Wollstonecraft versus the Bluestockings
What are the differences between the “feminism” expressed by Wollstonecraft and that of the Bluestockings–if indeed you believe that the Blues express or practice any kind of “feminism.” For example, can the modestly progressive views expressed in the Matrimonial Creed be compared to the doctrines expressed in the Vindication?
It seems to me that both women express feminism but they focus on two different things.Mulso’s essay argues for friendship between husband and wife and encourages women to seek a husband that she can consider a friend. Wollstonecraft’s essay goes straight to the heart of the matter and addresses the reason why men and women in marriages are not equal. In other words, her argument implies that it is not enough to say that men and women should be equal. Instead, she addresses the various stereotypes that women possess in society and argues that society perceives women this way (stupid or blindly obedient) because they are not given proper access to education. Wollstonecraft’s essay almost entirely focuses on education, its function in reforming society, and reforming the image of a woman as something less than a man. For example, women were often attacked for not being virtuous. Wollstonecraft points out men have access to extensive character education that teaches them how to reason and what it means to be a gentleman. She then argues that the reason why women appear as if they are lacking in virtue is that they do not have access to the same kind of character education that teaches men about virtue, makes them virtuous.