The Subjection of Women and Slavery Essay

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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
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