Beauvoir's Theory Of Mill And The Second Wave Of Equality

1423 Words 6 Pages
However, de facto inequality within society makes equality difficult to achieve. Gender equality can be achieved according to Mill through changing the laws in regards to marital contracts and allowing women to own property, but for Beauvoir this is not sufficient. “Even when her rights are legally recognized in the abstract, long-standing custom prevents their full expression…”(Pg. 606). Beauvoir argues that the economic sphere perpetuates this inequality because men being the bourgeoisie have better opportunities, while the women, the proletariat, are exploited. Beauvoir’s recognition of gender equality through legal means is not sufficient sets the stage for the second wave of feminism.
The second wave of feminism begins approximately at
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For first wave theorists, such as Mill, the solution to gender inequality is by changing the laws. Mill argues laws in regards to martial contracts need to be altered. Mill believes that women are oppressed due to the unfair marital contracts. So, in order to achieve equality Mill argues that women should have the right to earn and own property while married or not married. First wave feminism solution to gender equality is largely through legal means of women’s rights. Second wave feminism’s solution is a combination of legal rights to women, and altering societal beliefs of women. Third wave feminism is a combination of the first and second wave, but it extends beyond women, and to all forms of …show more content…
The first wave and second wave theorists believe the root of gender inequality is men, and their idea of women. “Thus humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him; she is not regarded as an autonomous being.”(Pg. 603). Men define what a woman is according to first wave theorists and this ultimately leads to unjust laws and treatment of women. The problem of gender inequality goes beyond legal regards, and is rooted deeply in societal

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