The English philosopher John Stuart Mill was one of the most extraordinary men of his century. As the son of philosopher James Mill, John; had the advantage of being open to a world of rational thoughts, visions and was forced into intellectual genius. Mills’, a man born in 1806, had the audacity to write about women’s rights and advocate women suffrage. In years when the society had subordinated women, he was the protagonist in promoting feminism. He became a supporter of liberal causes ranging from education to population control to the liberation of Negros’.
Mill evidently states that the differences between the two genders; if exists are anything but of natural constitution. He concentrates on the abilities of women and their right to enter the trades, professions and the arts. Mill believed liberty of each individual is necessary for the development of society.
He argues in favor of his claim that differences are anything but innate saying that society justified women’s disabilities by assigning mental inferior capacity as the reason, from which seldom any woman was exempted. Mill says that even in those days no one really believed this line of reasoning. He says that society put forward such views only for its comfort, that is, to adhere to the interests of men and convenience of the government; and this explanation was deemed sufficient for all prejudices of the society. He says that one who supports this argument would even go to the extent to agree that even the most eminent, intelligent and competent of women were inferior to a mediocre man. He says that then there should be very few women in all positions; which otherwise was also bound to happen; because of the biased society even though women have; fairly without an exception; proved to be competent in all spheres more than men. He says even if it were true; then was inferior mental capacities reason enough to prevent women from the fair chance of competing with man at all terms and positions.
Mill further strengthens his argument saying psychological considerations show that any mental differences that are supposedly existing between men and women are but the natural effect of the differences in their education and circumstances.
Mill says when women can reign kingdoms and run government can’t they be qualified for the lesser like a representative or other posts and jobs.
He says when called upon, princesses have proved equally competent to the male heir. It is because they were raised above the generality of men and the fact that it was improper to concern them with politics; just because of their gender was never engrained in them. He says that even if the least countable differences are produced that would only be circumstantial and could not be accounted for mental capabilities inferiority. He says if women are different in terms of experience it is anything but innate and can be best supplied by education but women’s position is not at all natural but the result of political oppression by men.
He says a woman’s mistakes are specifically like those of an educated man who for the want of knowing what is long known already overlooks the aspect of discovering the new. Mills’ believed that the family was the model source of one’s social behavior and the fact that masculine domination was prevalent in the household made the boys egotists’ and girls’ inept.
He says that the difference that exists, the reason why women are behind is for the simple reason that women have no time for the same. This may seem a paradox but is a social fact. It is only the presumption of the pretentious society that women were less proficient than their opposing sex – Men. Mill conclusively said that if women were to be given the same range of choices, equal space for spontaneous development and there was no attempt of artificial conditioning, then it could well be taken for granted that both these biologically apart living creatures; which were created to complement each other would be having no material differences existing.
I would add in the end that feminism does not attribute to womanliness nor does sexism attribute to manliness. It is rather the equality of rights that denote feminism as against sexism which puts one gender as the domineering one and the other as its subordinate.