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Criticism about Women's Position in Society in Vindication of The Rights of Women

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During the Romantic Era nature was used as a model for writers to base their writings as well as their beliefs of off. Nature is described through their poetry as representing the best and properly ordered aspect of things. Also, nature is the representation of sincerity, equality and perfection. In nature everything that is alive has the same and equal opportunities to strive and prosper, it is one equal balance. Nature is full of emotion, this is important because many romantic poets believed that if you can get the reader emotionally connected to the reading it makes it that much more powerful. This is a reason why nature was such a popular topic for poets during this time period. However nature is distinct from social existence. Society as a whole has become separated from our natural side causing us to lose touch with our inner self, as well with our belief that every living thing has a place and a purpose in this world. Two women Romantic writers Mary Wollstonecraft and Felecia Dorothea Hemans take the Romantic idea of equality as the basis for their writings. In her A Vindication of the Rights of Women Mary Wollstonecraft argues that women are seen as no more than objects by man in their society, also she writes that instead of trying to challenge this ideology, women fall right into its grips and play along. Wollstonecraft begs for her readers to strive for personal liberation. On the other hand, Hemans in her writing of India Woman’s Death Song, writes about a Indian mother on the brink of suicide. she implies how society can be influential on a woman’s life in a negative way. Hemans used Wollstonecraft’s writings to base her story, they work in cohesion with one another. They are different but have the same takeaway. That is why, the two writers respond to the social restrictions placed on women’s lives by traditional gender expectations clearly but differently.

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In A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Mary Wollstonecraft defines and makes a criticism about women’s position in society in order to respond to social restrictions. Although she accepts gender differences as natural, she refused to believe the common misconception that society has that women are inferior to men. For example “I am aware of an obvious inference:—from every quarter have I heard exclamations against masculine women; but where are they to be found?” (I.4). In this quote from the first page, Wollstonecraft is addressing the critics who claim if women are granted the same amount of education and privileges as men then women will become to masculine. Wollstonecraft addresses this topic by saying that women will not become more masculine if granted more rights. This surely will give women more opportunities to speak their mind and make an impact on things but if men are as confident as they say they are then men should not be worried by the challenge. “It is acknowledged that they spend many of the first years of their lives in acquiring a smattering of accomplishments; meanwhile strength of body and mind are sacrificed to libertine notions of beauty, to the desire of establishing themselves—the only way women can rise in the world—by marriage.” (I.12). Wollstandcraft is addressing the fact that women are seen for no more than just their beauty. Women are seen as superficial beings, a woman is taught that her most important feature is her natural beauty. From a young age, women are brought up and taught to please a man. Whether this is by staying home and taking care of the house or be sexual pleasures. This idea that women should skip the phase of formal education and solely be taught how to be a house made and husband pleasure is taught to women their whole life by the teachings of man. Whether directly or indirectly women are always educated on what men want them to be. society’s big focus on marriage tends to make women into superficial beings. After all, what can you expect when their only way of getting ahead is to marry a rich guy. Spending all of your time focusing on appearances and trying to look pretty doesn’t make for a well-rounded human with a wide variety of interests.

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Criticism about Women’s Position in Society in Vindication of The Rights of Women. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 30, 2023, from
“Criticism about Women’s Position in Society in Vindication of The Rights of Women.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022,
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Criticism about Women’s Position in Society in Vindication of The Rights of Women [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 27 [cited 2023 Mar 30]. Available from:
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