anna brones

writer + artist + producer

Mary Wollstonecraft

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“I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.”

-Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759-1797,

045 Women’s Wisdom Project

Since we’re all talking about Mary Wollstonecraft this week on account of the new statue in London, I thought I would post this Women’s Wisdom Project piece that I made last year.

This quote is from Wollstonecraft’s “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman,” originally published in 1792. It is one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy and considered a foundation of the modern women’s movement. Another line from that which I found powerful is this: “Strengthen the female mind by enlarging it, and there will be an end to blind obedience.”

Here’s the section where the quote comes from:

“I am fully persuaded, that we should hear of none of these infantine airs, if girls were allowed to take sufficient exercise and not confined in close rooms till their muscles are relaxed and their powers of digestion destroyed. To carry the remark still further, if fear in girls, instead of being cherished, perhaps, created, were treated in the same manner as cowardice in boys, we should quickly see women with more dignified aspects. It is true, they could not then with equal propriety be termed the sweet flowers that smile in the walk of man; but they would be more respectable members of society, and discharge the important duties of life by the light of their own reason. ‘Educate women like men,’ says Rousseau, ‘and the more they resemble our sex the less power will they have over us.’ This is the very point I aim at. I do not wish them to have power over men; but over themselves.”

You can read the full essay here.

This papercut is part of the Women’s Wisdom Project.

Written by Anna Brones

November 11, 2020 at 10:02

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