improvement That A Revolution In Female Manners May Naturally Be Expected To Produce

Interesting line-up eh? I'm wondering what Animadversion is from chapter 5.

I shall update this post with rating a review bit soon.


* Thanks to The Project Gutenberg free online etext for the availability of this read

* part of A Year of Feminist Classics reading challenge

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