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Robinson 1 James D.

Robinson Professor Thomas Lombardi ENGL 102 22 December 2013

On the Equality of the Sexes Equality as word mean simply for two or more parties and or groups to be equal but the equality of the sexes means much more. The history of control and degradation over women is not only destructive but unnatural. "We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls: 'You can have ambition but not too much. You should aim to be successful but not too successful. Otherwise you will threaten the man.'”(Adichie 2009) Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s statements sum up a great injustice that hasn’t changed since 1779 When Judith Sargent Murray wrote about the inequality of the sexes. If equality of the sexes is possible then when will it come about? Is equality of the sexes impossible? I believe that equality of the sexes is not only possible it is something that shall be reached I believe during my lifetime.

The movement towards an entire generation of Americans being the most educated generation since the founding of America is already have a profound effect on politics and social identity. The growing acceptance of homosexuals is proof of the changing of ideals towards a more accepting and understanding society, women already are in the majority across college capes across the nation. This movement towards education and career success and less focus being given to the rearing of children and procreation combined with greater access to higher paying career such as Engineering, Lawyer, Physician and Surgeon; are allowing women to compete with men not only economically but socially as well. For we are all born with an ascribed social status but through economic mobility one can change their ascribed social status and reach a higher achieved social status.

Robinson 2 “Is it upon mature consideration we adopt the idea, that nature is thus partial in her distributions? Is it indeed a fact, that she hath yielded to one half of the human species so unquestionable a mental superiority?” (Murray 1779) Murray touches on an argument that is often heard when one is debating the equality of the sexes or trying to advance the rights of women in America. The argument most used by those against women’s rights is that women are biological weaker and there for are in need of the protection of men. Countless studies have been done on the mental facilities of women and men, these studies have found no difference that would make men more intelligent than women. An article in Forbes talks about a study done by James Flynn talking about the IQ scores of men and women, the findings from over the last hundred years show that the women have surpassed men in IQ. Does this mean that women are smarter or better than men? No but it does help to prove that women aren’t inferior biologically as was once thought especially during Ms. Murray’s life time.

The thought that the one sex is supposed to be nothing more than a broodmare is not only disgusting and sad but a truly sad theme that Murray touched on in her essay. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie sums up the thoughts and themes of Murray’s essay very well as Ms. Adichie states “Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support, but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors, not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.” The thought that one sex should plan their life and life choices around the whims of the other sex is simply wrong and unfair, Murray talks about how the mistreatment of one sex is unnatural and how the ability to be equals is inherent. “At length arrived at womanhood, the uncultivated fair one feels a void, which the employments allotted her are by no means capable of filling. What can she do? To books she may not apply; or if she doth, to those only of the novel kind, lest she merit the appellation of a learned lady; and what ideas have been affixed to this term, the observation of many can testify.” (Murray 1779)

Robinson 3 The void that Murray is talked about in her essay is how in her age women couldn’t hold jobs that involved education that could rival that of a man. Meaning women couldn’t be doctors or lawyers or professors of science as the thought was that women where inferior to men. Ms. Murray faced a great deal of produced and discrimination as a woman because in her age a woman could right but she could only write a novel or poems never anything that demonstrated learned study or the advancement of the mind or an idea. Has the western world come farther towards equality of the sexes since the time of Ms. Murray? Yes the western world has made wonderful strides towards equality but there is still a great deal of work to be done. Women still aren’t seen as complete equals and given equal respect and truly equal rights, the late Margaret Thatcher was truly a pioneer for not only women but for every human being as she showed that not only personal strength but the will of the mind can change the minds of millions.

Robinson 4 Works Cited Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. "Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story." TED: Ideas worth Spreading. TED, 01 Oct. 2009. Web. 22 Dec. 2013. Walton, Alice G. "Women Surpass Men In IQ, But Are Other Factors More Important?" Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 16 July 2012. Web. 22 Dec. 2013. <>. Murray, Judith Sargent. "On the Equality of the Sexes." On the Equality of the Sexes. I. Thomas and E.T. Andrews, 11 May 2012. Web. 22 Dec. 2013. <>.