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Sigmund Freud on
John Stuart Mill

Quoted by Ernest Jones in
The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud,
Penguin edition pp 166-167
see Blanche Wittman faint
(or feint?)

"He was perhaps the man of the [19th] century who best managed to free himself from the domination of customary prejudices. On the other hand - and that always goes together with it - he lacked in many matters the sense of the absurd; for example, in that of female emancipation and in the woman's question altogether.

I recollect that in the essay I translated a prominent argument was that a married woman could earn as much as her husband. We surely agree that the management of house, the care and bringing up of children, demand the whole of a human being and almost excludes any earning, even if a simplified household relieve her of dusting, cleaning, cooking, etc. He had simply forgotten all that, like everything else concerning the relationship between the sexes.

His autobiography is so prudish ... that one could never gather from it that human beings consist of men and women and that this distinction is the most significant one that exists. In his whole presentation it never emerges that women are different beings - we will not say lesser, rather the opposite - from men. He finds the suppression of women an analogy to that of Negroes. [See Mill 1869, par. 1.25] Any girl.. whose hand a man kisses and for whose love he is prepared to dare all, could have set him right...

I believe that all reforming action in law and education would break down in front of the fact that, long before the age at which a man can earn a position in society, Nature has determined woman's destiny through beauty, charm, and sweetness. Law and custom have much to give women that has been withheld from them, but the position of women will surely be what it is: in youth an adored darling and in mature years a loved wife."

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Other works

1900: Interpretation of Dreams

1913: Totem and Taboo

1923: The Ego and the Id

1924: The Dissolution of the Oedipus Complex

1926: The Question of Lay Analysis

1930: Civilisation and its Discontents

1933: The Dissection of the Psychical Personality

1933: Femininity

1938: An Outline of Psychoanalysis