Friday, August 24, 2018

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: (with an introduction by Millicent Garrett Fawcett) Paperback – June 19, 2018 by Mary Wollstonecraft (Author), Millicent Garrett Fawcett (Introduction) ( Publishing )

Its nice not to have to trudge through a read. My norm seems to be expletive-laced grumbling while the last page can't come soon enough. Wollstonecraft has been a breath of fresh air. I have to admit that I went into it with bias. I've read so many male philosophers, probably because women at the time weren't taken seriously, as what happened with Wollstonecraft and the ridicule she received. I was nervous that it was going to be trite and overly emotional. It was an extraordinary blend of reason and sentiment.

Her style is poetic. At times, it feels it almost has a sing-song way about it. Her ability reminds me of Jane Austen and makes it very hard to put the book down. I wonder how much Austen lifted from Wollstonecraft considering there was a section on Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice.

Her philosophy is intriguing. Wollstonecraft was quite ahead of her time. She felt that women were trapped in an eternal childhood in the way they were treated by their other halves. This left them unable to be good wives much less good mothers. She makes the argument that not only can women reason, but they can be employed in any field. She envisions a time where boys and girls, rich or poor, can be educated together.

As an aside, I don't think the public school system has worked out so well. I attended a joke of a school. That is why I am grateful to have the opportunity to homeschool. Even if you disagree with her assessment that children should be publicly educated, her main point is that boys and girls alike can be educated the same. She actually advocated for a private/public school mix. I'm not sure that our modern day system would meet her vision at all.

The crème de la crème? Pages upon pages of attacks on Rousseau. I think I've formed a personal vendetta against Rousseau so when she blasts his inane philosophy for nearly 1/3 of the book, it could only bring a sense of sweet justice. If you're no fan of Rousseau, its worth the read just for that. Ya know, the guy who created Civil Religion. The guy who wrote books about how children should be educated then abandoned all 5 of his newborn children to a foundling hospital. The guy who said women were created for his pleasure. Yeah, its a pretty epic takedown. Enjoy.

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