Thomas More was the first person to come up with this idea of utopia, a place where everything is perfect and nothing could go wrong. However, there’s no doubt that the utopia Thomas More imagined is a patriarchal society. Being an old white Christian man is basically top tier in this utopia (but let’s be honest, it’s top tier in our world too.) There is misogynistic undertone throughout the entire passage.
For example, he described that every person must work and every person has a certain field of expertise such as carpentry, smiths work, and masonry. More so effortlessly mentions that the women’s job, for the most part, is to deal in wool and flax because it “suits best with their weakness, leaving the ruder trades to men.” As if women are incapable of doing any work unless it involves clothes making, cooking and children. One can argue that at least the women are working, however, the jobs provided to the women are very limiting of their abilities.
As he continues to explain the distribution of labor in this utopia, he mentions that “Women generally do little, who are the half of mankind.” …I don’t think that needs any further explanation. Furthermore, he believes that in a perfect world, women are married off and our of their households and sent to live with the husband. Believe it or not, this is still a practiced custom in a countless patriarchal countries around the world.
Although these few examples degrade women in More’s utopia, this piece is something that is truly revolutionary and had never been done before prior to the 16th century. I believe his ideas were far more developed than others living in this time period.