Often times, we tend to seek inspiration and role-models with the lens of current trailblazers, yet we never take into account that there have actually been forward thinkers who have contributed to society and tread against stereotypical norms. For this reason, this edition of “Forward Friday” will be acknowledging and appreciating the work and beliefs of a very under-rated author from England during the 1760 time-period. Get ready to get launched into a history lesson that will be much more exiting than your average history class, especially if you are a strong advocate for women’s rights.
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Mary Wollstonecraft. As previously mentioned, this name may not be the first or most popular to take into account when brought to the attention of amazing old-time authors. But, it is time for Mary Wollstonecraft to receive the attention and admiration that she has long deserved. Mary Wollstonecraft falls into a category and time period known as “Romanticism.” With her platform through poetry and writing, Mary was able to express her beliefs and philosophy in women’s rights, or referred to as individual liberties for women, along with a strong emphasis in the importance of education for women. Mary was mainly able to portray both these beliefs within her two most popular works: “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” along with “Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman.” Both of which are amazing reads!
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With these works, Mary mainly focus on how many times women, especially in past societies, would allow men to prey on them, abuse, enslave them (the list continues) because of the fact that they were not allowed access to education therefore they were not aware of their own rights. In a sense, it also highlighted how, in many instances, women had to simply deal with their experiences and all the bad stuff happening to them because they were never taught that there are other ways, they were never educated that situations of abuse, in all variances, are not the “norm” that is to be expected, they are an unfortunate event that instills trauma in them for the rest of their life; not something to easily be shrugged away.
From my opinion, Mary Wollstonecraft was extremely ahead of her time, especially in regards to advocating for concepts that an entire society was against. She has also become such an inspiration to me, personally because she allowed herself to take hold of the ability to turn her own personal trauma into a motivator to grow, to truly help with these ideals of moving forward on the spectrum pertaining to societal values, as well as to help others in order prevent more situations and challenges like those she experienced. Which in her case included domestic abuse by her own father, depression, attempted suicide, and eventually dying eleven days after giving birth to her second daughter (*fun fact: this daughter is essentially who grow up to become Mary Shelley; the author of the infamous story of Frankenstein).
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Mary Wollstonecraft was essentially one of the first feminists to contribute to the philosophy of women empowerment and equality. For this reason, she deserves more recognition, and despite her work being on the older side, her ideals and stories definitely are not out of date. Which is why I would strongly recommend to look into her works and really dive into the mindset of Mary because at the end of the day, I can explain all about how ground-breaking she is, but you will never truly understand how much a woman such as herself had the capability to change views and to move such a conservative society, forward- unless you read her work and get to know each essence of herself through her beautiful words and storylines.
Thank you for your time in learning more about the inspirational, feminist, historical icon that is Mary Wollstonecraft! Stay tuned with this column to see who the next “Forward Friday” motivation-setter will be! Until then: prosper, be the best you that you can be, and push through!