Instructor notes about Wollstonecraft Q:
W. suggested that "education" of women (whatever that may have involved) was completely eclipsed by social prejudice and perceptions of a woman's worth/potential. Because that was so, she explained, too many women turned to frivolous pursuits of spending all their time making themselves outwardly appealing--a foolish pastime in making for, among other things, terrible mothering and rearing of children (I sensed a little dig at men in W. here) and reinforcement of society’s boxed-up ideas about women. I believe what W. was saying was that women needed to be seen beyond sexual beings--either for cheap sex (or the suggestion of it, I would add) or for the understood role of mothering--if, that is, women are to become what they are truly created to be (successful, interesting, compassionate, rational, etc). Therefore, it seems "education" for women would entail teaching them skills, to some extent, typically assigned to men, if for nothing else than to bring better moms into the world, though there clearly are other benefits as well.
In a practical sense, "exploit" could mean, if someone gave you a box of chocolates, you could be said to have "exploited" them richly if you gave a couple away to a homeless person, reboxed a few in a beautiful package for a little surprise for your mom, and parceled out the rest for a treat to yourself each day this week. :) It doesn't HAVE to be negative. However, usually, "exploit" has a negative mood/connotation to it. It means to take advantage of for selfish/personal gain and implies stealing or robbing. Does that make sense? So when women exploit themselves, they are robbing themselves of self-respect and honor by resorting to and/or generally relying on their sexuality for gain (therefore, from my standpoint, they are everything W. wishes to avoid, everything but acting "educated" even if they supposedly have BA degrees, etc, everything that naysayers--that tout women as dumb, weak, and pathetic--want them to be). To some extent, W. contends, that same exploitation can be applied to gender-related ideas about getting married if society says that’s all a girl’s worth. It is quite different, however, if that is a conscious choice that a woman makes. She implies it should be a free choice, voluntarily made by each individual woman. This can be related to those who used to put down Blacks as not being worthy of reaching professional skills at university--they should stick to carpentry, nannying, etc. It boxed in their potential, as if one man could decide that for another: it's simply untrue (and exceedingly destructive when enforced by law). This is what W. was flagging. Of course, there are sexual differences that do not exist between races, so at some point, the comparison falls apart. W. concludes that men really have nothing to fear in educating women, at least they will contribute more rationality to the home front (to say nothing of elsewhere).
Re: definitions. The more specific and clear you can be, the better. Just as I did above, I sort of explained what I meant by certain ideas or terms, so they can be convincing, plain. Does that make sense? If you're not discussing an idea, however, by no means feel like you have to! (Maybe that was obvious. :))