Mary Wollstonecraft Biography: Main Topics

Categories: Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft was born in London, England in April 1759. She was an English writer, philosopher and can now be seen as a feminist who truly believed that women of that era should be treated respect and equal to men. A Vindication of the rights of women is one of Mary Wollstonecraft’s major works of feminism, which was published in 1792 when she was 33 years of age, she is considered to be Britain’s first Feminist. Wollstonecraft makes numerous of points throughout her work towards sex, women and society and how women should be treated differently and perused theses changes in such a way that it led to parliamentary reform.

Wollstonecraft makes many valuable points within ‘A Vindication of the rights of women’, this essay aims to explore some of those main issues and explore them. Wollstonecraft wrote about how the education system used to teach young women on how to be thoughtless and inadequate. Wollstonecraft suggested that instead of the education system training these young women to be thoughtless and inadequate, that they should be proceed to train these young women the same way the young men were being taught.

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If the education system was to open up to young women they would be given a different opportunity, the young women of that time would not just make excellent wife’s and mothers to their young but also giving them the freedom to work while caring for their family.

Wollstonecraft did not just suggest that this would change all women around the world but that it would lead women into progressing themselves.

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This change would have o happen through political change as she was aiming her point towards the national education system, from this change occurring through the political and educational system it would benefit society around the world (Burke, 2004). “The most perfect education, in my opinion, is such an exercise of the understanding as is best calculated to strengthen the body and form the heart. Or, in other words … to call any being virtuous whose virtues do not result from the exercise of its own reason.

This was Rousseau’s opinion respecting men: I extend it to women (Wollstonecraft, 1792).” In Wollstonecraft’s era, women were seen as objects of sexual beings. Wollstonecraft notes that in women’s eye men are seen as sexual beings, as the act requires two beings. Wollstonecraft main aim in terms of sexuality and women was to allow women to put thought and feelings into the act of love. Putting a duty of arousing the male spouse in front of pleasure was a known in that time, Wollstonecraft wanted women to enjoy the act as much as the men have, by allowing women to feel important and wanted from doing so.

Wollstonecraft discovered that a women’s interest feel into the hands of beauty and fashion, by allowing a woman to feel and look beautiful will automatically boost herself confidence, by not allowing women to feel and look this way it has reduced their abilities of teaching children and not being a successful role model. A main belief in Wollstonecraft’s time, was that men and women has separate spheres and unfortunately women’s spheres belonged in the home. Wollstonecraft accepted this fact that women’s spheres belonged in the home but she didn’t separate the ‘home’ from every day public life.

She viewed the home as a ‘foundation for social life and public life’ (Lewis, 2017). Wollstonecraft contested that domestic and social life should be separate, she stated that both of them belong together as once there is an equal balance of each present in a woman’s life that it would benefit oneself and her family, and that both men and women have roles to play in social and domestic situations (Lewis, 2017). Marriage at this time was the only future women had, this way was their only view of the public world “the only way women can rise in the world is by marriage (Wollstonecraft, 1792).” Marriage was seen as a sense of punishment and it locked them away in a private world, as the husband was the known public face of the family.

Wollstonecraft does not contest women being in a loving, caring relationship and she is not saying that women shouldn’t get married, but explains her point as women should not be a personal slave to their husband the way society expects them to be. “Marriage is not the grand feature in their lives (Abbey, 1999)”, for men marriage is not a key focus in their lives as they are free to roam in the public eye, work, are entitled to a main stream education to better themselves in the world, as men were highly respected in this era.

Wollstonecraft wants the pair to have a ‘higher friendship, for both parties in the relationship to be equal, caring for one another, to exchange their independence for interdependence, to be united and for both to respect each other and their morals’ (Abbey, 1999). Wollstonecraft insisted change between both genders, if this change was to occur rapidly Wollstonecraft believed that it would have created women who seemed to be pure, noble, generous etc., and it would also have created men who would treat women with respect, compassion and reason with their spouse, men would see women in a different light instead of some house slave or their own personal desire. By this procedure occurring ones marriage would be truly based on affection of both genders and respect for one another. Wollstonecraft suggested that women should channel their love and affection towards a person who they find to be their long life partner, someone who has the same passion and beliefs

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Mary Wollstonecraft Biography: Main Topics. (2024, Feb 03). Retrieved from

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