Comparing Views on the Feminism of Wollstonecraft and Martin Luther King Research Paper

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer

Women as victims of prejudice

Wollstonecraft argues that women should have an education matching with their positions in society as they are important to the nation as teachers to their children and as companions to their husbands and that double standards hinder women from their full potential.

She further argued that it was the education and upbringing of women that created limited expectations, she attacked gender oppression, pressing for equal educational opportunities and justice and rights to humanity for all. Mary Wollstonecraft believed that education was the key to the end of discrimination against women and that if women were given this education would make women and men equal in the field of education.

This means that if women are given and encouraged to have the same level of education as the men than the society would be a much better place as both the female and male genders would both work for the good of the society at large. Double standards in the society should be abolished as it makes the women feel inferior when compared and contrasted alongside their male counterparts.

According to Abernathy, (470-473) Martin Luther King Jr. was engaged in extramarital affairs and was obsessed with white prostitutes, King used church donations for sex parties. This shows that Martin Luther King Jr. was indeed a powerful man in his times and many women were attracted to his power. These extramarital affairs were at times recorded by FBI through bugs placed strategically in hotel rooms.

King wanted women to hold positions of power so that they would not be attracted to men for the sake of their positions in society but rather for love. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for equality among the races he wanted all races to be treated the same way as none was inferior to another. His fight to end racial segregation, he won and all the races could sit anywhere they pleased in buses, buy food form any counter, use the same rest rooms in restaurants, and occupy the same sitting places.

Comparing Wollstonecraft’s views with Martin Luther King Jr. about how women are victims of prejudice we see both scholar fought for equality and equity in the society, Wollstonecraft may have exclusively talked about women, but Martin Luther King Jr. fought for the same things collectively in the society and for both genders.

According to Wollstonecraft, women are prejudiced against, education, decision making and they were seen as homemakers whose work was to stay at home looking after the children and taking acre of their husbands while their husbands made all the decisions concerning them, the family and the society at large. In reference to Martin Luther King Jr. women were discriminated due to their color, and the level of education. They were seen as inferior to men and confined to the homes.

Similarities between Wollstonecraft’s time and King’s time

Common things that can be seen in the women of Wollstonecraft time and the time of Martin Luther King Jr. is that both the women of these times in question struggled to attain freedom and independence from their male counterparts. Wollstonecraft’s ideas about equality in the society are alike to those of Martin Luther King Jr. King had observed and felt the prejudice African Americans endured and had decided to put an end to it or at least try.

He was resolved to pick up the hopeless conditions for African Americans. King’s values in equal rights and equal chances were the driving forces in the African American fight for justice. Women in King’s time were not only discriminated against because of their gender but also due to the color of their skin.

King recalls a time he told his daughter she could not go to an amusement park because of the color of her skin. Jacobus (186). Such words could make a child feel as if she is not entitled to enjoy her childhood and hate herself for being the race she is. King could not do anything much about it as those were laws at the time. So his daughter could not go to the amusement park simply because she was black.

Central Political issues

King’s endeavors resulted to the 1963 protest on Washington for jobs and freedom where he gave his famous ‘I have dream speech’. The protest made some demands that included; an end to racial separation in self public schools, major civil liberties legislation, regulations eliminating racial segregation in work places, safe guard of civil rights workers from law enforcement cruelty.

Patterson (482-85) notes “a minimum wage for all workers $2, Washington, D.C. the march and the speech combined was successful and helped put civil rights at the top of the liberal political agenda and facilitated passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

Thanks to the march organized by Martin Luther King Jr. racial segregation came to an end and people of all races were treated equally and awarded the same perks everywhere they went.

This also allowed women to take part in the political arena and assist in decision making that involved all people in the society. Public schools also stooped racial discrimination and offered education to children of all races and graded the students according to their mental abilities not their skin colors.

According to Wendell (65-94), “Mary Wollstonecraft, in her influential writings, encouraged the society point of outlook and supported women to use their voices when it came to decision making separate from the decisions that were already made for the woman earlier.”

Wollstonecraft wanted ‘person hood’ for women and pointed out that if men were subjected to the same situations as women they would develop the same characteristics they used to discriminate against women. Wollstonecraft wanted society to recognize and acknowledge the woman as an individual and not part of a man.

She wanted to do away with the patriarchal system of society where men made all the decisions regarding all members of society and allow women to make decisions that affect them, themselves. She wanted a society where both men and women would come together and make decisions that would be of benefit to both genders and also show that women could be leaders in the society and they do not have to continue living in men’s shadow. (Patterson, 58)

Both King and Wollstonecraft, through their works brought about radical changes in the world as we know it. Women have been more active in decision making processes around the world and they hold high positions in their countries. For example; Hillary Clinton who is the Secretary of State in United States of America, Condoleezza Rice an African American who served as the 66th United States Secretary of State not forgetting President Sir leaf Johnson of Liberia just to mention but a few.

These women would not have occupied these offices of power without the feminist movement that Mary Wollstonecraft was a big part of and without the fight against racial segregation which was championed by Martin Luther King Jr.

Mary Wollstonecraft might see herself in the same kind of struggle as Martin Luther King Jr. because they were both fighting for acceptance in the community. The only different thing was their skin color and the fact that King was fighting for a whole race to be accepted and treated fairly not only a section of the race. Both of these personalities fought for the equity of their people and they got it, it may have taken a long time to come but victory in the end was theirs and where credit was due it was given.

Both these personalities although at different times and places knew how to get their concerns to the people through their speeches and writings, they got people to accept their views and start changing their ways of life in relation to the views of the discriminated against in the society.

They were patient and when the movements started forming they were there to act as leaders and also to support their works so that it may not be used negatively. They related to their causes because they had gone through the discrimination and segregation from their communities due to their skin color and gender.

In conclusion both Mary Wollstonecraft and Martin Luther King Jr. fought for what they believed in and they were relentless when it came to airing their views concerning feminism and racial segregation respectively.

Martin Luther King Jr. being a male African American not only fought for the rights and privileged of the African American male but also for the rights, privileges and freedom of women. Both these personalities opened a new world to the people both male and female, a world where women and men despite their race could together towards common good of all.

If feminism had not taken root or the fight for racial segregation had not been planted, where would the world be today? The world today owes so much to these tow personalities and for their influential works that opened the, mindsets of many people hence coming up with the world we have today. Even though there is still discrimination based on gender and race, it is far much better than the olden days as people form different races and gender can see eye to eye without a problem.

Works Cited

Abernathy, David. And the Walls Came Tumbling Down. New York: Harper & Row, 1989, Print.

Jacobus, Lee A. A World of Ideas: Essential Readings for College Writers. 4thy ed. Boston: Bedford press, 1994. Print

Patterson, James Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Print

Wendell, Susan. “A (Qualified) Defense of Liberal Feminism,” Hypatia 2, no. 2 (Summer 1987)

Wollstonecraft. Mary. A vindication of the rights of woman. New York: Penguin Classics, 1992. Print

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