6 Pages

Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SOAN 2111
Linda Hunter

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Week 10 Summaries: McDonald: Pg. 105-115 Mary Wollstonecraft · Background Information  - Born in London  - Mary’s father drank excessively and abusive his wife  - At the age of 15 Mary left home without consent  - Later she helped her sister, who married young, to leave her abusive husband  - She was self supporting from the age of 19, working as a companion, teacher, head of her own school, and governess in a noble family in Ireland - Learned her radical politics from a group of Dissenters in the same town as her school, Newington Green - Then turned to writing for her living, translating from French, Italian and German for the radical publisher, Joseph Johnson, reviewing and publishing her own · Publications  - Her first book was Thought on the Education of Daughters (1786)  - Her book gave advice on infant care and teaching  - Next she translated Of the Importance of Religious Opinions (1788) by Jacques Necker  - Fame came with A Vindication of the Rights of Men, a fast and furious defense of the French Revolution, supporting the position taken by her friend Richard Price - In 1792 she published her second vindication on the rights of woman - Moved to France and had a baby with Gilbert Imlay - Did research for her comprehensive book Historical and Moral View of the Origin and Progress of the French Revolution - Her letters written in Sweden, Norway and Denmark were well received as social and political observations - Later Married anarchist theorist Godwin - She became pregnant but died after giving birth from infection - Her daughter Mary Godwin became a writer and is known for her story of the graduate student Frankenstein and his monster - Wollstonecraft’s first daughter committed suicide young - Wollstonecraft learned her radical politics from religious dissenters but remained an adherent of the church · Mary Wollstonecraft’s Arguments - Many of Wollstonecraft’s points were made earlier by Gournay and Astell - Wollstonecraft was not the only audible voice raised to assert that women, as well as men, had an inalienable right to freedom, that they too were human beings - But she did go further than her in opening up the issue of political rights for women and in specifying the demand for economic independence and access to traditional male occupations - Her life and work inspired great English novelist Virginia Woolf and the pioneer American anthropologist Ruth Benedict - Wollstonecraft is now standard fare in women’s studies - Her advocacy of empiricism is still little known - Her second vindication was a radical manifesto for women’s equality - A Vindication of the Rights of Men was dedicated to Talleyrand, defender of the French Revolution and author of a report on a new system of public education for France – his proposal would separate girls from boys at age eight - Wollstonecraft attempted to have him reconsider this - Argued women should be able to advance, instead of retarding ―the progress of those glorious principles that give a substance to morality‖ - Who made men the exclusive judge, if woman partake with him the gift of reason - Like Astell Wollstonecraft understood the reason as the basis of the difference between humans and animals and a gift of God - Wollstonecraft argued the disabilities of women’s education, not defects in nature, as the cause of their inferiority - These disabilities were the result of bad institutions - Both women and the French population, given better education and a better social environment, would perform better - Education could change the natural laws of humanity for better or worse - Time would tell, once a women could get a ―masculine‖ education, whether sex difference were fundamental or accidental - Men who have been placed in similar situations have acquired a similar character...men of genius and talents have started out of a class in which women have never yet been placed - Girls should be given the same experiences as boys - Wollstonecraft also wanted women to be able to study the art of healing and be physicians as well as nurses, study history and government and run farms and businesses - The ability of women to earn their own subsistence was the true definition of independence - When absolutely dependent on their husband’s women were forced into being cunning selfish and mean - Wollstonecraft also sets out her views on the treatment of animals - ―Humanity to animals‖, which was not a national virtue, should be inculcated as part of national education - The ability of humans to reason did not endanger any right to treat other creatures cruelly - Wollstonecraft claimed for the right to vote in a seemingly casual digression in the Vindication of Right of Women: women out to have representatives instead of being arbitrarily governed without having any direct share allowed them in the deliberations of government - She argued against Rousseau’s contention that women controlled men through their feminine charms - Women, she held, were degraded by the trivial attentions paid them by men, while otherwise being kept in ignorance - She wanted equality for all people not just her sex - She belived the military men were sent into the world before their minds have been stored with knowledge or fortified principles - She examined the poor in France and showed how laws were the champion of property not of life and liberty - Wollstonecraft said the fact that nature made people unequal, in physical and mental powers, did not justify inequality in society but gave government one of its purposes; to destroy this inequality in society but gave government one of its purposes: to destroy this inequality and protect the weak - She stated laws could be changed and property laws should be to make for a more equal division of property among all children of a family Zeitlin: Chapter 4; Perfectibility through Education Rousseau’s Emile—and Sophy - Rousseau is famous for his political theory and for his ideas on education - Advocated maternal breast-feeding and oppression to swaddle infants - Began fashionable to ―Enlightened‖ parents - Rousseau’s final work sets forth his principles for the education of woman - He maintains that the natural differences between the exes requires that they be educated differently - This met with vehement opposition in the work of Wollstonecraft - The mother’s role in child rearing is fundamental, since a child’s earliest education is most important and it, undoubtedly, women’s work - Education is not just a matter of preserving the child’s life; that is not enough, for he must be taught how to preserve his own life when he becomes a man, how to bear the ups and downs of fortune, how to live, if need be, in the snows of an icy, wind swept terrain or on the edge of a scorching desert - The human being is everywhere subject to control, constraint and compulsion He is less free and more constrained than he was in the womb - The origin of shameless and unnatural customs emerged with the refusal of women to fulfill their first duty and to nurse their own children, entrusting them instead to hired strangers who swaddle their employers children to save themselves trouble - The upper-class women has not only ceased to suckle her own child, but she also shirks the main duty of
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