Analysis Of The Subjection Of Women By John Stuart Mill

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John Stuart Mill explores the possibilities and barriers that exist in the expansion of rights for women in his piece “The Subjection of Women”. The main thesis of Mill’s paper is that men and women should operate on a system of perfect equality, an example of the sameness approach. He argues that more rights and opportunities for women would benefit the happiness of all people. A main argument in Mill’s work is that men and women should be created perfectly equal in order for everyone to attain happiness and fulfillment. He argues that the nature of men and women do not make them more apt for the roles they currently fulfill. Mill says that people are blind to the power social structure has on forming human character. He believes that if women …show more content…
He does not recognize that the society he wants women to participate in needs to be fundamentally changed. Mill believes that simply removing the barriers to women in a patriarchal society will allow them to flourish. This is an invalid conclusion because it devalues feminine qualities. Mill imagines a female being we cannot imagine because women have been so restricted from embracing their true nature. He does not however consider that a women’s version of success may not be identical to that of a man’s. Society’s very foundation is built on the idea that obtaining wealth and power leads to happiness and equalizing men and women will not solve this deep problem.
Other theorists such as Iris M. Young take a difference approach in their feminist theorizing. Young’s piece “Humanism, Gynocentrism, and Feminist Politics” discusses how the sameness approach exhibited by Mill “consists of freeing women from the confines of traditional femininity” and that Mill would see femininity as stunting women’s growth. Gynocentric feminists like Young say this ideology is damaging because it devalues women’s labors and feminine values and upholds masculinity as the norm; a standard women and even some men cannot or do not wish to

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