44 Astonishing Mary Astell Quotes that Spoke of Gender Equality Earlier Than You Think
Mary Astell (12 November 1666 – 11 May 1731), considered “the first English Feminist”, is a philosopher that has been recently reevaluated for her influence in the education of women. This is a selection of the best Mary Astell quotes that are really worth noticing in an era where gender equality is gradually conquered.
Even though the actual world “feminism” didn’t exist until much later, the concept that women were oppressed in a society that favored men, was very clear to her and she advocated the radical, back then, concept that women and men have the same kind of soul and the same kind of intellect. In this endeavor she had to oppose established intellectual authorities ranging from Aristotle to John Locke. A religious woman herself, she strongly believed that there is no-scriptural or spiritual notion of the inferiority of Women.
All the books that Astell wrote were first printed anonymously. They propose her ideas about the education of women and marriage among other things. Her most famous work is “A Serious Proposal to the Ladies: parts I and II”.
Read some of her most quotable thoughts to find out more about the ideas of this remarkable pioneer who, along with other people, paved the way to our present understanding of gender equality.
Table of Contents
- Mary Astell Quotes That Contributed To Our Understanding of Gender Equality
- Mary Astell Quotes From Her Work A Serious Proposal To The Ladies
- Mary Astell Quotes From Her Book Some Reflections Upon Marriage
- Mary Astell Quotes About Women’s Education and Political Action
- Religious Quotes By Mary Astell
Mary Astell Quotes That Contributed To Our Understanding of Gender Equality
Introduction to all quotes or captions referring to the first heading.
- If all men are born free, why is it that all women are born slaves? Mary Astell
- Truth is strong, and sometime or other will prevail. Mary Astell
- Fetters of gold are still fetters, and the softest lining can never make them so easy as liberty. Mary Astell
- If God had not intended that Women shou’d use their Reason, He wou’d not have given them any, ‘for He does nothing in vain. Mary Astell
- We must think what we say, and mean what we profess. Mary Astell
- How can a man respect his wife when he has a contemptible opinion of her and her Sex? Mary Astell
- Although it has been said by men of more wit than wisdom, and perhaps more malice than either, that women are naturally incapable of acting prudently, or that they are necessarily determined to folly, I must by no means grant it. Mary Astell
- Why is slavery so much condemn’d and strove against in one case, and so highly applauded and held so necessary and so sacred in another? Mary Astell
- The span of life is too short to be trifled away in unconcerning and unprofitable Matters. Mary Astell
- Women are from their very infancy debarred those advantages with the want of which they are afterwards reproached. Mary Astell
- That man indeed can never be good at heart, who is full of himself and his own endowments. Mary Astell
- He who will be just, must be forc’d to acknowledge, that neither Sex are always in the right. Mary Astell
- A man ought no more to value himself for being wiser than a woman, if he owes his advantage to a better education, than he ought to boast of his courage for beating a Man when his hands were bound. Mary Astell
- Women need not take up with mean things, since (if they are not wanting to themselves) they are capable of the best. Mary Astell
- None of us whether Men or Women but have so good an Opinion of our own Conduct as to believe we are fit, if not to direct others, at least to govern our selves. Mary Astell
- The Steps to Folly as well as Sin are gradual, and almost imperceptible, and when we are once on the Decline, we go down without taking notice on’t. Mary Astell
Mary Astell Quotes From Her Work A Serious Proposal To The Ladies
Introduction to all quotes or captions referring to the second heading.
- How can you be content to be in the world like tulips in a garden, to make a fine show, and be good for nothing? Mary Astell, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Part 1
- Your glass will not do you half so much service as a serious reflection on your own minds. Mary Astell, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Part 1
- We ought as much as we can to endeavour the Perfecting of our Beings, and that we be as happy as possibly we may. Mary Astell, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Part 2
- Seeing it is ignorance, either habitual or actual, which is the cause of all Sin, how are they like to escape this, who are bred up in that? That therefore women are unprofitable to most, and a plague and dishonour to some Men is not much to be regretted on account of the Men, because ’tis the product of their own folly, in denying them the benefits of an ingenuous and liberal Education. Mary Astell, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Part 1
- To introduce poor children into the world, and neglect to fence them against the temptations of it, and so leave them expos’d to temporal and eternal miseries, is a wickedness, for which I want a name; ’tis beneath brutality; the beasts are better natur’d for they take care of their off-spring, till they are capable of caring for themselves. Mary Astell, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Part 1
Mary Astell Quotes From Her Book Some Reflections Upon Marriage
Introduction to all quotes or captions referring to the third heading.
