Women’s rights were a major issue during the Victorian age, for they were not seen as equal people to men. Women were perceived as housewives only and nothing more than that. It was very evident to see how women’s rights were not equal to those of men throughout the Victorian age. Pieces of literature that symbolized women’s rights consisted of “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” by Mary Wollstonecraft and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. These two pieces strongly uphold the stereotype of women in this time period by showing the struggle that they faced.
First, in “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman”, one is able to see how the rights of women made them inferior to men. For instance, their looks are the most important concern about men. An example of this is seen in chapter two, which Wollstonecraft states, “Women are told from their infancy, and taught by the example of their mothers, that a little knowledge of human weakness, justly termed cunning, softness of temper, outward obedience, and a scrupulous attention to a puerile kind of propriety, will obtain for them the protection of man; and should they be beautiful, everything else is needless” (217). From this quote, it is extremely evident that the main concern is looks. This is extremely degrading to women because they are just seen as objects of beauty. These men do not care about what they are capable of doing, yet only care about their looks and the rest of what they bring as a person is completely useless and unnecessary. As well, chapter two talks about how woman are rarely independent people. This clearly shows how women are subordinate to men because they are unable to rely on themselves, yet they have to rely on others. This idea exemplifies that women are not nearly as strong enough as men in order to support themselves. Writers such as Rousseau and Dr. Gregory wish women remained practical slaves. They believe that these women should stay in their homes and be the beautiful and pure women that they are supposed to be and nothing else. Wollstonecraft talks about how Rousseau and Dr. Gregory depict women by expressing, “All the writers who have written on the subject of female education and manners from Rousseau to Dr. Gregory, have contributed to render women more artificial, weak characters; and, consequently more useless members of society” (219). This shows that many writers at the time saw women as very useless people and as slaves. Since women are weak characters they are unable to do the tasks that men are capable of doing, yet are only able to do tasks such as cleaning, cooking, etc. Since they are not capable of doing any hard labor like the men, Rousseau and Dr. Gregory believed that the usage of women keeping them as house slaves was extremely practical.
In a similar manner, from Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, the creature itself is portrayed similar to women. The creature in this novel was similar to women because they were both more than what they were seen as by society, yet suffered from the stereotypes that were put upon them.
In the Victorian age, the stereotype of women was that they were seen as nothing more than housewives and objects. The creature in Frankenstein, who is eight feet tall, extremely strong, and put together by old body parts is abandoned by his creator. The creature tries to assimilate himself into society; however, everyone shuns him because he is seen as a freak show. Because of the creature’s physical outlandishness, he is not taken seriously. In reality, he is a gentle and caring person. Like women, if they were asked to do what was considered a man’s job back then; they would be laughed at and not taken seriously. For instance, when people would see him they would yell, attack him, or run away. This is seen from an excerpt in Frankenstein when he enters a village, “The whole village was roused some fled, some attacked me, until grievously bruised by…