Essay on Mary Wollstonecraft Human Nature

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 Mary Wollstonecraft saw, “reason (as) a distinctly human trait and that the degradation of women is due primarily to the suppression of their rationality and an overemphasis on their feelings and emotions.” She stressed the higher values of women rather than the pleasure-centered view so many had of her sex in the European patriarchal society. She addressed women, “My sex, I hope, will excuse me if I treat them like rational creatures…” believing the kernels of reason were already embedded in their souls and that the lack, in most instances, of proper education did not give women the chance to grow that capacity through the examination of great thinkers. She exclaimed, “Reason is… discerning truth” and believed reason’s culture in the mind better prepared a woman for “the regulation of the family”, her children’s education, and personal strength.

Ms. Wollstonecraft saw the evils of preferring “graces” in women over heroic virtues and the development of their “charms in the eye of the voluptuary” as dangerous to their moral development. She saw men as entirely complicit as their compliments affections and even gentlemanly manners created a focus in women toward pleasing men rather than pleasing a woman’s mind. She believed this was deleterious to society as a whole as it captured in them the belief women were created “merely to be the solace of man…” In other words, a woman’s “strength and usefulness are sacrificed to beauty.”

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With this in mind, 18th-century feminine mystiques had devolved into a woman unequal to men in both the eyes of the law and societal worth. She was easily deemed a possession and her rights reflected this. Perhaps this was even more evident in the aristocracy of the days whose idleness often became a vice. She gave a remedy, “Happy is it when people have the cares of life to struggle with, for these struggles prevent their becoming prey to enervating vices, merely from idleness.”

Ms. Wollstonecraft had an eye on the hunter/gatherer philosophies of modern male/female understanding when she said, “A man when he undertakes a journey, has, in general, the end in view. A woman thinks more of the incidental occurrences, the strange things that may occur on the road, the impression that she may make on her fellow travelers.” Thus her philosophy saw that women were kept from being fully human as discouragement of the best within her lessened her ability to gather what men could naturally not and elevate humankind together to serve their families and communities.

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Essay on Mary Wollstonecraft Human Nature. (2024, April 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from
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