More’s Utopia was very alike to Plato’s Republic in many ways. Though filled with differing views as well. Both Plato and More act as if they’re being equal to both women and men, but they definitely steer towards rewarding men in their societies rather than women. More talks a lot about the mandatory factors in his utopia. Everyone is required to wear the same clothing, which I think they’re supposed to make from the whitest linens and wool. The only distinguishing factors about the clothing is to differentiate between the sexes and the married and unmarried. Women are to work with wool because it “suits best with their weakness”. Men work on ruder trades. All the rules and restrictions for families make this seem like a dictatorship, which I guess could be More’s idea of a perfect society. Each to their own.
The next most upsettingly misogynistic part of this “Utopia” is the “Of the Slaves and of Their Marriages” section. Women marry right when they turn 18. Possibly right when the clock strikes midnight cinderella type stuff. (Joke. Insert lame chuckle.) Men, however, get to wait until they’re twenty two. Those frat-boy-party years are important, aren’t they? But really, one of the worst parts about More’s idea of a perfect society is that women’s bodies are so important to the men. Yes, minds are important to them too, but More goes on to say “it is certain that there may be some such deformity covered with the clothes as may totally alienate a man from his wife when it is too late to part with her…If such a thing is discovered after marriage, a man has no remedy but patience. They therefore think it is reasonable that there should be good provision made against such mischievous frauds.” It is so mischievous for a woman to hide any deformity from a man, however nothing is said about a man having a deformity and the woman having any right to say anything about this. Yes, yes. Context is important. This was the 1500’s, but it’s still disappointing.