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Mary Wollstonecraft: Partypants or Lame-O?

I enjoy my parents. If only because at one point yesterday, our conversation led to me obstinately declaring that Thomas Jefferson was known as "Weenie Jefferson" by all who knew him (my mom's a big Jefferson fan and he is A TOOL).

John Adams is the best forever and ever, even if he did basically go "Hahahahaha Nabby you are so funny" when she said "Remember the ladies."




I'm almost halfway through Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft and it is SHORT but it is taking me forever because it has sentences like:

Vainly then do they beat and foam, restrained by the power that confines the struggling planets in their orbits, matter yields to the great governing Spirit.

LOOK THAT IS JUST NOT GOOD WRITING OKAY. Commas: I do not think you know how to use them. You were JUST talking about "they" and now it's "matter" which is DIFFERENT and fix your sentence structure, Wollstonecraft.

I mean, a lot of the time she says some pretty badass stuff, and early on she is like "Hey look, I'm just gonna shoot from the hip here, so don't expect really pretty sentences because then I won't be saying what I mean." But because this is being read in 2013 and it was written in 1792, SOME STUFF HAS CHANGED and we're a lot clearer now. Normally. I mean, probably not to them. To them it'd be like "Why are you all speaking in abbreviations? WHY WHAT GOOD DOES THAT SERVE." To which we would reply "Because it sounds awes."

Since I don't want to look through my marked-up (yeah, you heard me -- I'm WRITING in it) copy, let's look at Mary Wollstonecraft.

I know nothing about Mary Wollstonecraft. She was the mother of Mary Shelley, but she died giving birth to her, so it's not like she had this giant mothering influence on her. Not to say she DIDN'T have a giant influence on her, because if I were Mary Shelley I'd feel guilty as HELL that my coming into the world killed someone that brilliant. 




So she had this onus on her to create something awesome to justify her existence. Which, to be honest, I don't feel like I have. I'm still really proud of that Doctor Who fanvid I made. "YOU'RE WELCOME, WORLD, for those three and a half minutes of clips set to that song from Twilight," I say. But if, like, Simone de Beauvoir had died giving birth to me right after writing The Second Sex, I'd probably go "Shit, I have to do something with my life."

Wollstonecraft was also super-anti monarchy. Like, Vindication is all "Yeah, I guess you could say women are just NATURALLY subservient. So I guess you're just NATURALLY supposed to be the sniveling, cowardly slaves to a king because that's how it's been for a thousand years. OR OH WAIT THE OPPOSITE OF THAT BOOM."

This was written right before the Reign of Terror in France, so at this point most of the liberal English were all "Hurrah! That's it, France! What a model you are for the European world!" and then the next year, they were all "Ahhh omg what are you doing WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS IS NOT CRICKET STOP MURDERING PEOPLE." 




I can't decide if I want to hang out with Wollstonecraft or not. Like...maybe? She was possibly really obnoxious. You get a faint whiff of that in this book. It's really, really impressive she wrote it and she was amazing and decades ahead of her time, but that doesn't mean you want to chill and watch Roseanne with a person, y'know? The thing that made her willing to stand out above all other women and open herself up to ridicule in the age that ABOVE ALL OTHERS would ridicule the pants off you is also maybe the thing that made her not fun at parties.

Or maybe I'm full of it and she was known as Beer Pong Wollstonecraft and everyone LOVED her at parties. I'm going off pretty much zero information here.

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