Nicholas Whyte's Reviews > Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft
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Aug 06, 11

One of those classic political texts which everyone should read, written in the revolutionary moment of 1792, and making the daring argument that women should be educated rather than infantilised, indeed, boys and girls should be educated together. Many of her arguments are unfortunately still valid; her analysis of power and oppression is pretty acute, and must be one of the earliest examples of applying arguments about socieo-economic equality to gender relations. I was interested that she clearly has a great deal of respect for Talleyrand, who I'd always thought of as wily statesman rather than advanced political thinker in his own right, which may just show my ignorance.

I was startled by a line in the introduction by Pamela Frankau, who writes that "with feminism we are surely done. It went out - didn't it? - some twenty-five years ago." This was written in 1954. I'm glad to say that a second reading (not sitting in the warm sunshine) reassured me that she was being ironic

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