In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft tackles the wasted potential she sees in women, refusing to see them as inferior to men; she decries their limitations and suggests that they are worthy of an equal standard of education and that they should be taught to develop their own reason, not simply how to gain a man. Written in 1792, at the height of the French Revolution, A Vindication is an eloquent and persuasive response to the prevailing attitudes of the time. It is the original feminist manifesto.
Public Domain (P)2016 Naxos AudioBooks
Michelle my Belle
I am amazed at how relevant Wollstonecraft's work is today. I became aware of my own ignorance with regard to the subtle oppression still felt by women over 200 years after this book was written. I'm glad I took the time to study this work more closely.
SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!
--but you have to be really interested in it. Mostly, "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" is an argument for the proper education of women. She doesn't go so far as to say the sexes are equal, maybe in the eyes of God, but she thinks women can be better viewed as partners with men with a tad more sense than they're given credit for... if they're educated well.
Over and over, you'll get more of a view of women of the era--as being silly and sentimental, of having basically only twenty years of real power (because their beauty fades, and beauty is what holds sway over men). Plus she addresses writers of the time who dictate manners, modesty, virtues, that women should regard with questions (Rousseau particularly sticks in her craw).
As I love Jane Austen and earlier writers, I found this to be a book that held my interest, but it does go on so. I'd suggest that an editor would've done wonders for the book, but Wollstonecraft probably would've bitten his head off :)
Fiona Shaw does a good job, adequately passionate, adequately disdainful, adequately incensed.
At one point whining, and the next a little inspiring. For the modern reader, much has evolved since the late 18th century. It is accepted that women are quite capable of reason equal to men, and deserve to access to education equally. But she is also very Victorian in her ideas of repression of sexuality, and is scolding of women for excessive sensibilty and unchecked emotions.
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