Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a known writer and he focused his work on enlightenment. He mainly depicted the society in its natural view, and he championed the virtue of women and equality of men. According to Rousseau, apart from the factors concerning sex, then a woman is a man. He majorly says that a woman’s authority is derived from the morals she upholds in the society. A woman should recognize her place in the society to avoid dishonor in the family setting.
Rousseau’s work has influenced women positively in many ways. He argues that to make the young ladies understand the importance of having good morals in the society, it is important to impact real morals in line with reason. It does not draw much worth just telling them ‘be pure;' it makes so big a difference showing them exactly how a good woman should behave and how she upholds her morals. In essence, practically teaching them and also leading by example would be of great help.
He also argues that the empire of a woman is that of gentleness, skill and obligingness. He says this in good faith and it positively influences the lives of women in the society. This is because he believes that a woman should know her place in the family and should not try to usurp the authority of the head. In essence, despite the authority a woman may have in a household, it is only logical not to try and overthrow the head of the family because it would only result in dishonor, scandals, and misery.
Jean says that “If woman is made to please, she ought to make herself agreeable to man instead arousing him. It is by this that she ought to constrain him and find his strength and make use of it” In essence, he argues that women should use her charms in order to compel a man and know their strength, therefore using it. This has influenced the society negatively since women use their charms to indulge in malpractices like prostitution to get money. This is not a way of upholding the morals of a woman in the society.
Another factor that negatively influences the lives of women is the fact that he prefers an uneducated woman since an uneducated one would only bring misfortune with her brilliance. This kind of thinking results in women disregarding education. Women do not see the need for education and therefore focus on only pleasing their husbands and raising their children. This is a negative impact on the society.
Rousseau’s work is very debatable when considering the place of the woman in the society. In my opinion, the work of Rousseau has a more negative effect on the place of a woman in the society especially when he says that women I made to please a man. To some extent he is right but as he advances with his visions for womanhood, he tends to depict a woman as the lesser being. He also depicts an educated woman as a misfortune. He, therefore, shows negativity in the woman’s position in the society.
DiCaprio, Lisa, and Merry E. Wiesner. 2001. Lives and voices: sources in European women's
history. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co.