In this first unit, one of the readings that really caught my attention was John Stuart Mill’s The Subjection of Women. In his essay, Mill’s presents a very compelling argument that the subordination of one sex to another is wrong and that there should be instead, perfect equality amongst the sexes. Having previously studied about gender inequality issues from another class, I have a broad understanding of how and why gender inequality has been perpetuated through various historical, political, and social contexts. Incorporating this knowledge as well as information learned through the readings and lectures, I hope to share my thoughts on the subjection of women and its relationship to slavery in this personal response paper. As an …show more content…
Women were always seen as being inferior or “weak” to men; that they couldn’t do the same things men did because they lacked the physical strength to do so. Because women were physically inferior, it became easy to oppress them due to this difference in power.
Throughout history, women were “conditioned” to believe that it was their duty to be obedient to men. That it was their “nature to live for others….and to have no life but their [men’s] affections” (Mill, 1995, pg.16). Thus, it seemed natural that women were to be subservient to the needs of the men in their lives. They gave up their lives in order to serve and be accepted by them. Mill, however, claims that this was not the case. The subjection of women was not brought upon by natural development, but rather, through customary power relationships that went on to become institutionalized in the same way that slavery was.
Although the subjection of women arose the same way as slavery and other forms of oppression, it differs from the fact that it does not occur by the rule of force but rather, by voluntary acceptance (Mill, 1995, pg.16). As mentioned earlier, women were “conditioned” to believe that it was their duty to be obedient to men; that it was natural to live their lives for them. In a way, a woman’s obedience to man
Throughout this course, we learned that women’s studies originated as a concern at the time that “women and men noticed the absence, misrepresentation, and trivialization of women [in addition to] the ways women were systematically excluded from many positions of power and authority” (Shaw, Lee 1). In the past, men had more privileges than women. Women have battled for centuries against certain patterns of inadequacy that all women experience. Every culture and customs has divergent female
Women and men are born equal. However, females are receiving unequal judgement and unfair treatment in the society, and thus Marilyn Frye brings up the notion of “oppression”, claiming that women are oppressed. Throughout the essay, I will first give the definition of Frye’s oppression and then list 5 critical qualifications to be considered oppressed. After that, I will explain my appreciation on Frye’s perspective on elaborating oppression using the “bird cage” analogy. I will support Frye’s “double-bind” argument for sexism followed by flaws in the argument. Furthermore, I will point out some social group are mistakenly placed inside or outside the parameters of oppression, once the theory of oppression extends over other marginal groups.
America by far is the most diverse country on the face of the earth. America today is known for freedom, equality, democracy, and a defender against tyranny. The foundation of American values lay in a belief of independence, nationalism, capitalism, and religion. However, many conflicts have arisen over these values in the past. Capitalism and other characteristics have made America great, but they have brought about their own set of inequalities. Those inequalities have deep roots in race, culture, gender, and wealth. In the 1800s two of the biggest conflict lies with the issue of slavery and women’s rights.
Oppression has been a tactic used for thousands of years in order to conquer, enslave, and control those who are different from the social norm. But one group that has been and continues to be oppressed is women. Women make up half of the population and yet men were able to manipulate their lives and create a society that prevented them from being treated fairly and equally, a problem many still face today. The male dominated society that has been present for centuries can be seen entirely throughout the nineteenth century. The unhealthy dynamic between men and women can be seen in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, and Margaret Fullers Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Not only did the oppression of women present itself in literature of the time period, but it also emerged through clothing, seen in both stories and in real life. The mistreatment and misconceptions men had and continue to have about women can be shown within the literature, clothing styles, and dynamic between men and women of the nineteenth century.
Slave as defined by the dictionary means that a slave is a person who is the property of and wholly subject to another; a bond servant. So why is it that every time you go and visit a historical place like the Hampton-Preston mansion in Columbia South Carolina, the Lowell Factory where the mill girls work in Massachusetts or the Old town of Williamsburg Virginia they only talk about the good things that happened at these place, like such things as who owned them, who worked them, how they were financed and what life was like for the owners. They never talk about the background information of the lower level people like the slaves or servants who helped take care and run these places behind the scenes.
