Summary of "The Subjection of Women" by Mill

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Lee A.


The Subjection of Women has both detailed argumentation and passion in Mill's bitter opposition to the social and legal inequalities commonly imposed on women by a Patriarchal culture. Mill presents the practical difficulty of arguing against the opinion men are presumed to be naturally superiority to women. Mill compares, the domination of men over women to the slavery, which is nothing more than the display or physical power.

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 states that physical strength and violence should not be tolerated in the matter of male domination over women. This includes society and especially marriage.

Mill also points out that throughout history it has been said that males 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 alternative.

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. Mill said if society really wanted to discover what was truly natural in gender it should establish a free market for all of the services women perform. This would ensure fair economic return for their contributions to the general welfare. Only then would practical choices be likely to reflect genuine interests.

When it came to marriage, Mill stated that in patriarchal culture, many women are trapped by social expectations in the traditional forms. He compares marriage to bondage and yes, slavery. Mill saw no reason why either partner in a marriage should dominate the other. Mill indeed was a man of true equality between the sexes.