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The Misandry of Mill and Modern Feminism

December 4, 2010

Last week, the professor of my ‘Arab-Israeli Conflict’ class discussed in lecture the feelings of demonization commonly felt by Israelis, influenced by knowledge of their tumultuous history and repeated international condemnation of Israel. Reasons for this condemnation, according to their narrative, result ultimately from anti-Zionism; an anti-Zionism which, unfortunately, harbors and disguises blatant anti-Semitism unacceptable in the modern world. Significant parallels may be drawn here to Mill’s philosophy and feminism, which harbor misandry and hatred of men under the guise of equality and rights.

Mill immortalizes himself as a misandrist through his outspoken condemnation of men in The Subjection of Women. Through that title alone anyone could have realized Mill’s intentions; reading the work was hardly necessary and leads to the same conclusion. He matter-of-factly compares marriage to slavery and calls for the “liberation” of women. Of course, in slavery there must be a slavemaster, and to be liberated there must be some demon from whom liberation is justified. Naturally, this evil overlord is the entire male population; who, according to Mill, first wickedly coerced women into submission through their own selfishness. And, as if there were any remaining threads of doubt, Mill laments the “vast…number of men, in any great country, who are little higher than brutes” (Women, 670). The weak justifications for these insults hardly manage to disguise Mill’s true intentions.

With such hateful foundations, it is no wonder modern feminism should adapt similar bitter considerations of the male race. As practical equality of opportunity between men and women is today soundly established, the feminist movement now strives towards feminine superiority, and propagate the ridiculous idea that men and women are engaged in a zero-sum struggle. With the overbearing presence of the United States Women’s Bureau (where’s the Men’s Bureau?), widespread gender “equality” educational programs, and ferocious pressure on the business world to hire more female employees, it comes as somewhat of a surprise that the movement seems to have not yet accomplished its purpose. Secretarial work is still the most prevalent occupation among women, and fewer than 3% of Fortune 500 companies are run by female CEOs.

Is it possible, then, that Mill and feminism could be wrong? That women– through their own individual choice, and not under the selfish tyranny of mankind– are secure in their equality of opportunity and generally prefer the more “traditional” familial role? No, certainly not, and Israel is still the most inhumane country in the world.

7 Comments
  1. Lorna Malja permalink
    December 4, 2010 6:21 PM

    This is a great blog post, it really makes us realize how lucky we are to be living in the United States and not Israel. Women everywhere need to be treated with the respect they deserve. Women have become so successful now a days, and Israel needs to realize that women are just as equal as men. They should not be classified as inferior to men in any way. It is sad to see how unhumane this country is. Women are just as good as men and they should be treated like it, in every aspect. I think women don’t need to be seen through the aspect of the ” tradition feminine role.” There is so much a woman can do, just as well as a man. Times are changing and women are just as good as men.

    • arichnerjr permalink
      December 4, 2010 8:09 PM

      I’m not sure if this is a serious comment or not, but assuming it is, it’s clear you didn’t read any of what I wrote. And on the side, Israel has -the- best treatment of women in the Middle East.

  2. December 5, 2010 5:36 PM

    This is sort of a meta-level comment, rather than a comment on Andrew’s post. I’m surprised at the relatively low rating this post gets. Most posts on this blog get either very good or nothing. I can imagine lots of people disagreeing with Andrew, but it strikes me as deeply non-Millian to give a thoughtful post a low vote just because one disagrees.

  3. metroidbum permalink
    December 5, 2010 7:56 PM

    While I think your claim that the modern feminist movement strives for female superiority is taking it a little far, I do agree with your basic assertion that the feminist movement can be very anti-male and discriminatory in its views at times. By most standards, women have achieved equality in western society, and with programs that encourage the hiring of women for “diversity” purposes, it could be argued that in some ways they have the advantage. It should be noted, though, that this wasn’t the case when Mill wrote “The Subjection of Women”.

  4. arichnerjr permalink
    December 5, 2010 8:48 PM

    Professor Manty:

    Thank you for your post. If people disagree with me (as you said, I’m sure many do) I’d rather have them express their opinion in words rather than click a meaningless star. On the other hand, it’s better than having no feedback at all.

    Metroidbum:

    I completely agree that conditions for women were much worse 150 years ago than they are today, and I agree with Mill in that the inequality of women during that time was reprehensible. However, to compare marriage to slavery even in that period of gender inequality is a grave injustice to both men, victims of the slavery institution, and even women themselves. Mill admits that a woman can refuse marriage at the alter, even though the pressures of her father or a male-dominated society may have tremendous influence. This admission instantly makes the gap so huge between marriage and slavery that I’m surprised Mill didn’t realize it and scrap the comparison altogether. Was a slave’s consent ever taken into any sort of consideration? At the auction platform was the slave ever earnestly asked, “Do you take this man to be your lawful eternal master?” No, and if it were the case, he would not be a slave at all.

    Furthermore, Mill writing of women as victims (often helpless) actually does little to advance notions of equality among sexes on a broader scale. If Mill says women have always been hopelessly trapped under the controlling yoke of mankind, wouldn’t it be easier to consider them arbitrarily inferior to men?

  5. Andrew Laing permalink
    December 5, 2010 10:51 PM

    i find your parellel between the demonization of men by mill and that of the Israelis very interesting. As mill said men wickedly coerced women into their position. Israel stands far over any line of moderation because they feel it is their right and in response to their history. Thank you for this post.

  6. Chrisbbarnes permalink
    December 6, 2010 12:30 AM

    Although I cannot agree with you fully, I think you raise some interesting points. I have no doubt that there are undercurrents, and even the occasional overt statement of misandry within the feminist movement. However, I believe Mill’s misandry to be mostly rhetorical, and I think it goes a bit far to suggest that the basis for the feminist movement is the subversive overthrow of men.
    Men and women are very different, disregarding societal preconditioning, we are still different. In fact, we are so different that it is not in any way outrageous to suggest that women have a natural inclination towards what we label “domestic”, feminists label oppression, and evolution labeled survival.

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