It’s been nearly two months now that we have been reading monster free works, or so it would seem. Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman focuses on the importance of properly educating women and the improved value their contributions could have upon society. It is the perfect read for Women’s History Month, and even though Wollstonecraft would probably be encouraged by many of the opportunities women have today comparatively, we still struggle with attaining the enlightenment she talks about at length.
Wollstonecraft does speak of monsters–not of vampires, werewolves, zombies or any of the others we of the DJABC take a particular interest in. She speaks of the worst monster that has ever existed, the one that persists even today, men. “The many have always been enthralled by the few; and monsters, who scarcely have shewn and discernment of human excellence, have tyrannized over thousands of their fellow-creatures”
The struggle for power over others is what really makes monsters of men, but women are not exempt from being considered monsters, especially the ones ruled by vanity and feed their egos with the belief that they are owed some form of adoration. “Such a woman is not a more irrational monster than some of the Roman emperors, who were depraved by lawless power.”
The human monster is worse than any vampire, werewolf, or zombie. Man or woman, either can be monstrous when we buy into false ideas of beauty and power. Throughout A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Wollstonecraft speaks of the harm a lack of education and sense of human value can have on the whole of society. She speaks of virtue and strength and usefulness.
For the improvement of all of humanity, Wollstonecraft says that women must be educated with reason so that they can be valuable contributing members of society. Thinking critically, understanding logically the whys and hows is what really prompts our morality to assert itself. Without this we are governed by the pleasures of the moment without any regard or true understanding of the consequences, and that is what makes monsters of us all.
What are your thoughts on the human monster? Is education the true slayer of monsters? Or at least monstrous behavior?
*Photo: Adamastor by elbragon, obtained through Flickr.