Intellectual Developments Pertaining to Gender in Japan and Europe

argumentative Essay
761 words
761 words

Intellectual developments pertaining to gender in Japan and Europe
Gender roles and the rights of women in society are fundamentally the same in 18th century Europe as in Japan at the turn of the century. In both societies women are looked down upon as the weaker counterparts of men; useful only for improving the lives of men. Because society believes women only live to improve the lives of men they feel that women don’t need to be educated, they don’t need to own property, and that women should suit the taste and needs of men. The idea that women are lesser than men in society and don’t deserve the same privileges and rights shaped the role of women in Europe and Japan. Women in Japan and Europe are forced to rely on men because they are not given the rights and education they need to be independent.
The women in Japan are thought of and treated like the women in Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the rights of women; they are obliged to follow the orders of society, their father, and when they get married their husband. In Japan women are expected to be obedient, proper, and quiet. They are not expected to share their opinions unless asked, they are expected to marry for the benefit of their families, and they are not expected to be educated. Likewise women in Europe were expected to be good wives and mothers and nothing more. Women are simply seen in society as tools to make the lives of men better. In the words of Rousseau “the education of women should always be relative to men. To please us, be useful to us… make our lives easy and agreeable—those are the duties of women at all times” (Wollstonecraft 54). Men want obedient wives that make their lives easier so women are taught to be obedient, useful wives and to treasure beaut...

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...women in the time period and society women marry for security and in return women were expected to be good, obedient wives. Even though women in Europe are have more freedom to express their thoughts they are just as dominated by the gender roles placed on them as the women in Japan.

Works Cited
Natsume, Sōseki. Sanshiro: A Novel. London: Penguin Classics, 2009. Print.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. The Social Contract. New York: Carlton House, 1939. Print.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. The Social Contract. N.p.: Johnathan Bennett, 2010. Early Modern Texts. Web. 26 Nov. 2013.
Wollestonecraft, Mary. "The Vindication of the Rights of Woman." N.p.: n.p., 1792. N. pag. Rpt. in Oregon: Renascene Editions, 2000. Print.
Wollstonecraft, Mary. "The Vindication of the Rights of Woman." N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Rpt. in Early Modern Texts. By Johnathan Bennett. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

In this essay, the author

  • Compares the gender roles and rights of women in 18th century europe and japan at the turn of the century.
  • Analyzes how women in japan are expected to be obedient, proper, and quiet. in europe, women are seen as tools to make the lives of men better.
  • Compares the gender roles in japanese and european society to the family/first society that rousseau describes.
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