Mary Wollstonecraft Response

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Mary Wollstonecraft: Tradition, Feminism and Contemporary Society It is interesting to compare Burke’s argument on “tradition” to Mary Wollstonecraft’s ideas in her work, Vindication of the rights of Women. While Burke is a theorist who upholds the idea of tradition and inheritance, Wollstonecraft’s ideas suggest that men have inflated egos because of the titles that they have inherited as she writes “such, indeed, has been the wretchedness that had flowed from hereditary honours, riches, and monarchy, that men of lively sensibility have almost uttered blasphemy in order to justify the dispensations of providence” (Wollstonecraft, 12). In a sense, this critique of Europe’s male-dominated society sets the tone for her entire work as she also combines her argument with her critique of Rousseau’s work and even labels him as a “fool” (Wollstonecraft, 13) due to his misogynistic writing. In Burke’s Reflection on the Revolution in France, Burke argues that tradition is one of the most important aspects of society. To completely change tradition would result in chaos as he even foreshadows the downfall of the newly installed French government. To change the views of women in society, Wollstonecraft asserts that women should be properly educated as she states that “a little learning is required to support the character of gentleman…But in the education of women, the cultivation of the understanding is always subordinate to the acquirement of some corporeal accomplishment” (Wollstonecraft, 22). Once women are well educated, Wollstonecraft uses the word “friend” to describe the relationship between the husband and wife (Wollstonecraft, 28). The use of the word friend not only suggests social equality but, more importantly, intellectual equality. Traditionally, women have always been seen as entirely devoted to the domestic sphere of the family which over the years have
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