John Stuart Mill’s “The Subjection of Women” Essay

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Dec 29th, 2020

In “The Subjection of Women,” John Stuart Mill argues for the emancipation of marginalized women for both the benefit of the society and the personal gain of the woman. About this, one can best understand Mill’s essay best, not considering it as a philosophical treatise, but a call for the enhancement of women’s rights. What strikes most in this particular essay and captures the attention of most readers is Mill’s use of clarity and conciseness in his work.

This can be best seen in his support statements such as, “The principle which regulates the existing social relations between the two sexes – the legal subordination of one sex to the other – is wrong in itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; and…It ought to be replaced by a principle of perfect equality, admitting no power or privilege on the one side, or disability on the other” (Mill 1). Mill as it not the case with most other writers engaged in serious discourses employs a sense of humor in his work, which breaks the monotony of having to read serious stuff all the time without having anything to laugh at.

He argues that “If it is inferred merely because a woman’s bodily frame generally is of fewer dimensions than a man’s, this criterion would lead to strange consequences. A tall and large-boned man must on this showing be wonderfully superior in intelligence to a small man, and an elephant or a whale must prodigiously excel mankind” (Mill 3). This gives the reader a break from the serious reading of this article and a chance to engage his imagination to create a connection between Mill’s arguments and reality. This is indeed an essay of timeless essence.

Works Cited

Mill, Stuart. The Subjection of Women. London: Longmans Publishers, 1869.




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