- Unhappy is that Grandeur which makes us too great to be good; and that Wit which sets us at a distance from true Wisdom. Mary Astell, Some Reflections upon Marriage
- If absolute sovereignty be not necessary in a state, how comes it to be so in a family? Or if in a family why not in a state? Since no reason alleg’d for the one that will not hold more strongly than the other… If all men are born free, how is it that women are born slaves? As they must be if the being subjected to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of men, be the perfect condition of slavery? Mary Astell, Some Reflections upon Marriage
- But, alas! what poor Woman is ever taught that she should have a higher Design than to get her a Husband? Mary Astell, Some Reflections upon Marriage
- If none were to marry, but men of strict virtue and honour, I doubt the World would be but thinly peopled. Mary Astell, Some Reflections upon Marriage
- A woman indeed can’t properly be said to choose, all that is allowed her, is to refuse or accept what is offered. Mary Astell, Some Reflections upon Marriage
- If a Woman can neither Love nor Honour, she does ill in promising to Obey. Mary Astell, Some Reflections upon Marriage
- Marry for Love, an Heroick Action, which makes a mighty noise in the World, partly because of its rarity, and partly in regard of its extravagancy. Mary Astell, Some Reflections upon Marriage
- He who does not make Friendship the chief inducement to his choice [in a wife], and prefer it before any other consideration, does not deserve a good wife, and therefore should not complain if he goes without one. Mary Astell, Some Reflections upon Marriage
- That mistaken Self-Love that reigns in the most of us, both Men and Women, that over-good Opinion we have of our selves, and desire that others should have of us, makes us swallow every thing that looks like Respect, without examining how wide it is from what it appears to be. Mary Astell, Some Reflections upon Marriage
- The scum of the People are most Tyrannical when they get the Power, and treat their Betters with the greatest Insolence. Mary Astell, Some Reflections upon Marriage
- Superiors don’t rightly understand their own interest when they attempt to put out their Subjects Eyes to keep them Obedient. A Blind Obedience is what a Rational Creature shou’d never Pay, nor wou’d such an one receive it did he rightly understand its Nature. Mary Astell, Some Reflections upon Marriage
Mary Astell Quotes About Women’s Education and Political Action
Introduction to all quotes or captions referring to the fourth heading.
- We ought as much as we can to endeavour the perfecting of our beings, and that we be as happy as possibly we may. Mary Astell
- Ignorance and a narrow education lay the foundation of vice, and imitation and custom rear it up. Mary Astell
- We all agree that its fit to be as Happy as we can, and we need no instructor to teach us this knowledge, ’tis born with us, and is inseparable from our being, but we very much need to be inform’d what is the true way to happiness. Mary Astell
- To plead for the oppress’d and to defend the weak seem’d to me a generous undertaking; for tho’ it may be secure, ’tis not always honourable to run over to the strongest party. Mary Astell
- Hitherto I have courted truth with a kind of romantick passion, in spite of all difficulties and discouragements: for knowledge is thought so unnecessary an accomplishment for a woman, that few will give themselves the trouble to assist us in the attainment of it. Mary Astell
Religious Quotes By Mary Astell
- The Soul debases her self, when she sets her affections on any thing but her creator. Mary Astell
- For certainly there cannot be a higher pleasure than to think that we love and are beloved by the most amiable and best Being. Mary Astell
- Certain I am, that Christian religion does no where allow rebellion. Mary Astell
- God is His own design and end, and that there is no other worthy of Him. Mary Astell
- None of God’s creatures absolutely consider’d are in their own nature contemptible; the meanest fly, the poorest insect has its use and vertue. Mary Astell
- It is not the Head but the Heart that is the Seat of Atheism. Mary Astell
Conclusion and/or Closing paragraph.
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