In "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman," Mary Wollstonecraft argues that women should receive education because of what reason? (see choices below)
In "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman," Mary Wollstonecraft argues that women should receive education because of what?
My only choices are:
a) raising a family requires good judgment or b) they require some means of supporting themselves independent of men or c) they are equal to men in physical strength, intellect or d) Getting an education will make them more masculine.
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Based on the information in the introduction of Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Women, I would choose answer "D"... "Getting an education will make them more masculine." Wollstonecraft is unhappy with the way women are treated, and does ultimately suggest that being more like men would make women more highly valued.
Wollstonecraft states that women are treated much like animals, even lower than a human being. She insists that they are cherished for their youth and beauty and then found worthless when they are no longer young and attractive. They are praised for a while, but are tossed aside later when they still have much to offer. Wollstonecraft explains with a simile...that women...
...like the flowers which are planted in too rich a soil, strength and usefulness are sacrificed to beauty; and the flaunting leaves...fade, disregarded on the stalk, long before the season when they ought to have arrived at maturity.—One cause of this barren blooming I attribute to a false system of education, gathered from the books ...by men who, considering females rather as women than human creatures, have been more anxious to make them alluring mistresses than wives; and...that the civilized women of the present century, with a few exceptions, are only anxious to inspire love, when they ought to cherish a nobler ambition, and by their abilities and virtues exact respect.
Wollstonecraft finds that the system of education available to women furthers the sense among men that a wife should be alluring like a mistress—nothing more (except perhaps a good mother). She insists that there are only a few exceptional women who attempt to rise beyond this treatment to a place where they can command respect.
Wollstonecraft, however, also suggests that perhaps women need to be more masculine in order for society to take them seriously and to value them as men value other men. First she notes...
...from every quarter have I heard exclamations against masculine women...
She notes that if men are concerned that women want to join in with "hunting, shooting and gaming," she cannot disagree with them. However, if it means that women should not try to have the "talents and virtues" that raise them from being like animals to being considered true human beings, that others who are philosophical (like herself) should all wish women were more masculine for the benefits that would finally be afforded them:
...if it be against the imitation of manly virtues, or...the attainment of those talents and virtues, the exercise of which ennobles the human character, and which raises females in the scale of animal being, when they are comprehensively termed mankind;—all those who view them with a philosophical eye must...wish with me, that they may every day grow more and more masculine.
Wollstonecraft does not suggest that women dress like men or pursue the same pastimes, but that they emulate the characteristics that men find in each other that cause them to admire each other and value each other as worthwhile beings.
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