Stafford, William (2004) Is Mill's "liberal" feminism "masculinist"? Journal of political ideologies, 9 (2). pp. 159-179. ISSN 1356-9317

John Stuart Mill is examined as a test case of the charge levelled by some feminist critics that liberal ideology is essentially 'masculinist'. This charge is rejected on the grounds that it misinterprets Mill, fails to recognize the variety and flexibility of liberal ideology, and falsely assumes unchanging concepts of masculinity and femininity. An older tradition regards this representative liberal as a 'feminine philosopher', and it can be argued that Mill 'feminized' his radical heritage. His ideology sustains policy proposals that pay attention to women, his conception of subjectivity breaks with a neo-Hobbesian model which he would balance with 'feminine' qualities, and his concept of the citizen is neither explicitly nor implicitly 'masculine'. He does not assume a gendered public/private divide, nor rank the public above the private; and in the light of all his writings the charge that he consigns most women to the domestic is exaggerated.

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