In case you were wondering, yes, I am still reading the classics. It’s my calling. And Mary Wollstonecraft’s polemic A Vindication of the Rights of Woman was next on my list, so here we are. As with many of the writers on my list this time around, I first heard of Mary Wollstonecraft when I was a wee, bright-eyed English major, and, perhaps unfortunately, the main thing I think about whenever I see her name is a statement my professor made that her daughter, Mary Shelley and Percy Shelley consummated their relationship on Wollstonecraft’s grave. This naturally led to a discussion of whether or not graveyard sex was creepy and gross (and yes, “creepy and gross” won by an approximately 35:1 margin). This has nothing to do with Wollstonecraft’s work, but if I have to think it, then so do you, because I am all about sharing the pain.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I can move on to the point of this post, which is Mary Wollstonecraft’s book-length essay. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is a response to Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s