In “ A Vindication of the Rights of Woman,” Mary Wollstonecraft is advocating for women’s rights and explaining why women should be considered equal within society. Her presentation of how to attain this equality was very intriguing. Much of her writing implies that women should become more masculine in order to be equal among men as women have the ability to reason just as well as men do; Wollstonecraft states, ““,,, all those who view them [women], with a philosophical eye must, I should think, wish with me, that they may every day grow more and more masculine…” (p. 103). Keeping in mind that Wollstonecraft wrote this piece in 1792, the thought of what it means to be “ more masculine” has become different in some societies over the years.
Wollstonecraft goes on to state that after women do exercise their reason and virtue in society , “… the virtue of man will be a worm- eaten by the insect whom he keeps under his feet” (107). It seems that, at times, her philosophy is wanting women to surpass men, by affecting the virtue of men, rather than be equal through performing masculine acts to show women’s capabilities as well as do “ a man’s” job better then even men can. This will result in “ the worm” being harmed by the “ the insect under his feet.”
Thus, if Wollstonecraft’s ideas that women should be “more masculine” and cause “ the worm to be eaten by the insect” were applied to present day societies, I wonder if the results would be dangerous.
The following is an example of women “ becoming more masculine” in their society on December 25th , 2010.
From nytimes.com : “New Year Brings Worries for Muslim Women”
By: SOUAD MEKHENNET Published: January 4, 2011
“Conflict in the Swat Valley and Waziristan region of Pakistan has displaced thousands of people, and reports of attacks are basically daily fare in the country. “You go out in the morning and pray that you will come back home again,” said Fayza. Troublingly, women have started to take an active part in the conflict. As the West celebrated Christmas on Dec. 25, a female suicide bomber attacked a food distribution point in the tribal region of Bajaur in northwest Pakistan, killing at least 46 people and wounding 105. “We are expecting more women who will play increasingly roles in attacks,” a senior Pakistani intelligence official said.”
Through these actions, women are seen to be performing a “masculine” job in society. However, is such an act of “masculinity” just seen as revenge or does it actually have a direct impact on equalizing the role of women by influencing the ”virtue of men”? Do you think that Mary Wollstonecraft’s ideas from 1792 are still applicable in today’s world? If not, how would you change the role to women in societies such as Swat Valley and Waziristan region from the New York Times article?