Wollstonecraft’s argument was really not what I was expecting. It’s basically the “legalize, regulate, and tax” argument but applied to women’s right. I mean her argument is basically: Women are naturally inferior, so don’t make us more inferior else we won’t be able to be good mothers and wives; besides, women are going to try and ‘educate’ themselves illictly anyway so we might as well have control over it. The entire argument is an appeal to men as well; Wollstonecraft seems rather contempteous of other women.At least on first glance. The thing is her writing style changes so drastically, and sometimes her opinion, it’s hard to get a handle on her (it would be in poor taste to make an ironic ‘WIMMIN M I RITE FELLAS?” joke here, wouldn’t it?). Sometimes she gets so righteously indignant, and other times almost apologetic and pandering, and I wonder if her whole deal with women staying naturally inferior could just be for placating people to what otherwise would be an extremely contentious argument.
Examining the writing style is really interesting too, in the way in which she mixes the masculine and feminine rhetoric of the day. While she says she’s going to ignore the language of sensibility (empathy, delicacy of sense, etc.) and use simple, rational rhetoric her style does get a little bit flowery (and dare I say, overwrought) at times. I can understand why she would want to avoid being associated with sensibility though, because that was one of the main arguments against women being able to think rationally (women have keener nerves ergo women feel more keenly ergo women are overcome by emotion and unable to think rationally). She vociferously decries sensuality, sexuality, sex, the body, and love, and that’s very interesting to observe: a women as an entity then was basically her body and her sexuality (and still today sometimes, sadly) and Wollstonecraft almost desperately tries to discard the flesh, to transcend the body to find rational thought. Love terrifies her because it makes people dependent, and for Wollstonecraft represents the real fear that women ARE dependent (which is one of the things that irks me about some feminist thought: to quote the great Poet Laureautes of our generation, The Black Eyed Peas, “Where is the love?”).