GSWS 102 Chapter 2: GSWS 102 Readings Week 2

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Simon Fraser University
Gender Sexuality & Wom St
GSWS 102
Jen Marchbank

Feminism Begins Week Two Readings The rights of woman: a radical inheritance  Ideological roots of socialist feminism lay in the popular democratic tradition of the late eighteenth century and in particular in the radical egalitarianism of the 1790s  Over the century voices had been raised on the behalf of women’s rights but it was only in the final decade of revolution and counter- revolution that these cohered into a distinct political position  Woman responsible for this development was feminist democrat Mary Wollstonecraft  Wrote Vindication of the Rights of Woman published in 1792  First pushed demand for female liberation into the mainstream British political life The Egalitarian Vision  Mary Wollstonecraft was supported throughout the late eighteenth century in her writings by teachers, parliamentary reformers, radical novelists, journalists, poets  Many of Mary’s own London circle shared her feminist views  Both her husband William Godwin and friend Thomas Holcroft attempted to enlist public support for Mary’s ideas as did another friend Thomas Paine  Mary’s female acquaintances included Anna Barbauld and Mary Hays who also wrote essays on the position of women  The simple principles she had in mind where: the natural right of every individual to political and social self determination; the evils of autocratic government, hereditary privilege, and unearned wealth, the perfectibility of human nature and human institutions, and eqalite (equality) as the foundation for a new morality within human relations  Mary Wollstonecraft advocated for citizenship for women: having political and social authority  The Vindication opens a letter to the French Minister Talley protesting the decision of the Convection in Paris to deny political rights to the revolutionary citoyennes (citizenship)  Wollstonecraft admitted women were inferior and inferiority was from male-defined social order which consigned women to slutifying life  Women were treated as “personal slaves”  Wollstonecraft wanted to reform so females could restore the
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