Mary Wollstonecraft



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It is vain to expect virtue from women till they are, in some degree, independent of men; nay, it is vain to expect that strength of natural affection, which would make them good wives and good mothers.

--Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), repr. http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext02/vorow10.txt

So she, from ardent, emulous appeal,

After the inner ruling of her heart

Chose him of all best mated to herself,

Best qualified to glorify The Child—

For this was she made woman—not for him.

--Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "The Purpose" (1904) repr. Herland, The Yellow Wallpaper and Selected Writings, ed. Denise Knight (New York: Penguin, 1999), 338


Human beings must associate, must exchange, must engage in collective activities. Women have done what they could at it—under criticism.

And the men? Being human they had to combine. Being male they had to compete.... Men had to get together, specialize, produce and exchange, and they have done so freely, splendidly; building the world we have so long—shall we say enjoyed?

But they were males; preponderantly males; and their maleness has been griveously in the way of their humanness. Fight they must; the masculine instinct to overcome and to destroy competitors; and our smooth fruitful human progress has been visibly jarred by this untoward complication. If the women had been there, human too—but they were not. The women were at home, being females.

--Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "Our Brains and What Ails Them" (The Forerunner, 1912), repr. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: A Nonfiction Reader, ed. Larry Ceplair (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1991), 228

"I don't think there has been any change in human nature in that respect since your daty" [said Dr. Leete]. "It is so constituted still that special incentives in the form of prizes, and advantages to be gained, are requisite to call out the best endeavors of the average man in any direction."

"But what inducement," I asked, "can a man have to put forth his best endeavors when, however much or little he accomplishes, his income remains the same?"

--Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward 2000-1887 (1888) (New York: Signet, 2000), 62

In fact, radical feminism looks to a transformation of human relationships and structures in which power, instead of a thing to be hoarded by a few, would be released to and from within the many, shared in the form of knowledge, expertise, decision making, access to tools, as well as in the basic forms of food and shelter and health care and literacy. Feminists—and many nonfeminists—are, and rightly so, still concerned with what power would mean in such a society, and with the relative differences in power among and between women here and now.

Which brings me to a third meaning of power where women are concerned: the false power which masculine society offers to a few women, on condition that they use it to maintain things as they are, and that they essentially "think like men."

--Adrienne Rich, "What Does a Woman Need to Know?" (1979), in Blood, Bread and Poetry (New York: Norton, 1986), 5

Most American science fiction can be divided into three categories according to its attitude toward sex roles: the status quo (which will be carried into the future without change), role reversals (seen as evil), and fiction in which women (usually few) are shown working as equals alongside men; but the crucial questions about the rest of society (e.g. personal relations and who's doing the work women usually do) are not answered.

--Joanna Russ, "Recent Feminist Utopias" (1981), repr. in To Write Like a Woman (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana Univ. Press, 1991), 135

Difference feminists [in the 1970s and 1980s, such as Elizabeth Grosz] celebrated women's bodies, reproductive rhythms and sexual organs. Women and men are different and women have no interest in forsaking their differences, they said. Women do not want the right to be the same as men. Rather, women want the right to be as free as men—to construct themselves apart from, not in opposition to, men; to be opposite of men yet to be themselves.

--Rosmarie Tong, Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction (New York: Westview, 1998), 208

The following pages contain the writer’s diary, kept during his march to and from Harar. It must be borne in mind that the region traversed on this occasion was previously known only by the vague reports of native travellers. All the Abyssinian discoverers had traversed the Dankali and other northern tribes: the land of the Somal was still a terra incognita. Harar, moreover, had never been visited, and few are the cities of the world which in the present age, when men hurry about the earth, have not opened their gates to European adventure.



--Sir Richard Burton, First Foosteps in East Africa, or, An Exploration of Harar (1856), repr.http://burtoniana.org/books/1856-First%20Footsteps%20in%20East%20Africa/1856-FirstFootstepsVer2.htm#PREFACE


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