But even in the best of these, the equals were limited to the free male citizens; slaves, women, and the unenfranchised residents were under the law of force. If the authority of men over women, when first established, had been the result of a conscientious comparison between different modes of constituting the government of society; if, after trying various other modes of social organisation — the government of women over men, equality between the two, and such mixed and divided modes of government as might be invented — it had been decided, on the testimony of experience, that the mode in which women are wholly under the rule of men, having no share at all in public concerns, and each in private being under the legal obligation of obedience to the man with whom she has associated her destiny, was the arrangement most conducive to the happiness and well-being of both; its general adoption might then be fairly thought to be some evidence that, at the time when it was adopted, it was the best: though even then the considerations which recommended it may, like so many other primeval social facts of the greatest importance, have subsequently, in the course of ages, ceased to exist. It could send hundreds of thousands across land and sea, Europe and Asia, to give their lives for the deliverance of the Holy Sepulchre. This it ought to be between the parents. But the legal subordination tends to make such characters among women more, rather than less, frequent.
In today society, where women are struggling for equal opportunities, opposition is basing its arguments on three myths. There is never any want of women who complain of ill usage by their husbands. I admit that there can be no good practice without principles, and that the predominant place which quickness of observation holds among a woman's faculties, makes her particularly apt to build overhasty generalisations upon her own observation; though at the same time no less ready in rectifying those generalisations, as her observation takes a wider range. On Liberty should at least partly be understood as a product of and response to the Victorian period of England during which it was written. I am a woman with a degree in both math and science and have taken offense to the argument that women are of a weaker mind then men. Some may say that the very thing by which an amicable settlement of differences becomes possible, is the power of legal compulsion known to be in reserve; as people submit to an arbitration because there is a court of law in the background, which they know that they can be forced to obey. Happily, no such knowledge is necessary for any practical purpose connected with the position of women in relation to society and life.
In the cases, on the other hand, in which the unfitness is real, the ordinary motives of human conduct will on the whole suffice to prevent the incompetent person from making, or from persisting in, the attempt. All other dignities and social advantages are open to the whole male sex: many indeed are only attainable by wealth, but wealth may be striven for by any one, and is actually obtained by many men of the very humblest origin. It would be more persistent in the line first taken; it would have more difficulty in changing from one mode of action to another, but, in the one thing it was doing, it could go on longer without loss of power or sense of fatigue. As for charity, it is a matter in which the immediate effect on the persons directly concerned, and the ultimate consequence to the general good, are apt to be at complete war with one another: while the education given to women — an education of the sentiments rather than of the understanding — and the habit inculcated by their whole life, of looking to immediate effects on persons, and not to remote effects on classes of persons — make them both unable to see, and unwilling to admit, the ultimate evil tendency of any form of charity or philanthropy which commends itself to their sympathetic feelings. The independence of women seemed rather less unnatural to the Greeks than to other ancients, on account of the fabulous Amazons whom they believed to be historical , and the partial example afforded by the Spartan women; who, though no less subordinate by law than in other Greek states, were more free in fact, and being trained to bodily exercises in the same manner with men, gave ample proof that they were not naturally disqualified for them. Philosophy and religion, instead of keeping it in check, are generally suborned to defend it; and nothing controls it but that practical feeling of the equality of human beings, which is the theory of Christianity, but which Christianity will never practically teach, while it sanctions institutions grounded on an arbitrary preference of one human being over another.
It is certain that some women have as large a brain as any man. That the principle which regulates the existing social relations between the two sexes — the legal subordination of one sex to the other — is wrong itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; and that it ought to be replaced by a principle of perfect equality, admitting no power or privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other. At present, in the more improved countries, the disabilities of women are the only case, save one, in which laws and institutions take persons at their birth, and ordain that they shall never in all their lives be allowed to compete for certain things. Imagine if John Stuart Mill had looked at the artistic and scientific life as it really was. The superintendence of a household, even when not in other respects laborious, is extremely onerous to the thoughts; it requires incessant vigilance, an eye which no detail escapes, and presents questions for consideration and solution, foreseen and unforeseen, at every hour of the day, from which the person responsible for them can hardly ever shake herself free. Even the preliminary knowledge, what the differences between the sexes now are, apart from all question as to how they are made what they are, is still in the crudest and most incomplete state.
