MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT

Born in 1759 Wollstonecraft found herself in the midst of a great social change, with rational thinking, scientific values and morality at the heart of the era. Wollstonecraft stood up and placed herself at the foreground of an intellectual paradigm shift as she became an integral part of the enlightenment movement. Wollstonecraft was an advocate of egalitarianism and this largely grew from the time period that she was born into. This was a time in which women were seen as inferior to men, in which they didn’t receive the same educational standard, in which beauty was the key ideal for a women to have a prosperous life, and man was education, wealth, and power. The social implications of this inferiority lead to a great inequality between men and women. Men were professors, CEO’s, men held all high positions throughout society and within the individual family house. Women were, from a young age, taught to be an ideal for men, to please, to follow and to submit. Critical thinking was one sided, and Wollstonecraft opposed this ferociously through her philosophical writings and ideologies. Mary Wollstonecraft felt a great injustice towards the slavery that occurred across the world as well the inequality in the monarchical system in France, both which were prominent happenings in the years that she lived. This injustice, the oppression and the depravity fuelled Wollstonecraft as it simultaneously inspired her to imagine a developed sense of equality for the human being. The despotism that Wollstonecraft saw in the world that she lived in was a keystone in the bridge of reflection. Wollstonecraft understood the parallels between the slave mentality and the social domination that men held over women throughout society, she built her entire philosophies from opposing it. Wollstonecraft understood that the oppressive mentality of one human being more important than another was what propagated the sheer amount of injustice and inequality across the world. Wollstonecraft compared the male role to the idea of a tyrant, in which man was a cruel and all encompassing ruler and women forced into submission. Wollstonecraft believed that a lack of education kept this unbalance in place, the different social associations and roles that were laid out for men and women to fall into were not challenged as people did not have a developed enough mindset, and this should be built up with education and self knowledge.

 

Wollstonecraft developed her rational mind through the experiences that she gained throughout her life and the direct influences from the exterior world. She believed that the ideals of society should always be questioned in order to continue a sense of equal progression for the future, and to make that future ideal a reality in the present; social conventions must be questioned. Due to great thinkers like Wollstonecraft we find ourselves today closer to the side of a Golden age society as we have a higher regard for equality in our general society. As we strive towards a more content era of mankind we must remember the integral steps we had to climb to achieve such glory. When we understand what Wollstonecraft had to stand up against, we learn to appreciate how far we have come as a group of individuals. Wollstonecraft wasn’t just a thinker, she was full of action and her deeds will echo across eternity.

 

Mary Wollstonecraft represents moral responsibility. She is a figure of progression and change. She reminds us today that life must be continually improved upon, and this improvement is only made possible when individuals accept the duty to work towards a greater sense of moral freedom and equality. Wollstonecraft represents the possibility to continually rebuild the structures that hold our society and to continually improve our morals, focus in on our duties and stand up for ourselves. Wollstonecraft showed us that when an individual is able to get an education, they have a duty and equal possibility to improve themselves so that they can achieve anything. Wollstonecraft believed that one party should not dominate another, but instead there should be shared rights for all.