Mary Wollstonecraft is considered one of the revolutionary thinkers in the world. As a matter of fact, she has been known as the ‘first feminist’ or ‘mother of women’s liberation.’ Her book-length exposition on ladies’ rights, and particularly on ladies’ education, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, is an exemplary masterpiece of feminist ideas, and a must-read for any individual who needs to comprehend the historical backdrop of feminism. Wollstonecraft’s life and her work have been deciphered in various ways, contingent upon the disposition of the author towards women’s equality. In this paper, I will discuss the revolutionary in terms of her impact on our current lived experience.
To begin with, during Mary’s time, education was largely a privilege for boys whereas girls weren’t being educated. One of her obvious impact in the present society is that both males and females are given an equal opportunity in education and are taught together. Wollstonecraft proposed her extreme idea of educating young ladies together with young men and that young ladies ought to be taught anatomy and medicine to make them level-headed attendants of their babies, guardians and spouses. “If boys and girls were permitted to pursue the same studies together, they might early learn the graceful decencies that produce modesty…” (Wollstonecraft 96).
In addition to equal opportunities in education, the revolutionary touched on the woman’s reputation. Back then during her time, a lot of actions such as showing petticoats were considered inappropriate for the woman and whoever did such was looked upon with contempt. She defended women’s decisions by saying that the “measuring of shadows produced a false calculation, because their length depends so much on the height of the sun” (Wollstonecraft 80). She adopted a virtous position on notorieties by saying that not all might be the worst-case scenario and judging people is not always right. Our current living experience is different in that today’s women in America can even be almost naked and they are cheered upon instead of being held in contempt. In fact, some musicians these days perform semi-naked in stadiums with millions of viewers without anyone considering that as inappropriate.
Another impact of Wollstonecraft on today’s society is the disappearance of double standards when it comes to sexual encounters. During her time, men were expected to have a busy sex life while the women would face harsh punishments if it was found out that they are living their sex life freely. She wrote that, “the reputation of chastity is prized by women, it is despised by men: and the two extremes are equally destructive to morality” (Wollstonecraft 83). In our current society, women are freely living their sex life just as men used to without facing any harsh punishments that were present in the past. There aren’t any double standards as both men and women are treated equal.
Finally, upholding women’s suffrage is also Mary Wollstonecraft’s impact on the present. She wrote that “I really think that women ought to have representatives, instead of being arbitrarily governed without having any direct share allowed them in the deliberations of government.” (Wollstonecraft 87). In today’s society, women are allowed to vote in every election and can even stand up to be elected alongside their male counterparts. Women hold various political positions of power.
In conclusion, Mary Wollstonecraft was a revolutionary who had a tremendous impact in our present living experience by championing feminism. Our current living experience is different because of this philosopher since there are equal education opportunities for both boys and girls; less judging on the women’s reputation; disappearance of double standards when it comes to sexual encounters and women’s suffrage.
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