The Subordination Of Women In John Stuart Mill's Work

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As the other great Victorian essayist, John Stuart Mill tries to address a fundamental problem of the new Victorian era in his work; specifically, he challenges the traditional idea of women naturally subordinated to men. Mill’s focus is mainly on the middle class women, raised to be ladies, who are not self-sufficient individuals and have to rely on their husbands. They are the ones who need to realize their conditions of subordination, alongside the men who are preprinting it, and demand equality to men. In the first paragraph, Mill states that not only “the legal subordination of one sex to the other” is wrong, but it is also one of the major obstacles “to human improvement” (Mill 1105). Therefore, it is necessary to replace this condition with an equal relationship between the two sexes. Thus, Mill immediately criticizes a core idea of the Victorians, based on the assumption that the role of women as nothing more than wives and mothers is necessary. The Victorians believe in…show more content…
In order to obtain this, women are educated to be submissive, “to make complete abnegation of themselves, and to have no life but in their affections” (Mill 1108). Women are brought up to believe that they can never be independent individuals and their whole life revolves around their husband and children. Mill touches another important point in Victorian society: education. During the Nineteenth Century, England has significantly improved its system of education, because of the necessity of educating the growing middle class. Gentlemen start to attend university, which once was only attended by priests, to study humanities, and the bureaucrats who administrate the British Empire all received a specific education in order to do so. Women are the only ones who were still educated only to serve men and, without any adequate form of education, they can never be
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