In the essay, The Subjection on Women, the author John Stuart Mill describes his views on the inequality between men and women. He gives his opinion on why men have so much power over women and why this occurs. John Stuart Mill describes a principle and system that regulates the social relations between women and men. The principle Mill proposes is the legal subordination of one sex to the other.
He is referring to the dominance that men have over women. In 1869, the Parliament in Europe gave little rights to women that created a tremendous gap between men and women. Men would be given the final say on what women could and could not do. The system that regulates the social relations between men and women was the system of inequality. Mill wrote that inequality was not forced on women, but was the way of life since the start of society. Mill argued that even though women voluntarily accepted male domination the majority of women were against it.
The only way Mill said that women living in the mid-nineteenth century in Europe could get their opinions known was through written works. The main argument women were trying to make was to be as educated and given the same opportunities that men received. Women wanted to obtain jobs in high positions; jobs that required men to listen to women and follow the orders that women gave to men. According to Mill, men wanted women to tend to their needs without forcing them. A wife who seemed to be forced to serve their husband was an undesirable one. Education played a big role in why women agreed to this lifestyle.
Mill said that the government educated women; which told women that it is a woman's job to live their lives for other people. It was this type of education that brainwashed both men and women for many years. There are certain aspects of a mans personality that makes them take advantage of a women's dependencies. According to Mill, the first aspect of a mans personality was the natural attraction to a woman. Mill stated that men also liked the fact that women were reliant on them.
Wives could only go as far as their husbands' role in society. If a wives husband was a part of the government she would receive a higher social status and more privileges than if her husband was a carpenter. Mill stated that men liked that anything women received came from the mans doing. It symbolized that the husband had all the power and control over his wife. Mill gives several reasons for men wanting to hold women into subjection. One of those reasons Mill gives is that he feels that men could not live or comprehend that women could be equal to men.
In Europe during the mid-nineteenth century the ideal that a women could have the same ideas and accomplish the same things, if not better, than a man was a too advanced way of thinking for men during that time period. John Stuart Mills makes many points in his essay, The Subjection of Women, on the reasons of male dominance over women. I feel that a British male philosopher in the mid-nineteenth century thinking of why women are not equal to men and stating reasons for the inequality is a man before his time.