To every generation marriage brings new meaning and different expectations. Some never want to get married, some think of it as a trap, some believe that is the only way to survive, some find it sacred, some just do it because of children and some have been brought up to think marriage is a part of the cycle of life. Since the 1700 s, men have dominated relationships and women have been the “victims”. Mary Wollstonecraft was aware of this domination in the 1700 s and worked to educate women to become individuals.
She believes that through education women are able to progress in relationships and not become a “slaves” to men. Times have changed and women have made more of a place for themselves in society. Throughout The Vindications, The Rights of Woman, Wollstonecraft argues how important it is for women to be educated in order for them to progress through life and especially in marriage. This is clearly seen when she states, “if she be not prepared by education to become the companion of man, she will stop the progress of knowledge and virtue; for truth must be common to all”(102).
Wollstonecraft argues that a woman cannot even be a good mother without education. “Can they be expected to govern a family with judgment, or take care of the poor babes whom they bring into the world? ”(113). Women today have the luxury of pursuing a higher education and with that doors of opportunity are opened. On account of these chances women now have more validity in this country. Women being portrayed as a sex symbols has been emphasized for generations.
Their main focus has been to be beautiful and desired by all men. Even today we still open up almost every magazine to beautiful, skinny, sexy women. This is what the ideal woman should look like. This is what is desired by men. Wollstonecraft argues that through ” the desire of establishing themselves,- the only way women can rise in the world,- by marriage”(112). The myth of a sexy, desirable woman still exists. Other than the pursuit of marriage, women now have other avenues to follow for a successful and fruitful life.
Throughout The Vindications The Rights of Woman, Wollstonecraft looked down on marriage because of the inequalities between men and women. She believed that “woman and man were made for each other; but their mutual dependence is not the same. The men depend on the women only on account of their desires; the women on the men both on account of their desires and their necessities”(200). Mary discusses how through the progress of knowledge women are able to become more equal to men.
Through education and virtue women would not “marry merely to better themselves”(194). Most women today don t feel that their “prize” in life is a husband. Marriage is more about partners and being equal. Equality stems from knowledge and the power of education. With every generation brings unexpected changes, new desires, new values and yet many traditions stay the same. Hopefully each generation of women will acquire and keep sacred the knowledge they receive from the women before them.