The True Marriage Mill

My last post was really intended to be a slightly padded quote from Mill, whose writing I found personally appealing rather more for the cynical component than the ethical aspects.

To be clear about my meaning, as one must be these days, I hasten to add that of course I value Mill’s contribution to political, social and therefore gender theory, and accept with alarcity that his work is a document of immense historical import. However, these are not aspects I find myself chuckling at when I read him. That honour, such as it is, goes to the occasional caustic pronouncements sandwiched between earnestness and stern moralising.

Yesterday’s post was originally meant to be built around one such pronouncement. Finally, here it is:

Those who attempt to force women into marriage by closing all other doors against them, lay themselves open to a similar retort… their opinion must evidently be, that men do not render the married condition so desirable to women, as to induce them to accept it for its own recommendations.

And here, I believe, is the clue to the feelings of those men, who have a real antipathy to the equal freedom of women. I believe they are afraid… lest all women of spirit and capacity should prefer doing almost anything else… rather than marry.

You must admit, for a man born in the first decade of the 1800s, he had more insight into the marital state than do several of its commentators in the putatively progressive 21st century.


One comment

  1. Long ago, I had tried to explain to my husband about this. I did not know of John Stuart Mill at that time. I was trying to explain that sometimes women ‘end up’ marrying …. that, in a different sort of world, many more women would choose not to marry…and this is why the world is so patriarchal…


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s