Wollstonecraft argues that women should have an education matching with their positions in society as they are important to the nation as teachers to their children and as companions to their husbands and that double standards hinder women from their full potential.
She further argued that it was the education and upbringing of women that created limited expectations, she attacked gender oppression, pressing for equal educational opportunities and justice and rights to humanity for all. Mary Wollstonecraft believed that education was the key to the end of discrimination against women and that if women were given this education would make women and men equal in the field of education.
This means that if women are given and encouraged to have the same level of education as the men than the society would be a much better place as both the female and male genders would both work for the good of the society at large. Double standards in the society should be abolished as it makes the women feel inferior when compared and contrasted alongside their male counterparts.
According to Abernathy, (470-473) Martin Luther King Jr. was engaged in extramarital affairs and was obsessed with white prostitutes, King used church donations for sex parties. This shows that Martin Luther King Jr. was indeed a powerful man in his times and many women were attracted to his power. These extramarital affairs were at times recorded by FBI through bugs placed strategically in hotel rooms.
King wanted women to hold positions of power so that they would not be attracted to men for the sake of their positions in society but rather for love. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for equality among the races he wanted all races to be treated the same way as none was inferior to another. His fight to end racial segregation, he won and all the races could sit anywhere they pleased in buses, buy food form any counter, use the same rest rooms in restaurants, and occupy the same sitting places.
Comparing Wollstonecraft’s views with Martin Luther King Jr. about how women are victims of prejudice we see both scholar fought for equality and equity in the society, Wollstonecraft may have exclusively talked about women, but Martin Luther King Jr. fought for the same things collectively in the society and for both genders.
According to Wollstonecraft, women are prejudiced against, education, decision making and they were seen as homemakers whose work was to stay at home looking after the children and taking acre of their husbands while their husbands made all the decisions concerning them, the family and the society at large. In reference to Martin Luther King Jr. women were discriminated due to their color, and the level of education. They were seen as inferior to men and confined to the homes.
Common things that can be seen in the women of Wollstonecraft time and the time of Martin Luther King Jr. is that both the women of these times in question struggled to attain freedom and independence from their male counterparts. Wollstonecraft’s ideas about equality in the society are alike to those of Martin Luther King Jr. King had observed and felt the prejudice African Americans endured and had decided to put an end to it or at least try.
He was resolved to pick up the hopeless conditions for African Americans. King’s values in equal rights and equal chances were the driving forces in the African American fight for justice. Women in King’s time were not only discriminated against because of their gender but also due to the color of their skin.
King recalls a time he told his daughter she could not go to an amusement park because of the color of her skin. Jacobus (186). Such words could make a child feel as if she is not entitled to enjoy her childhood and hate herself for being the race she is. King could not do anything much about it as those were laws at the time. So his daughter could not go to the amusement park simply because she was black.
King’s endeavors resulted to the 1963 protest on Washington for jobs and freedom where he gave his famous ‘I have dream speech’. The protest made some demands that included; an end to racial separation in self public schools, major civil liberties legislation, regulations eliminating racial segregation in work places, safe guard of civil rights workers from law enforcement cruelty.
Patterson (482-85) notes “a minimum wage for all workers $2, Washington, D.C. the march and the speech combined was successful and helped put civil rights at the top of the liberal political agenda and facilitated passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
Thanks to the march organized by Martin Luther King Jr. racial segregation came to an end and people of all races were treated equally and awarded the same perks everywhere they went.
This also allowed women to take part in the political arena and assist in decision making that involved all people in the society. Public schools also stooped racial discrimination and offered education to children of all races and graded the students according to their mental abilities not their skin colors.
According to Wendell (65-94), “Mary Wollstonecraft, in her influential writings, encouraged the society point of outlook and supported women to use their voices when it came to decision making separate from the decisions that were already made for the woman earlier.”
Wollstonecraft wanted ‘person hood’ for women and pointed out that if men were subjected to the same situations as women they would develop the same characteristics they used to discriminate against women. Wollstonecraft wanted society to recognize and acknowledge the woman as an individual and not part of a man.
She wanted to do away with the patriarchal system of society where men made all the decisions regarding all members of society and allow women to make decisions that affect them, themselves. She wanted a society where both men and women would come together and make decisions that would be of benefit to both genders and also show that women could be leaders in the society and they do not have to continue living in men’s shadow. (Patterson, 58)
Both King and Wollstonecraft, through their works brought about radical changes in the world as we know it. Women have been more active in decision making processes around the world and they hold high positions in their countries. For example; Hillary Clinton who is the Secretary of State in United States of America, Condoleezza Rice an African American who served as the 66th United States Secretary of State not forgetting President Sir leaf Johnson of Liberia just to mention but a few.
