Fredonia Shakespeare Club discusses “Mary Wollstonecraft”

Dr. Minda Rae Amiran

The Fredonia Shakespeare Club met for its seventh regular meeting of the 2016-2017 year at the home of Mary Jane Covley Walker. President Judi Lutz Woods presided with 15 members present. President Woods welcomed the club members to the 131st year of the club.

The topic for the year is “Women Artists, Authors, Designers & Entrepreneurs.” Dr. Minda Rae Amiran   presented her paper on “Mary Wollstonecraft.”  Her paper is summarized as follows:

Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women (1791) may seem to us relatively tame in its focus on the education of women rather than on any political rights they might have and also in its justifying education as qualifying women for heaven rather than for positions on earth. However, it was shocking in its own time: first, because it questioned a fundamental principle of society, namely that by nature women were weak, loving, and emotional while men were strong and rational, and second, because of Wollstonecraft’s notorious life as an unmarried mother. The book sank from view until feminist scholars recovered it in the 20th century, but its message remains as relevant as ever: that arguments from “nature” can be hidden arguments for domination and that advocates for freedom and equality must contend not only with laws but with their own minds and the injustices of social convention.

After the presentation, Walker called the group to tea. Barbara Albert assisted at the tea table.

The next meeting of the Club was held Dec. 8, hosted by Florence McClelland where Woods presented a paper on Gloria Steinem.


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