Women Not the Weaker Sex by Mahatma Gandhi
In Women Not the Weaker Sex by Mahatma Gandhi we have the theme of equality, objectivity, control, justice and sacrifice. Taken from his The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi collection it becomes clear to the reader after reading the essay that Gandhi may be exploring the theme of equality. Gandhi argues that women are the equal of men and are in fact the better of the species. However they are not given the chance for quality by men due to men’s preconceptions of what a woman must be. A woman in a man’s eyes must be objectivised and to be seen to serve a man, particularly their husband. Who at all times must remain in control of his wife. Largely due to how it will be perceived by other men, if a husband cannot control his wife. Gandhi also believes that a woman is the far nobler of men due to the sacrifices they make. If anything Gandhi may be suggesting that a woman, due to men’s actions, views herself as lesser than a man.
Gandhi also believes that a woman should not wear jewelry as this only leads to her being objectified by men. Who base their opinion on woman by how the woman looks. The only way a woman can be equal to a man is if she does not wear adornments to please the man. There is also a sense that men do not value women’s minds or their mental abilities. Rather they view women as sexual objects. There for the pleasure of man. Quoting Tolstoy Gandhi believes that if women could realise the benefit of non-violence they would not consent to being called the weaker sex. Gandhi also goes as far as to suggest that calling women the weaker sex is a libel, man’s injustice to women.
If strength is meant brute strength than of course women are less than men for she has less brute than man. If strength is meant moral power than of course women are more superior to men. Unfortunately it is usually brute force that can determine the outlook of a marriage with man using brute force to control his wife. Though it is morally wrong. Gandhi also goes on to suggest that if women had not succumbed to men ‘she would have given the world an exhibition of the infinite strength that is latent in her.’ This line may be significant as it suggests just how under the control of men women actually are. Whereas both men and women would prosper if women were given equal opportunity.
Gandhi goes on to say that women are special custodians of all that is pure and religious in life and all daughters and sons should be treated on an equal footing. When it comes to the education of women Gandhi believes all women should receive the same education as men. However women will not set the pace by mimicking men rather they should be seen as a complement to men. Someone who is not overly controlling of men as men are of women. Though Gandhi’s wishes are admirable there remains countries in the world where women are still objectified and thought to be second class citizens. However in time things will improve for all women.