A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft (+)
Wollstonecraft has a simple view: women are essential in society and men are not recognizing that fact. Women raise the children and are the companions of the men. They are far more than ornaments or purposeless figures.
I was intrigued during class when a student mentioned the Biblical story of Judith and Holofernes. An Assyrian general, Holofernes, took over the city of Bethulia. One of the citizens, Judith, devised a plan to take back the city. Judith was a cunning woman and easily made her way into the general’s chambers. After getting him extremely drunk, she cut off his head with a sword.
The painting captures your attention. There is pure fear on Holofernes’s face. Judith seems calm and determined to do what is best for her city. I find myself reminded of Wollstonecraft. She knows that women are fully capable of acting like men. This act, beheading another person, is shocking and gruesome. It goes against society’s definition of what a lady is. Wollstonecraft wants women to push boundaries; she wants them to ignore standards and preconceived ideas.