Gender inequality can be explained using the conflict theory which is a common agreement that men have been dominant throughout many societies for many years (Joan Acker, 1989). It is believed that women are weak, while men are strong. Most women have been enslaved by men throughout
The Subjection of Women looks at the society and its struggles in adjusting to an environment where women are treated equally. John Stuart Mill’s approach to changing society comes from the viewpoint that after many years of submission and discrimination, women should be treated equally. This conclusion comes from a reflection on past classes of people that were similarly oppressed. Mill looks at similar situations throughout history where one certain group was dominant over another submissive group such as free vs. slave, white vs. black, etc. Mill states “but if the principle is true, we ought to act as if we believed it, and not to ordain that to be born a girl instead of a boy, any more than to be born black instead of white, or a
The next requirement for being a “true woman” was submissiveness. According to society men were superior to women by “God’s appointment.” If they acted otherwise they “tampered with the order of the Universe” (Welter 105). A “true woman” would not question this idea because she already understands her place. Grace Greenwood explained to the women of the Nineteenth Century, “True feminine genius is ever timid, doubtful, and clingingly dependant; a perpetual childhood.” Even in the case of an abusive husband, women were sometimes told to stay quiet
The use of slavery throughout history has been used to systemically oppress both genders by denying them their human rights and subjecting them to a life of servitude as a piece of someone else’s property. Even though both sexes experienced the mistreatment and cruelty of slavery, a women fate's in the slave system can be deemed far worse than a man’s. Areas in history such as Sub-Saharan Africa, North America and the Caribbean are a few instances where this oppressive system to control women as commodities can be seen. Sexism and gender roles enforced by both men and women under the institution of slavery was used to oppress women on a socio-economic, and inhumane level.
Slavery, especially in America, has been an age old topic of riveting discussions. Specialist and other researchers have been digging around for countless years looking for answers to the many questions that such an activity provided. They have looked into the economics of slavery, slave demography, slave culture, slave treatment, and slave-owner ideology (p. ix). Despite slavery being a global issue, the main focus is always on American slavery. Peter Kolchin effectively illustrates in his book, American Slavery how slavery evolved alongside of historical controversy, the slave-owner relationship, how slavery changed over time, and how America compared to other slave nations around the world.
Mill makes a very strong argument that the position women have in society is not the only possible way to structure societal hierarchy. The reason it seems unnatural to change its structure, he claims, is because it is uncustomary.
Women face two key forms of oppression in this world, powerlessness and exploitation. These two forms fall into Iris M. Young’s ideas of oppression in her article “Five Faces of Oppression”. The definition of cultural imperialism and exploitation used in this essay are taken from Young’s essay. Cultural imperialism is where the dominant customs and morals of a society are rendered as the norm and those who are not in the norm are considered others. Exploitation is a form of oppression where a class structure is present and this class structure includes a dominant group of people who are in power of a subordinate group. Two authors, John Stuart Mill and Simone de Beauvoir, talk about how the oppression of women is not due to nature. It is rather, in Mill’s view, due to a premodern law of force which divides men and women between the strong and the weak. Beauvoir sees this oppression of women as a result from socialization, which conformed women to become immanent. Both these authors have reasonable arguments and have a similar understanding that the inferiority of women is not from the simple nature of being women. Other factors come into play when understanding why women are oppressed, and both authors recognize the fact that society and old habits must change for the equality of women and men to become a reality.
Throughout history women have been overlooked and left in the shadows of the powerful men who controlled them. In Pre-Colonial time being oppressed, beaten, and raped was a method to train women to be domesticated. During the epoch of industrialization women in lower class societies would prove to be essential for the economic growth of America. Chapter 6 THE INTIMATELY OPPRESSED by Howard Zinn points out important distinctions between societies that seem to make women subservient in their roles as wives. In fact, he states “the very invisibility of women” and how they suffered double oppression as both slaves and women, is a sign of their submerged status. He also restates the Native Indian communal
The simple fact is that everybody has heard of the Underground Railroad, but not everyone knows just what it was. First of all, it wasn=t underground, and it wasn=t even a railroad. The term AUnderground Railroad,@ actually refers to a path along which escaping slaves were passed from farmhouse to storage sheds, from cellars to barns, until they reached safety in the North. One of the most widely known abolitionists in history is a slave by the name of Harriet Tubman. She is best known as the conductor of the Underground Railroad and risked her life to help free nearly 300 slaves. The primary importance of the Underground Railroad was the ongoing fight to abolish slavery, the start of the Civil War,