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Wollstonecrafts Feminism - Thesis Example

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Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792. She was driven by her philanthropist motives of trying to fight for feminism for womankind while laying aside any other ulterior motives like selfishness on her own part. (Wollstonecraft 11)…
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Wollstonecrafts Feminism
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Download file to see previous pages She argues that since woman is the other half of mankind, she should be accorded her basic rights like what the man has. She questions the happiness of the woman when she is under patriarchal subjugation. (Wollstonecraft 13). However, there are problems implementing a fixed doctrine of women's rights. These rights vary with different cultures. A universal doctrine of rights cannot apply when the applicants live under different social conditions and sustain their cultural views. For example, the Western and Eastern societies nurture differing specific cultural and social values. The political leaders defend their right to adapt human rights as in accordance to their country's specifications and refuse to implement a universal set of human rights. Thus, there are two camps of thought with the Universalist and relativist. The next question is how trustworthy is the male dominated hierarchy to implement the rights of women when the male sex are viewed as prejudiced law makers by virtue of their gender. In the Third World, the forced attempt at drawing up the constituency of human rights using Western principles of universality is met with criticism. Instead of helping, these acts are viewed as colonialism. The superimposition of Western cultural and social values backfires. (Schech & Haggis 172).
Wollstonecraft says that women should be educated to become fit companions for men and good mothers. She says that everything stems from the mother;
'If children are to be educated to understand the true principle of patriotism, their mother must be a patriot; and the love of mankind, from which an orderly train of virtues spring, can only be produced by considering the moral and civil interest of mankind; but the education and situation of woman, at present, shuts her out from such investigations.' (Wollstonecraft 12).
It is foreseeable that each successive generation depends upon the mother and she should receive sufficient education as a woman to carry out her duties as a mother befittingly.
On cultural relativism, Wollstonecraft mentioned that French women have changed in spite of the positive input of education. The women have been conditioned to expose their sexuality and scorn the moral value of modesty. They have adopted the attitude of flouting their sexuality and deriding other women who do not share their value as being prudes. The French women are subject to social conditioning and have assimilated the superimposed values as their own. These French women are being 'educated' to turn against themselves without their realizing it. They do not realize what is happening to them because they have no basic foundations of education and thus are unable to discern what is moral or immoral. (Wollstonecraft 12). Wollstonecraft used this example to warn against the impending social risk of English women suffering the same fate as their French counterparts. Taylor says that; 'In an interesting side-swipe at enlightened ethical relativism, in 1795 Wollstonecraft condemned those 'semi-philosophers' who, using examples from 'nations just emerging from barbarism', had attempted to show 'that the vices of one ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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