Mary Wollstonecraft’s political theory

By the middle of the 18th century, something was changing in Europe. After the Renaissance banished religion from the center of intellectual and political life and the Enlightenment promoted the idea that education is the key to the formation of extraordinary human beings beyond their origins and appearance physical, it appeared. sphere?

English writer and philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft he devoted much of his time to dealing with this issue of inequality and the clear domination of man over woman. Her works were very influential in the development of the first wave of feminism, which emerged decades after her death.

Below we will see how these early questions of male domination were formulated by Mary Wollstonecraft and how she opposed the mainstream ideology of her time.

    Who was Mary Wollstonecraft? brief biography

    Mary Wollstonecraft was born in April 1759 in London. She quickly began to experience the turmoil of poverty when her father spent all the money on the family, so she and her parents had to move from one place to another without getting the money.

    In adulthood, soon he started to get frustrated with the hardships women had to go through when it comes to making a living. Western society was designed to push women towards marriage, and it was assumed that family formation was the vital goal of all females in general. However, Wollstonecraft did not give up: he created a school with his sisters and his friend Fanny Blood.

    However, Soon Blood got engaged to a man and went to live with him abroad. This complication, along with the fact that Wollstonecraft traveled to Lisbon to take care of her friend when her health deteriorated, caused the school project to fail. From this point Mary Wollstonecraft focused on writing essays and novels. He died in 1797 of a complication during childbirth.

    Theory and Thought of Mary Wollstonecraft

    Here you can see the theoretical foundations on which Mary Wollstonecraft’s philosophy was based and which made her one of the earliest references of feminism.

    1. The importance of education

    Mary Wollstonecraft was totally influenced by the Enlightenment, and therefore he believed in the progress made through rationality and learning. This idea, so normal to us at the time, was radical if it applied to the differences between men and women. It was recognized that all differences in interests and behavior were biological and that traditional roles faithfully reflected the “nature” of both sexes.

    2. The principle of equality

    So Mary Wollstonecraft argued that the default option was to assume gender equalityAnd that in any case, it is the defenders of the innate differences between men and women who must have brought very powerful evidence in favor of their intellectual position.

    This point, as well as the previous one, led Mary Wollstonecraft to totally reject the pedagogical approach of Rousseau, who, from her romanticist point of view, proposed segregation between boys and girls in schools in order to offer characteristics adapted to “naturally differentiated” characteristics.

    3. Break with tradition

    This philosopher explained that the strong differences between the expected roles of men and women were mainly due to the physical domination of men over women recounted over generations. Thus, the woman is educated to conform without doubt to a passive and useful attitude which naturally departs from the full intellectual development which many men enjoy throughout academia.

    This point led Mary Wollstonecraft to to question a large part of the traditions, As he understood that these can be a means of oppression and that they must therefore be reviewed and adapted to human well-being.

    This position, by the way, it was developed several centuries later by Simone de Beauvoir and other properly feminist theorists of the time, although Mary Wollstonecraft did not have access to large amounts of information extracted by anthropology, of course, caused the time in which she had to live.

      in conclusion

      Mary Wollstonecraft’s ideas blend very well with the liberal conception of egalitarianism. It does not go far beyond denouncing clear impositions of men on women, such as the impossibility of having economic independence and the absence of rights in the political sphere. however, serves to question the idea that the woman should remain submissive for their own biology and for pointing out that traditional traditions and roles can be very harmful if not challenged.

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