Women Society Essays - StudentShare
But though this proposition is not likely to be contested in general terms, the practical question, where to place the limit—how to make the fitting adjustment between individual independence and social control—is a subject on which nearly everything remains to be done. All that makes existence valuable to any one, depends on the enforcement of restraints upon the actions of other people. Some rules of conduct, therefore, must be imposed, by law in the first place, and by opinion on many things which are not fit subjects for the operation of law. What these rules should be, is the principal question in human affairs; but if we except a few of the most obvious cases, it is one of those which least progress has been made in resolving. No two ages, and scarcely any two countries, have decided it alike; and the decision of one age or country is a wonder to another. Yet the people of any given age and country no more suspect any difficulty in it, than if it were a subject on which mankind had always been agreed. The rules which obtain among themselves appear to them self-evident and self-justifying. This all but universal illusion is one of the examples of the magical influence of custom, which is not only, as the proverb says, a second nature, but is continually mistaken for the first. The effect of custom, in preventing any misgiving respecting the rules of conduct which mankind impose on one another, is all the more complete because the subject is one on which it is not generally considered necessary that reasons should be given, either by one person to others, or by each to himself. People are accustomed to believe, and have been encouraged in the belief by some who aspire to the character of philosophers, that their feelings, on subjects of this nature, are better than reasons, and render reasons unnecessary. The practical principle which guides them to their opinions on the regulation of human conduct, is the feeling in each person’s mind that everybody should be required to act as he, and those with whom he sympathizes, would like them to act. No one, indeed, acknowledges to himself that his standard of judgment is his own liking; but an opinion on a point of conduct, not supported by reasons, can only count as one person’s preference; and if the reasons, when given, are a mere appeal to a similar preference felt by other people, it is still only many people’s liking instead of one. To an ordinary man, however, his own preference, thus supported, is not only a perfectly satisfactory reason, but the only one he generally has for any of his notions of morality, taste, or propriety, which are not expressly written in his religious creed; and his chief guide in the interpretation even of that. Men’s opinions, accordingly, on what is laudable or blameable, are affected by all the multifarious causes which influence their wishes in regard to the conduct of others, and which are as numerous as those which determine their wishes on any other subject. Sometimes their reason—at other times their prejudices or superstitions: often their social affections, not seldom their antisocial ones, their envy or jealousy, their arrogance or contemptuousness: but most commonly, their desires or fears for themselves—their legitimate or illegitimate self-interest. Wherever there is an ascendant class, a large portion of the morality of the country emanates from its class interests, and its feelings of class superiority. The morality between Spartans and Helots, between planters and negroes, between princes and subjects, between nobles and roturiers, between men and women, has been for the most part the creation of these class interests and feelings: and the sentiments thus generated, react in turn upon the moral feelings of the members of the ascendant class, in their relations among themselves. Where, on the other hand, a class, formerly ascendant, has lost its ascendancy, or where its ascendancy is unpopular, the prevailing moral sentiments frequently bear the impress of an impatient dislike of superiority. Another grand determining principle of the rules of conduct, both in act and forbearance, which have been enforced by law or opinion, has been the servility of mankind towards the supposed preferences or aversions of their temporal masters, or of their gods. This servility, though essentially selfish, is not hypocrisy; it gives rise to perfectly genuine sentiments of abhorrence; it made men burn magicians and heretics. Among so many baser influences, the general and obvious interests of society have of course had a share, and a large one, in the direction of the moral sentiments: less, however, as a matter of reason, and on their own account, than as a consequence of the sympathies and antipathies which grew out of them: and sympathies and antipathies which had little or nothing to do with the interests of society, have made themselves felt in the establishment of moralities with quite as great force.
Women Role in Society in Uzbekistan - Sample Essays
“The legitimate object of all government—namely, the happiness of the community—comprehends alike male and female, as alike susceptible of pain and pleasure; and the principle, that power will be uniformly exercised for the good of the parties subject to it, only when it is under their control, or the control of persons who have an identity of interests with themselves, is equally applicable in the case of both sexes. The exclusion of the female sex from the electoral privilege can therefore be consistently contended for only by showing two things; first, that their interests are so closely allied with those of the male sex, and allied in such a manner, as to render the two nearly identical; secondly, that the female sex are incompetent, from want of intelligence, to make a choice for their own good, and that, on this account, it would be to the advantage of the community, on the whole, to leave the selection of representatives to the stronger part of the human race, the disadvantages arising from any want of perfect identity of interests being more than compensated by the advantages of that superior discernment which the male sex would bring to the task. Let us examine, for a moment, the force of these allegations. The interests of the female sex are so far from being identified with those of the male sex, that the latter half of the human species have almost universally used their power to oppress the former. By the present regulations of society, men wield over women, to a certain extent, irresponsible power; and one of the fundamental maxims on which representative government is founded is, that irresponsible power will be abused. The case before us presents no exception: the power of man over woman is constantly misemployed;and it may be doubted whether the relation of the sexes to each other will ever be placed on a just and proper footing, until they have both their share of control over the enactments of the legislature. If none of these regulations applied specifically to women as women, and to men as men, and to the circumstances arising from their peculiar connexion with each other, their interests might perhaps be considered as identified, but in the actual relative position in which by nature the sexes stand, and must always remain, as two parties marked by peculiar and indelible differences, separate interests cannot fail to grow up between them, and numerous laws must be directed to the regulation of their respective rights and duties. It the enactment of these laws concerning two parties who have distinct interests is solely under the control of one party, we know the consequence.” (Pp. 236-8.)
But these observations led them to conflicting conclusions: that Indian women were little better than oppressed drudges whose lives would improve if they gave up their "savage" ways; that Indian women suffered little during childbirth because they lived "natural" lives uncorrupted by the affectations of high society.