Notes from a think tank

Mary Wollstonecraft and Others

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Mary Wollstonecraft

and Others

9.1 This woman considers all men as soulless torturers of women.
Text COM:1741665 (138 lines) [W1]
From: Krishna Kirti (das) HDG (Baltimore - USA)
Date: 03-Oct-98 19:24
To: GHQ [136]
Comment: Text COM:1742026 by Shyamasundara ACBSP
Subject: OPN Mary Wollstonecraft, the pioneer of the modern feminist movement
For those interested, I would like to point out that much (if not all) of our modern feminist thinking has strong roots in Mary Wollstonecrafts “Vindication of the Rights of Woman.” c. 1792. Mary Wollstonecraft
(henceforward MW) was the mother of Mary Shelley, the author of “Frankenstein.” I would recommend anyone who wants a better understanding of modern feminist thought to read MW’s Vindication.

I have included below some quotes from MW’s Vindication. Although some of them may appear quite demonic, when seen in context, they are not to be

taken simply as incoherent outburst of a frustrated woman. Rather, she had
an exceptional sharp mind; her presentation of her thesis was so potent that
her book created general indignation wherever it was sold. The effect was
such that other authors used to write about how young women who read MW’s Vindication became completely immoral.

Her book is a reaction to the hypocritical morality of the time--materialism

sanctioned by society and by religion. Implicit in her thesis is that somehow it has come to pass that man has been ordained by providence to predominate over women. She admits that this is indeed the fact, but then
she also concludes that women can be freed of being the slaves of man’s
lecherous cravings through education. In fact, in stark contrast to what feminism has become today, she observes (but doesn’t persue the idea to it’s
logical conclusion) that only those who abstained from associating with the
opposite sex were truly virtuous:

> In tracing the causes that, in my opinion, have degraded woman, I have

> confined my observations to such as universally act upon the morals and
> manners of the whole sex, and to me it appears clear that they all spring
> from want of understanding. Whether this arise from a physical or
> accidental weakness of faculties, time alone can determine; for I shall not
> lay any great stress on the example of a few women 14 who, from having
> received a masculine education, have acquired courage and resolution; I
> only contend that the men who have been placed in similar situations,
> have acquired a similar character—I speak of bodies of men, and that men
> of genius and talents have started out of a class, in which women have
> never yet been placed. (Vindication Ch. 4 para 81)

Earlier in the chapter she quotes Lord Bacon in a similar vein:

>When I treat of the peculiar duties of women, as I should treat of the
>peculiar duties of a citizen or father, it will be found that I do not mean to >insinuate that they should be taken out of their families, speaking of the >majority. ‘He that hath wife and children,’ says Lord Bacon, ‘hath given >hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of >virtue or mischief. Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the >public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men.’ I say the
>same of women. But, the welfare of society is not built on extraordinary >exertions; and were it more reasonably organized, there would be still less >need of great abilities, or heroic virtues. (Vindication Ch. 4 para 39)

But again, she doesn’t pay this thought much regard in her book, instead,

she postulates that the very education that trains a woman to be devoted to
her husband, to gratify his every base desire, is the cause of her loss of
dignity and her misery:

> Noble morality! and consistent with the cautious prudence of a little soul

> that cannot extend its views beyond the present minute division of
> existence. If all the faculties of woman’s mind are only to be cultivated as
> they respect her dependence on man; if, when she obtains a husband she
> has arrived at her goal, and meanly proud is satisfied with such a paltry
> crown, let her grovel contentedly, scarcely raised by her employments
> above the animal kingdom; but, if she is struggling for the prize of her high > calling, let her cultivate her understanding without stopping to consider
> what character the husband may have whom she is destined to marry. Let > her only determine, without being too anxious about present happiness, to
> acquire the qualities that ennoble a rational being, and a rough inelegant
> husband may shock her taste without destroying her peace of mind. She
> will not model her soul to suit the frailties of her companion, but to bear
> with them: his character may be a trial, but not an impediment to virtue.
> (Vindication Ch. 4 para 51)

The last part of the paragraph is somewhat inspiring, actually. However, her

view of education is the same as those of the materialistic men she is speaking out against. Ultimately, at the end of her treatise, she recommends that social and civil parity will ameliorate women’s miseries:

> Asserting the rights which women in common with men ought to contend

> for, I have not attempted to extenuate their faults; but to prove them to be > the natural consequence of their education and station in society. If so, it is > reasonable to suppose that they will change their character, and correct
> their vices and follies, when they are allowed to be free in a physical,
> moral, and civil sense. (Vindication, Ch 13 para 75)

And to end her book, she portrays men in a society of social disparity as

soulless torturers.

> Let woman share the rights and she will emulate the virtues of man; for

> she must grow more perfect when emancipated, or justify the authority
> that chains such a weak being to her duty.—If the latter, it will be
> expedient to open a fresh trade with Russia for whips; a present which a
> father should always make to his son-in-law on his wedding day, that a
> husband may keep his whole family in order by the same means; and
> without any violation of justice reign, wielding this scepter, sole master of
> his house, because he is the only being in it who has reason:—the divine,
> indefeasible earthly sovereignty breathed into man by the Master of the
> universe. Allowing this position, women have not any inherent rights to
> claim, and by the same rule, their duties vanish, for rights and duties are
> inseparable. (Vindication Ch. 13 para 76)

Sound familiar?

In effect, because MW (who in argument resembles our present day ISKCON
feminists) doesn’t have a spiritual alternative, her recommendations that
women liberate themselves from male dominence by civil parity, only creates further problems. The reason is simple: socially, physically, mentally, men and women are different.

Today, America and the rest of the world is experiencing the fruit of Mary

Wollstonecraft’s fundamentally flawed ideas. Replacing mammon with mammon has only resulted in further misery. America’s current president is an excellent example. In the name of non-discrimination, women who thought they could rub shoulders with men have forgotten what happens when a woman “rubs” a “man’s shoulders.” The results have been infamy, insult, dishonour, and broken marriages.

MW takes it for granted that men (except for those who avoid women

altogether) are only after sense gratification and that women are only a
means to this end. Although she speaks of the need for women to acquire an
education for the purpose of attaining “higher” goals, she does not specify
what those “higher” goals are, except that women should have civil freedom
(read “gratification”) equal to that of a man. This is also what feminists
(ISKCON or otherwise) instinctively assume.

Therefore, in order for our presentation to to take the the wind out of

feminist sails, it must stress on the Vedic ideal of restraint in all statuses of life. Although men are seemingly given more social freedom and privilege, it has to be shown that it is not for his sense gratification. If a man is not acting for his own gratification (which can also be construed as acting for prestige, name, fame), then where is the question that women are being exploited?

ISKCON femists assume that those who are advocating the strict adherance to

varnashram prinicples are doing so to exploit women--therefore they reject

Your servant, Krishna-kirti das

(Text COM:1741665) -----------------------------------------

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