29 August 2012


Funny story. John Stuart Mill spends a ton of words arguing against the oppression of women and then comes to this conclusion:

If, in addition to the physical suffering of bearing children, and the whole responsibility of their care and education in early years, the wife undertakes the careful and economical application of the husband's earnings to the general comfort of the family; she takes not only her fair share, but usually the larger share, of the bodily and mental exertion required by their joint existence.

If she undertakes any additional portion, it seldom relieves her from this, but only prevents her from performing it properly.

The care which she is herself disabled from taking of the children and the household, nobody else takes; those of the children who do not die, grow up as they best can, and the management of the household is likely to be so bad, as even in point of economy to be a great drawback from the value of the wife's earnings.

In an otherwise 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. In an unjust state of things, her doing so may be useful to her, by making her of more value in the eyes of the man who is legally her master; but, on the other hand, it enables him still farther to abuse his power, by forcing her to work, and leaving the support of the family to her exertions, while he spends most of his time in drinking and idleness. 
John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

(Spaces added to help me read the whole thing. And one more funnyism from the same essay: The greater part of what women write about women is mere sycophancy to men. Busted.)


Leah said...


Cathy said...

Mill comments on three major facets of women's lives that he felt are hindering them: society and gender construction, education, and marriage. Well here's a conundrum: How's come if my friends and I are suffering under such wretched oppression, we are the happiest and most content women we know? Ha ha ha ha is right.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate men (John Stuart Mill) who recognize the "physical suffering of childbirth."

Some of our mothers don't even recognize it (because the custom was painkiller in the 1950s-60s).

That being said, if I had to give birth again, I would definitely choose the epidural (or whatever thing they come up with in the future). J.S.

Untamed Shrew said...

If my man spent most of his time in drinking and idleness, he might have a case. Which is to say, his case is against jerky men.

Pr. H. R. said...

I'd say his case is against human nature. I wonder what could be behind the phenomenon of young men delaying adulthood? Playing video games nonstop? Getting that 3rd graduate degree? Etc., etc.

Is our society stronger, better, more righteous than it was before women entered the workforce en masse? Real wages for families have not increased in a generation; divorce rates have never been higher; illegitimacy rates are through the roof.

My congregation is full of grandparents raising their grandkids b/c both mom and dad have to work.

We could go on and on with the hard stats and the pastoral anecdotes, but you get the picture. Once Western society was ordered around at least a leaven of Biblical principles. Not so much now when radical individualism infects all.