Education is an important factor in a persons life now in the 21st century as well as it was in the past. The only differences between now and the past were the people that were able to receive a full education. In the present century, every one is entitled to the right to peruse an education. But in the past, men had the choice to receive a full education in a university, while women had the choices ranging from what dress to wear to what to cook for dinner. Women were entitled little to no education.
This sparked ideas into many people about the immorality of these rules. Because of this, equal education was key to write about to many authors. Laura Cereta’s Defense of the Liberal Instruction of Women, Daniel Defoe’s the Education of Women, and Mary Wollstonecraft’s a Vindication of the Rights of Women, revolve around the idea that women should share equal rights with men as it relates to education. Though the works of these authors circulate around the same idea, each have distinctly different techniques to emphasize the importance of equal education.
Though all three authors expressed the importance of women having an education equal to men, Laura Cereta’s piece is the one that stands out the most. In her work, she expresses the idea that not only the men in her society were to blame but women as well. Cereta accused women of being to “concerned with parting their hair correctly, adorning themselves with lovely dresses, or decorating their fingers with pearls and other gems. Others delight in mouthing carefully composed phrases, indulging in dancing, or managing spoiled puppies.
Still others wish to gaze at lavish banquet tables, to rest in sleep, or, standing at mirrors, to smear their lovely faces. ” Cereta blames women because, as this quote explains women’s concerns, the women seem to accept that they do not have equal rights, not only that, but they do not have the right nor the opportunity to receive an education. The women have grown accustom to being more concerned about their looks, and making themselves and other things more beautiful than getting and education. Irritated, accusatory, and flippant are jus a few words that describe Cereta’s tone in her work.
Flippant is an excellent characterization of her tone through out the letter. It is a perfect description because when she is talking about what women are more interested in doing, (i. e. combing their hair, dressing up nice, putting on makeup, etc), the author gives the reader the feeling that she is not happy with this since she is arguing women should receive a proper and equal education to that of men but some women might prove incapable of doing so since their only worries are making themselves look attractive.
“Their youth is spent to teach them [women] to stitch and sew or make baubles. They are taught to read, indeed, and perhaps to write their names, or so; and that is the height of a woman’s education. ” On the contrary to what Cereta has stated, Daniel Defoe expresses how women are taught to do housework and essentially nothing else. Though this is true, Defoe believes that if women were to be taught beyond housework, they “might have more wit”. Defoe also talks about the possible reasons that they had to not educate women.
He states that if men were to give women the same education as men were given, women would quite possibly be smarter as men as “the capacities of women are supposed to be greater, and their senses quicker than those of men” Because of this, Defoe states that men fear the women would battle for superiority. Defoe’s views connect with that of Cereta and Wollstonecraft, though with ingenuity, he still restricted women’s education. He limited women’s education to learning music, dancing, learning the French and Italian languages, teaching them to hold an “intellectual” conversation, and learning history.
This is obviously no the only thing that men were educated in. Compared to the works of the other women, Defoe’s tone seemed more benevolent as he constantly complimented women in his work. This though, might have been to “sweeten” how he restricts how women education should be. “Still the regal homage which they receive is so intoxicating, that till the manners of the illegitimate power, which they obtain, by degrading themselves is a curse, they must return to nature and equality?
” Mary Wollstonecraft, like the other two authors, argues that women should equal educational rights as well. The difference between Wollstonecraft and the other authors, Cereta and Defoe, is that Wollstonecraft does not argue how women have brought this problem upon themselves, though she does hint this, nor does she believe that women should be taught n be more intellectual than men, Wollstonecraft believe that women and men should just be equal in every way. Wollstonecraft also argues how men’s pride is also to blame for women not receiving proper education.
Though she believes that women should be equal to men, Wollstonecraft still gives the possibility that “women are by nature inferior to men” but that at least their qualities have got to be the same. Sewing, stitching, sweeping, washing, cleaning; these are some of the activities that a women learns during their childhood in order to become a good housewife. Mathematics, science, history; these are some of the things that men are taught through out their lives. It is clear that women did not receive education that men received.
Because of this Laura Cereta, Mary Wollstonecraft and Daniel Defoe, are just a few authors who would stress over the fact that women should have the right to and education that is equal to the rights of men in their works Defense of the Liberal Instruction of Women (Laura Cereta), the Education of Women (Daniel Defoe), and a Vindication of the Rights of Women (Mary Wollstonecraft). Works Cited Cereta, Laura. Defense of the Liberal Instruction of Women. Defoe, Daniel. The Education of Women. Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of the Rights of Women.
Subject: History of education,
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 3 October 2016
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