John Stuart Mill's Views Of Feminism And The Oppression Of Women

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Bell hooks said feminism should be thought of as the “struggle to end sexist oppression,” instead of the movement to make women equals of men, as the rhetoric of the latter definition implies that it is always men who are oppressing women (26). For example, John Stuart Mill wrote that historically, the “subject-class” of women (166) were dominated by men, and power was “common to the whole male sex” (165). He only focused on the domination of women by men, and ignored how non-white and poor men have faced discrimination that rich white men did not have to endure, and therefore the former feels “powerless and ineffectual in relation to ruling male groups” (hooks 18). Mill also neglected to mention that black women are often victims of domination…show more content…
Mill, for example, wrote no one can really know “the nature of the two sexes, as long as they have only been seen in their present relation to one another” (170). While it is true women were denied the same privileges as men, emphasizing the idea such that women could be intelligent if they got the same education implies women must be intelligent in order to be respected and treated the same as men. However, Truth fought back against this notion by arguing, “What’s [intellect] got to do with women’s rights or negro rights? If [her] cup won’t hold but a pint … wouldn’t you be mean not to let [her] have [her] little half-measure full?”…show more content…
In wage gap arguments, for example, people commonly bring up the fact that women make about 70 cents to a man’s dollar (it was 78 cents in 2014), while neglecting that African-American and Hispanic women tend to make even less than 70 cents (“The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap”). This paints the image that all women have the same issues and suffer the same degree of discrimination, which is simply untrue. By sharing individual experiences and stories, non-white and poor women have an opportunity to bring attention to this neglect by liberal feminists. Stories of individual struggle can touch and encourage a group, a room– perhaps even a movement, to stand up against injustice. Surely, by describing her own hardships being enslaved, Sojourner Truth touched audiences and inspired them to take action. She also became a famous speaker and leader of abolitionist and women’s rights movements, which proves the individual can become the political (especially a political collective
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