Study Guide

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Men and Masculinity

By Mary Wollstonecraft

Men and Masculinity

Now, just to set the record straight: Wollstonecraft doesn't dislike men. She believes that most men are truly good people. That's exactly why she wants women to receive the same education and the same rights as men: to be as excellent themselves as excellent men. She fully believes that, if given the chance, women could be just as smart and virtuous as men are. So what does the world have to lose by giving rights to women?

Multiple passages in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman are directed towards men. Wollstonecraft was no dummy: she knew that the majority of the people reading her treatise would be dudes.

Questions About Men and Masculinity

  1. Which man does Wollstonecraft's criticize most directly? Why?
  2. In Wollstonecraft's mind, why should men give up their tyrannical power and give women equal rights? What's in it for the men?
  3. How does Wollstonecraft plan on closing the gap in physical strength between men and women? Use specific evidence from the text to support your answer.

Chew on This

In Vindication, Wollstonecraft celebrates all the great men of history and claims that all she wants is for women to have the chance to be just as great.

In Vindication, Wollstonecraft argues that men are wholly responsible for how women are (mis)treated.