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John Stuart Mill's analysis of women is compatible with Karl Marx's analysis of workers in capitalism from the perspective of the hierarchies that define relationships between the weaker groups from the stronger ones. The deliberate subjugation of one group by another for the purposes of pursuing the interests of the powerful group is the glue that joins Mill's argument about women to Karl Marx's reflection about workers. According to Mill, women have been forced to the margins of the society because of the structural designs that are enforced by patriarchy (Mill 98). Throughout the course of time, men have made laws and designed systems that favor them while systematically denying women opportunities to engage in meaningful activities.
The idea within the patriarchal mindset is to arrest any form of personal development on the part of women. The retention of the status quo in which men lead all sectors if human existence is supposed to suppress and oppress the other gender into silence. Mill attacks and dismantles theories of biological determinism that are always enlisted in arguments that seek to defend men's position on the hierarchies of social order (Mill 115). Arguments of biological determinism have often suggested that the ideal woman is the docile homemaker whose priorities must revolve around the roles of childbirth, motherhood, and any other duties and roles that her patronizing husband may assign. However, Mill suggests that men create these theories in an effort to naturalize the inequalities in which women have been subjected to for centuries.
Mill reminds the male-dominated societies that denying women the right to undertake meaningful activities for self-improvement will naturally lead to stagnation of all forms of development. The argument draws from the fact that women form a significant proportion of the world population, and that is they were to remain docile across the globe then the repercussions would be manifested in terms of economic stagnation and general underdevelopment. In a significant sense, Mill's argument mirrors that of Karl Marx concerning the matter of workers in a capitalist society. According to Marx, capitalism by its very nature is exploitative (Marx and Engels 97). This exploitation comes about due to the pressures that emerge out of the need to entrench the owners of capital over the workers. Marx observed society as made up of class struggle. The lower classes, in which workers are represented, have to fight for their lost labor in order to gain any meaningful returns out of their labor.
Marx observed that the capitalist system is deliberately structured in a way that denies workers the products of their hard labor. Structurally, the capitalist system is designed in a manner that favors the needs of the bourgeoisie over the proletariat. In the fullness of time, the workers, according to Marx will revolt and dethrone the repressive and suppressive system with the objective of revamping the lost social equilibrium (Marx and Engels 242). The manifestation of this challenge naturally implies that most of the returns on capital will revert to the workers. It might be argued that the oppression of the workers in the capitalist system mirrors the oppression of women in society.
It would be appropriate to argue that the factors of production that favor the upper classes are arranged in a way that allows for the primitive accumulation of wealth. Structurally, both the capitalist systems and the patriarchal edifice of power are structured in ways that promote the sustained and consistent marginalization of the weaker groups. Moreover, both arguments proclaim the end of this suppression. Mill suggests that education and voting will ultimately alter the scheme of things to allow for a form of balance between the male and female gender. It is possible to discern Mill's argument in favor of women as a treatise for feminine revolution. Mill clamors for the increase in capacity for the female gender. He observes that much of the content in the discourses that denigrate against women are created by the male-dominated social structures.
According to Mill, women have only been prevented from undertaking activities that they are very much capable of doing. Essentially, the argument that Mill draws is one that celebrates the power of women in a situation of parity. The overhauling of the legal, social, cultural, and educational system would be instrumental in enabling the emancipation of the female gender from the margins of the society. Similarly, Marx observes that the awareness of the workers about the exploitative nature of capitalism will touch off a series of reactionary activities that will eventually culminate into a full revolution against the oppressive capitalists. Both philosophers also point out that the oppressive systems cannot last for a long time because they are naturally self-destructive. This argument draws from the fact that the power of capitalism and patriarchy is dependent; capitalism derives its power from the powerlessness of the workers. Similarly, the flourishing of patriarchy must necessarily draw from the weaknesses of the female gender.
Historical developments have shown that the weaker groups have become increasingly aware of their plight, and the element of global citizenship has helped bolster the process of emancipation. On this score, both arguments predict the emergence of a determined shift of power from the dominant groups to the oppressed groups. The changes that take course are determined by the changing in the variables that have been manipulated to preserve and sustain the oppression of women and workers as illustrated in Mill and Marx's arguments respectively.
Sandra Lee would respond affirmatively to both Marx and Mill's arguments. Her support for both cases would be informed by her own philosophy, which has brought about diagnosis of women's plight in societies whose social and cultural systems are dependent on rules set up by patriarchal mindsets (Bartky 45). The only difference is that Sandra Lee concentrates much on the female body as the final terrain on which the war of inequality between the sexes is fought. Sandra Lee argues that women no longer own their bodies because they are controlled by the whims and wishes of their male counterparts. Women, according to her argument are keen to present their bodies in accordance to the tastes that have been set up by the male preferences.
The ideal women must be the one who satisfies the image of a woman as portrayed and naturalized within the patriarchal mindset. She argued that the woman's body must be liberated from the control and influence of male power in order for them to retain their sense of selfhood. Men, according to Sandra Lee, have sustained a campaign of repossessing the woman's body and mind by defining the standards of beauty (Bartky 78). By responding to the tastes set up by men, women eventually collapse into unstable states of mind, which renders them powerless in the battle of the sexes. The denial of the woman's freedom according to her begins with the possessing of her body.
Like Mill and Marx, Sandra Lee proposes that women must remain on guard against the stifling influences of patriarchy if they are to retain some sense of freedom. Ultimately, it could be concluded that the arguments presented by Karl Marx, Sandra Lee, and Stuart Mill form a concentric circle that diagnoses the conditions of the weaker groups that could be relied upon in providing crucial remedial therapies.