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The Subjection of Women by John Stuart Mill Research Papers

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The Subjection of Women: John Stewart Mill’s last work in which he explored the notion that the case for ending the subjection of women is daunting yet his contemporary circumstances made it propitious for their emancipation. Women are equal to men under the law – is it not so?  We have read all about the successes of the Suffragettes in the early decades of the century just past, as well as the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1970s.  The Subjection of Women by John Stuart MillSurely we’ve come a long way, baby?  However desperately we apply these trite salves to our aching female personae, the truth is that we have made considerably less progress than we have been led by men to believe.  Though this writer believes that such is the case across various social and political and legal dimensions, your paper will want to address the institution of marriage to support her argument.  

Mill opines in The Subjection of Women the following philosophy:

  1. Modernity supposedly differs from antiquity in that an individual is no longer born into a station from which she or he has no hope of escaping.
  2. Mill concludes his argument for the equality of women by reiterating that women are not inherently different from men.
  3. Mill protests against his own social reality, which renders the female a lone exception.

“Women, we are told, are not capable of resisting their personal partialities: their judgment in grave affairs is warped by their sympathies and antipathies. Assuming it to be so, it is still to be proved that women are oftener misled by their personal feelings than men…”.   

Considerable space and attention are given to the female role within the marriage relationship specifically.  Superficially, it might indeed appear that we as women have made considerable progress since Mill’s time.  We can own property, enter into contracts, take advantage of education opportunities, and so forth.  Our husbands are legally precluded from brutalizing and enslaving us – behaviors that were not prohibited under English law in the nineteenth century.  Yet our collective “gut” tells us that we may have been bamboozled – again.

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