John Stuart Mill Say Is Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

The servant is deemed 'other' by society, of an entirely different class than the mistress. The servant seems grateful simply to simply be employed to an individual of high-born status. The 'otherness' between the two women is so great, the servant does not even seem to perceive herself as part of the same substance as the lady. She has no jealousy of the fact that the lady does not work, and seems to not fully understand the sensual implications of the fact she is wearing the lady's jewels and intimately touches the lady to prepare her for the ball.

3. Mrs. Warrens Profession illustrates three different possibilities for Victorian women: Prostitution, marriage, or living as a New Woman. What do these three possibilities say about each other? What attitudes toward marriage are projected in the play? How is marriage equated with prostitution? What moral and ethical questions about respectable society does Shaw raise?

The three possible vocational options open to women in Victorian times all indicate 'Separate Spheres' 19th century ideology. This ideology suggested that the home and hearth was the 'feminine' sphere and the public sphere was a masculine domain. A married woman entirely gave up her rights and property to her husband and became completely dependent upon him economically. A New Woman could try to emulate a man, but had to live alone, or else she would become the legal subject of her sovereign husband. Living as a prostitute allowed women to sexually enjoy men (satisfying personal desire in some sense) but made them just as economically dependent upon men as married women, although they could at least keep the financial profits they earned from the arrangement. Marriage was a kind of legally sanctioned prostitution or at very least a kind of entrapment in which women were 'paid' for their sexual services with room and board. The social hypocrisy that tolerated prostitution behind closed doors but condemned prostitutes in public illustrated how unfairly women were treated: prostitutes were jailed but the men who paid their wages were not.

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