An unprejudiced view of it gives additional strength to the arguments against the disabilities of women, and reinforces them by high considerations of practical utility. Therefore, in their view, it would be dangerous to give women the right to vote or the opportunity to work outside the home because they, supposedly, did not have the skills necessary to make informed, rational decisions. As a result of these tied in subjects Mill states this is the reason to women being subjected by men. If women have a greater natural inclination for some things than for others, there is no need of laws or social inculcation to make the majority of them do the former in preference to the latter. Not so the wife: however brutal a tyrant she may unfortunately be chained to — though she may know that he hates her, though it may be his daily pleasure to torture her, and though she may feel it impossible not to loathe him — he can claim from her and enforce the lowest degradation of a human being, that of being made the instrument of an animal function contrary to her inclinations. If this is the real opinion of men in general, it would be well that it should be spoken out.
Mill presents the practical difficulty of arguing against the opinion men are presumed to be naturally superiority to women. من المؤلم أن تقرأ هذه الأفكار التي أصبحت جزءاً من الماضي في الغرب بينما تعلم أننا لازلنا نصارعها في عالمنا العربي. But nonetheless it is worth checking out. But, that they would do them fully as well on the whole, if their education and cultivation were adapted to correcting instead of aggravating the infirmities incident to their temperament, I see not the smallest reason to doubt. Neither does it avail anything to say that the nature of the two sexes adapts them to their present functions and position, and renders these appropriate to them.
The relation between husband and wife is very like that between lord and vassal, except that the wife is held to more unlimited obedience than the vassal was. What they can do, but not so well as the men who are their competitors, competition suffices to exclude them from; since nobody asks for protective duties and bounties in favour of women; it is only asked that the present bounties and protective duties in favour of men should be recalled. If given the chance women would excel in other arenas and they should be given the opportunity to try. In depth, as distinguished from breadth, I greatly doubt if even now, women, compared with men, are at any disadvantage. I am showing how vastly more permanent it could not but be, even if not justifiable, than these other dominations which have nevertheless lasted down to our own time. All causes, social and natural, combine to make it unlikely that women should be collectively rebellious to the power of men. When it is said that under queens men govern, is the same meaning to be understood as when kings are said to be governed by women? The boys had all been to school for a classical education.
The principle of the modern movement in morals and politics, is that conduct, and conduct alone, entitles to respect: that not what men are, but what they do, constitutes their claim to deference; that, above all, merit, and not birth, is the only rightful claim to power and authority. If this is the real opinion of men in general, it would be well that it should be spoken out. Does not this take place in all competitions? But in this exceptional case, in which a high social function is, for important reasons, bestowed on birth instead of being put up to competition, all free nations contrive to adhere in substance to the principle from which they nominally derogate; for they circumscribe this high function by conditions avowedly intended to prevent the person to whom it ostensibly belongs from really performing it; while the person by whom it is performed, the responsible minister, does obtain the post by a competition from which no full-grown citizen of the male sex is legally excluded. It would, however, be a great mistake in such married people to suppose, because the legal conditions of the tie which unites them do not occur to their thoughts once in a twelve month, and because they live and feel in all respects as if they were legally equals, that the same is the case with all other married couples, wherever the husband is not a notorious ruffian. I mean their actually existing thoughts and feelings. In another wise just state of things, it is not, therefore, I think, a desirable custom, that the wife should contribute by her labour to the income of the family.
This error of minority opinions is very upsetting to the public whether the opinions are right or not. La ambición de mando será siempre una fuerza que deprave a la especie humana, hasta que llegue el día en que todo individuo mande en sí propio, ejercitando derechos legales que nadie le dispute; y esto solo podrá suceder en países donde la libertad del individuo, sin distinción de sexos, sea una institución respetada, orgánica, indiscutible. It was not for want of power over men's minds. John Stuart Mill argues that there are no natural differences between the male and female brain, at least so far as intelligence is concerned. The fear of losing ground in his opinion or in his feelings is so strong, that even in an upright character, there is an unconscious tendency to show only the best side, or the side which, though not the best, is that which he most likes to see: and it may be confidently said that thorough knowledge of one another hardly ever exists, but between persons who, besides being intimates, are equals.
But its attempts have done little, and cannot be expected to do much, because it is contrary to reason and experience to suppose that there can be any real check to brutality, consistent with leaving the victim still in the power of the executioner. For example, women are more nurturing than men and better able to bear and raise children, and guide the household. Is it this scarce, then? They always are so apportioned, except in cases in which the marriage institution is a failure. It could make kings and nobles resign their most valued possessions to enrich the Church. Both through the contagion of sympathy, and through the desire of men to shine in the eyes of women, their feelings have great effect in keeping alive what remains of the chivalrous ideal — in fostering the sentiments and continuing the traditions of spirit and generosity. She can acquire no property but for him; the instant it becomes hers, even if by inheritance, it becomes ipso facto his.