John Stuart Mill, The Male Feminist Arrested for Promoting Birth Control in 1823

Long before men were wearing pink knit caps and marching alongside women against oppression, male feminists in the 19th century were facing a much bigger cultural stigma. Philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote a book on feminism, was arrested for promoting birth control, and enjoyed a long marriage based on equality of husband and wife.

 

Proponent of liberty and equality

Born May 20, 1806, John Stuart Mill was an English civil servant, political economist, philosopher, and he was part of the liberal party that brought women’s suffrage to the able before his death on May 8, 1873.

John and his pal were arrested for distributing handing out pamphlets on birth control to women

Mill was the creator and author of many writings that were written on subjects not talked about during his time, especially by a man of an influential position, and indeed, the first of its kind.

Mill wrote an article called the Theory of Liberty, which addressed the overall nature, and limits of power that could be exercised by society, legitimately, over an individual.

Book covers were not very eye-popping back then.

He also believed that, “the struggle between Liberty and Authority is the most conspicuous feature in the portions of history”. That liberty was a “contest…between subjects, or some classes of subjects, and the government”.

 

Arrested for promoting birth control

Mill believed in a sort of control over population growth, stating how the working class could not improve if they saturated the market, not having enough jobs for everyone.

In 1823, John and his pal were arrested for distributing handing out pamphlets on birth control to women within working class area. Truly a first of its time.

 

The Subjection of Women

Mill was the author of “The Subjection of Women”, that was written in 1861, but not released until 1869. In his writing, he argued for education of woman, along with “perfect equality”. This was something rare and unique for its time, no doubt.

He also published “Considerations on Representative Government”, which also urged for universal, and graduated suffrage. Mill is without a doubt, considered one of the first male feminists.

19th-century male feminists postcards – collect ’em all!

 

His wife, Harriet Taylor Mill

Harriet Taylor Mill, John’s wife, and Harriet’s second husband, was also a British philosopher, and a women’s rights activist. Prior to their marriage, John awed Harriet, for he treated her with respect, and as an intellectual equivalent to him.

They would go on to collaborate on many writings promoting woman’s rights, though these texts would be published under his name solely. The two would get married two years after her first husband’s death, becoming partners legally in 1851. Hill’s marriage proposal to Harriet is yet another example, and model, of equality of sexes, which they both believed strongly about.

Probably not the most popular subject back then.

Buy John Stuart Mill’s books here:

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