The Subjection of Women looks at the society and its struggles in adjusting to an environment where women are treated equally. John Stuart Mill’s approach to changing society comes from the viewpoint that after many years of submission and discrimination, women should be treated equally. This conclusion comes from a reflection on past classes of people that were similarly oppressed. Mill looks at similar situations throughout history where one certain group was dominant over another submissive group such as free vs. slave, white vs. black, etc. Mill states “but if the principle is true, we ought to act as if we believed it, and not to ordain that to be born a girl instead of a boy, any more than to be born black instead of white, or a commoner instead of a nobleman, shall decide the person’s position through all life—shall interdict people from all the more elevated social positions, and from all, except a few, respectable occupations” (Mill, 634). To fight against oppression women have used other methods such as through writing. The work of these women have led up to them fighting for the right to vote. Mill also disagrees with the opposite way in which children are raised. Females are raised in way in which they think that they must do everything in the total opposite to their male counterparts; mostly they are taught how to submit to the authority of males. Depending on how women show off their level of submission increases their sexual appeal to men. Mill theorizes that women increase in sexual attraction when they are submissive and give up their freedom to men. Women’s rights and safety decline because of the amount of power men have over them. Even if women are severely mistreated or abused women will still decide to stay with their male counterparts. Government laws over women are made to not allow women to rebel against them. Mill also warns men of their ignorance of history. If men want to understand women better than they do then they must improve the treatment of women with total equality; oppression and subjection must be cast out. Laws and force come from not only the government and religion but from men as well. In the case of religion and government, they are both ran by men, fundamentally men use these two establishments to further their own interests and make up rules, commandments, and laws to force women into marital “enslavement”. Mill lived in an era when women were seen as a lower class than men by law and custom. They were expected to do nothing more but to marry, bear children, and give up much of their time to their families. In most cases they could not pursue a formal education, own property, vote, or even seek a divorce from an abusive husband. Women lived by having to follow the rules of their “masters,” their husbands.Mill’s case for women’s equality reflects his Utilitarian roots. The subjection of women, he argues, is not only “wrong in itself” but “one of the chief hindrances to human improvement.” By denying women the same opportunities as men, he says, society not only hinders the development of roughly half the population but denies itself the benefit of their talents. The fact that men are typically superior to women in physical strength leads to the assumption that men are superior to women in all areas, despite the fact that there is no proof to support this claim. In this respect, Mill says, the unfair situation of women matches that of slaves. Mill argues that the progress of society requires that all people, men and women alike, not be imprisoned in the “fixed social position” in which they are born but instead gain chances to develop their talents and to follow their desires as long as they do not pose a threat to the rights of others.Mill continues to argue that physical force, as the means of obtaining and maintaining control over other human beings, has been rejected in every other area of political life. Mill believes that physical strength and violence should not allow men to dominate over women. This includes the society and especially in marriage. Mill also points out that throughout history it has been said that male domination is natural. That even in nature the male species dominates over the female species. Mill finds that there is no information to support this statement. The social discrimination, between men and women only is made to seem natural because it has been known to be throughout history, because there has never been allowed any other possibility. Mill’s also viewed that men who are aware of women’s thinking being severely limited are in no position to talk confidently on the subject of what women want. When dealing with marriage, Mill states that in society that is dominated by men, many women are trapped by expectations socially in the traditional forms. He goes on to compare marriage to slavery. Mill does not see a reason why in a marriage either partner should be dominant over the other.Even in the present society the subjection and unfair treatment of women still exists. One example being the job market. Men are still achieving higher salaries for the same jobs as their female counterparts.Many studies have shown that women earn about 10-30% less than their male counterparts. Women also have less opportunities for advancement in the workplace. Many times when women have children they are expected to put their families first putting a halt to their careers. Up to 88% of women from the ages of 30 to 39 see their earnings decline when they have children.
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