Mary Wollstonecraft: Who is she and why is she an idol for Miss Universe 2023?
When asked to name her role model, Nicaraguan beauty Sheynnis Palacios declared it was British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft – an answer that won her the Miss Universe 2023 crown.
The question posed by judges at the pageant on Sunday was: “If you could live one year in another woman’s shoes, who would you choose and why?”
Palacios replied: “I would choose Mary Wollstonecraft because she opened the gap and gave an opportunity to many women. And what I would do, I would want that income gap to open up so women could work in any area that they choose to work in because there are no limitations for women. That was 1750. Now in 2023, we are making history.”
So, who is Mary Wollstonecraft?
She was a British writer, philosopher and advocate of women’s rights, who lived from 1759 to 1797. She is best known for her groundbreaking “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” – a 1792 feminist classic that is considered to be the foundation of feminist thought.
In the book, Wollstonecraft argued that women are not naturally inferior to men, but are perceived that way solely due to their lack of education and opportunity. She called for women to be given equal access to education and be granted the same rights and freedoms as men.
Wollstonecraft's ideas were radical for her time, and she faced fierce criticism from both men and women. However, her work had a profound impact on the development of feminist thought, and she is today considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of feminism.
In addition to her work on women's rights, Wollstonecraft also wrote novels, essays, and travelogues. She was a passionate and outspoken writer, and her work continues to be read and studied today.
Her daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, wrote the seminal science-fiction novel “Frankenstein”.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Anntonia Porsild, who won the runners-up crown, chose Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.
“I would choose Malala Yousafzai because I know the struggles that she had to deal with in order to get to where she is today. She had to fight for women’s education and fight for all women to be able to stand strong and be the change and lead by example. If I could choose anyone, that would be her.”