Intellectual Developments Pertaining to Gender in Japan and Europe

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Intellectual developments pertaining to gender in Japan and Europe
Gender roles and the rights of women in society are fundamentally the same in 18th century Europe as in Japan at the turn of the century. In both societies women are looked down upon as the weaker counterparts of men; useful only for improving the lives of men. Because society believes women only live to improve the lives of men they feel that women don’t need to be educated, they don’t need to own property, and that women should suit the taste and needs of men. The idea that women are lesser than men in society and don’t deserve the same privileges and rights shaped the role of women in Europe and Japan. Women in Japan and Europe are forced to rely on men because they are …show more content…

Rousseau describes the natural society as a bond between a father and child where children remain attached to the father for preservation and the father takes care of them because he loves them. When the children no longer need the father for preservation the bond is broken and they stay together only voluntarily. Just like the children in Rousseau’s first society women in the time period and society married for security. In return for the security men offered women were expected to be good, obedient wives. When women are allowed to be independent and no longer need men for security they only marry voluntarily.
Yoshiko, a character from Sanshiro, is a perfect example of the natural society Rousseau describes with a woman in the place of the child. Yoshiko has the security of her brother’s money and home and therefore does not have to marry to gain security. Yoshiko will only marry if she finds a man she loves. Most women are not lucky enough to be as financially stable as Yoshiko and are controlled by their inability to be independent. Like Yoshiko Mineko, another character from Sanshiro, is a wealthy woman who lives with her brother. She is financially independent but Sanshiro is afraid to borrow money from her because she is “a girl, not an independent person” (Sōseki 146). Even though Mineko has her own money she does not have the right to use it as she wants.

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