These women would not have occupied these offices of power without the feminist movement that Mary Wollstonecraft was a big part of and without the fight against racial segregation which was championed by Martin Luther King Jr.
Mary Wollstonecraft might see herself in the same kind of struggle as Martin Luther King Jr. because they were both fighting for acceptance in the community. The only different thing was their skin color and the fact that King was fighting for a whole race to be accepted and treated fairly not only a section of the race. Both of these personalities fought for the equity of their people and they got it, it may have taken a long time to come but victory in the end was theirs and where credit was due it was given.
Both these personalities although at different times and places knew how to get their concerns to the people through their speeches and writings, they got people to accept their views and start changing their ways of life in relation to the views of the discriminated against in the society.
They were patient and when the movements started forming they were there to act as leaders and also to support their works so that it may not be used negatively. They related to their causes because they had gone through the discrimination and segregation from their communities due to their skin color and gender.
In conclusion both Mary Wollstonecraft and Martin Luther King Jr. fought for what they believed in and they were relentless when it came to airing their views concerning feminism and racial segregation respectively.
Martin Luther King Jr. being a male African American not only fought for the rights and privileged of the African American male but also for the rights, privileges and freedom of women. Both these personalities opened a new world to the people both male and female, a world where women and men despite their race could together towards common good of all.
If feminism had not taken root or the fight for racial segregation had not been planted, where would the world be today? The world today owes so much to these tow personalities and for their influential works that opened the, mindsets of many people hence coming up with the world we have today. Even though there is still discrimination based on gender and race, it is far much better than the olden days as people form different races and gender can see eye to eye without a problem.
Abernathy, David. And the Walls Came Tumbling Down. New York: Harper & Row, 1989, Print.
Jacobus, Lee A. A World of Ideas: Essential Readings for College Writers. 4thy ed. Boston: Bedford press, 1994. Print
Patterson, James Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Print
Wendell, Susan. “A (Qualified) Defense of Liberal Feminism,” Hypatia 2, no. 2 (Summer 1987)
Wollstonecraft. Mary. A vindication of the rights of woman. New York: Penguin Classics, 1992. Print
Since time memorial, equality has always been an issue of contention between men and women. Gender differentiations form the main basis that societies use in determining roles it assigns each individual, with little considerations on individuals’ capabilities. Although some individuals can argue that, globalization and civilization have brought many tidings as far as gender-based roles assignment is concerned, still some societies embrace their cultures and always fight to ensure every societal member respects them.
However, it is also necessary to note that, because some cultural practices imprisons individual’s potentials, in the recent past many movements have emerged that oppose the articulation of this gender based roles. The main aim of these movements is to ensure equality prevails in the society, whereby respect to all individual rights forms the main basis of assigning chores. In the past, societies accorded men power to rule women; hence, women were to bow down to their orders and never question anything men said.
In addition, in most patriarchal societies, men were the sole breadwinners of homes, hence women had to stay home and tend to home chores until their men returned. Of recent, these and many other societal practices have undergone many transformations, a fact that societies attribute to educational advancement of both men and women (Wood pp. 4-7). This paper will discuss concepts of feminism in the present societies.
Nowadays equality rules all sectors of life, right from home chores to office chores. This is because, in the present society women have equal access to what men can access in terms of jobs, finances, education, and other rights.
Although women are achieving a lot as concerns societies’ valuing them and their achievements, still they face more challenges primarily because, as they struggle to ensure men honor their rights, other societal factors such as racism and family issues are pulling behind their efforts. To fights and eliminate such impediments hence, grant women equal societal rights, the concept of feminism emerged, leading to the continuous struggle by women to receive recognition in all aspects of life.
Feminism primarily aims to achieve equality between men and women in the society. That is, considering the diversified nature of present communities, many movements have emerged that fight for recognition of women efforts not only socially, but also politically and economically. This is because in present societies, women and men participate equally in all nation-building chores, hence the need to respect all individuals’ efforts regardless of their gender.
In many ways, the whole feminism idea is a result of revolution in ideas and individual perceptions about women. It is important to note here that, although the main ideology of feminism is female oriented, some men with upright morals also assist women in their struggle for recognition in the society. The feminists’ ultimate goals are to create a world where men do not rule with all the superiority that they posses hence, equal chances of representation and participation.
Feminism takes many orientations, which include cultural, libertarian, social and liberal feminism. These and other feminism orientations aim to achieve different aspects that encompass women’s freedom of participation and representation. To start with, libertarian (individualist feminism) aims to develop a world where women have all the safety they deserve legally.
To achieve their goals, these classes of feminists endeavor to eliminate many gender differentiations that legal systems create. This is because the respect of individual rights goes beyond the simple elimination of manly deviant behaviors in the society. Hence, to ensure that, individuals eliminate gender differences that legal systems create, societies have formed groups that represent women when it comes to legal matters of property ownership.
