As a first semester freshman at the University, I have been constantly reminded to lock my door, watch my purse, never leave my laptop unattended, walk home with a group and know how to say no. The list goes on. With all of these precautionary hints of advice from our surrounding influences: parents, teachers, administration and police, why are female students still suffering from assaults? As Mill displays in The Subjection of Women, Women have been under the subjection of men for centuries. The system of male superiority “… never was the result of deliberation, or forethought, or any social ideas, or any notion whatever of what conduced to the benefit of humanity or the good order of society. It arose simply from the fact that from the very earliest twilight of human society, every woman owing to the value attached to her by men, combined with her inferiority in muscular strength) was found in a state of bondage to some man” (Mill, 654). Using the steps for social and political change (lecture), I will outline how we can better prepare and change ourselves and our institution to prevent hardships from happening to women, concentrating on the poor treatment of women by men.
The first step towards creating a change in the way we prevent dangerous situations on our campus is by advocating for women’s safety across campus. Women and men should learn how to protect themselves and each other in a college campus setting. We should be encouraging women to demand fair and appropriate treatment. Men and women alike should encourage the opposite sex, and each other, to stick up for themselves in order to bring about a greater respect for each other. “The main foundations of the moral life of modern times must be justice and prudence; the respect of each for the rights of every other, and the ability of each to take care of himself” (Mill, 697). By advocating among the sexes to help ourselves, a more comfortable atmosphere will be created for women to express their fears or suffering. If men and women are in partnership rather than opposition, women will feel more comfortable expressing her power to a male or revealing a situation to authority. This will prove to men that women are not under the subjection of a mans interests.
Advocation will suggest a necessary change in attitudes about the treatment of women. The early ideal of female subjection needs to transformed into a positive and equal view of women. “… the principle which regulates the existing social relations between the two sexes — the legal subordination of one sex to the other — is wrong itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; and that it ought to be replaced by a principle of perfect equality, admitting no power or privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other” (Mill, 652). By bringing the opposite sexes together into a partnership, students will see a shift in attitudes. Women will not feel an inferior bondage to men and men will not be capable of controlling women as they were in history. The idea of a male dominant society should not be present at our university or institution.
A change in the attitudes of our students will provide reasons for our institution to see the need to change. Once students feel like they have changed social relations between the sexes, they will feel more empowered to change political aspects of our university. If a broader range and larger number of students show their concern for women’s safety, the university will be more likely to take steps to reform. Students will desire reforms that will prevent dangerous situations for women, such as free cab rides home from any location. The reforms will create a safer and more comfortable community. Most importantly, men and women will feel like they can work together to create institutional changes. The ultimate goal of actually implementing the prevention will reach our authorities, who will then encourage the advocation, attitude changes and new reforms throughout campus.
Mill, John S. The Subjection of Women. 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2008. 652-705. Print.
Lavaque – Manty, Mika. Political Science Lecture. 02 12 2009. Lecture.