To achieve this in women, these movements have ensured that they instill in women the concept of responsibility in their every undertaking, something that translates to opposing of any external pressures from governments and individuals who oppose alternatives that women take or opt for.
Liberal feminism almost fights for the same concepts as libertarian feminism in that, as libertarian feminism insists that societies should grant women their legal rights, liberal feminism also endeavors to ensure women receive all other favors and rights that the society gives men.
In this regard, it is important to note that, the main goal behind struggles by liberal feminists is to do away with obstacles that limit women in terms of economic developments. Individuals who believe in this argue that, women too have a role to play as far as the economic viability and sustainability of a community is concerned. Hence, limitations that the societies impose on women are great impediments to its economic well-being (Marilley pp.43-52).
In addition to libertarian and liberal feminism, there exists a third from of feminism that also fights to ensure not only the society respects women’s rights, but also the society adopt values and practices that promotes the well-being of women in the society.
Generally, this movement; social feminism, argues from a technological point of view, whereby supporters of the theory clearly show how technological innovations have isolated the female members of the society. Two major things that proponents of this theory oppose are egoism and positivism.
This is because they believe that, anything that comes with technology isolates women in terms of participation, a fact that has many societal influences. In this regard, this group of feminists struggle to ensure there is equality in terms of benefits gained from any innovational developments, because women also must have a role to play for these innovations to exist (Seigfried pp. 259-265).
To social feminists, the society is full of capitalist; men, who use force and their manly power to pass on ideas, while forgetting that such capitalist form of ruling constrains women’s rights.
Following the social feminist’s arguments on capitalism and women rights, to some extent there exist clear differences between gender biases and class differentiation as it occurs in the common society. Hence, due to this, is not wrong for to argue that, the two are separate entities that share a common oppression phenomenon, because depending on values and morals adopted by societies; both can contribute to gender segregations.
Cultural feminism is primarily concerned with the behavior differences that exist among individuals in the society. These classes of feminists view women as more kind and rational as compared to men, hence if the society entrusts then with leadership positions chances of strife and disagreements occurring are minimal.
This in many ways opposes the traditional belief that, the society cannot entrust women with leadership positions, because no matter which values they adopt they are bound to fail in their leadership, which is never the case (Echols pp. 243-248).
This to some extent this may be right, because in present societies, many women have succeeded in many leadership positions. On the other hand, most cultural feminists have a belief that, there is little gender plays as concerns societal role assignment, because in due time the society will realize that, surely women can take leadership positions hence, the need to accord them the respect they deserve (Moore p.1). Practically it is impossible to prove this notion hence, supporting what many critics of this argument say.
As clearly illustrated by these movements of feminism, the whole idea of feminism aims to eliminate or eradicate injustices against women that are either created by many opposing factors in the society, or common practices that humans have embraced since time memorial.
In addition, taking note of the many scientific developments that occur daily, there exist many gender segregations, hence supporting the notion held by radical feminist. Concepts of feminism are clear in present contemporary societies, as women have not only endeavored to join male dominated fields, but also they struggle each day to receive recognition in the society. A good example is the most recent debated abortion clause.
The National Organization for Women expressed its dissatisfaction with the restrictive which the abortion clause contained, hence their calls for the re-formulation of the clause. In addition, to ensure that the government implemented some of their recommendations, the women had to send representatives to forward their grievances to president Obama, something that clearly signifies the solidarity women have decided to embrace (National Organization for Women p.1).
In conclusion, because feminism fights to ensure that societies and individuals do away with segregations that are gender based, it is important for all policy makers to ensure, they adopt practices that will alleviate differences that exist between male and females. This is because in the current world, women’s achievements also matter very much, for their efforts are many and important in the ever-changing universe driven by technological innovations.
Echols, Alice. Daring to be bad: radical feminism in America, 1967-1975.
Minneapolis University of Minnesota press, 1989. Web. 25 Feb. 2010.
Marilley, Suzanne. Woman suffrage and the origins of liberal feminism in the United States, 1820-1920. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997. Web. 25 Feb. 2010.
Moore, Cindy. Cultural Feminism. 20 Feb. 2009. Web. 25 Feb. 2010.
National Organization for Women. Hot topics and campaign events. 2009. web. 25 Feb. 2010. < http://www.now.org/>
Seigfried, Charlene. Pragmatism and feminism: reweaving the social fabric. London. University of Chicago Press, 1996. Web. 25 Feb. 2009. Woods, Julia. Gendered lives: communication, gender, and culture, 8th e.d. Belmont, California: Wadsworth publishing, 2009. Print.
Woods, Julia. Gendered lives: communication, gender, and culture, 8th e.d. Belmont, California: Wadsworth publishing, 2009. Print.