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Sunday, 12 November 2017

Women have always been oppressed...?


No. We have not. This is a feminist myth. Women have not been ‘oppressed since the beginning of time.’ ‘Oppressed’ is a strong word to use. Oppression could describe the people of North Korea; the slaves trapped during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, or the Jews in Nazi Germany. Oppression means a situation where people are governed in a cruel or unjust way and prevented from having freedom.


First part of that statement: ‘governed in a cruel or unjust way.’ Certainly women have been traditionally treated differently from men. Humans have spent most of our time on this earth as hunter-gatherers, before the ‘Agricultural Revolution’ which eventually led to the Industrial and Scientific Revolutions. During our time as hunters, men protected the tribe and went out to hunt, whilst women prepared the food and looked after the children. This division of labour made sense and is how men and women coexisted for a long time.

Fast forward to the 21st century; because of technology we don’t live in the same way we used to live. A man doesn’t need to ‘protect’ the tribe in the same way as now we have houses and locks and keys to protect us. Electrical appliances have made things like cooking and housework much easier, giving women time to pursue things outside of the home.

‘Cruel or unjust way.’ Hm. Have women truly been treated ‘badly’ since the beginning of time? From the way humans are, we’ve treated each other very badly in lots of ways. From cutting open organs to sacrifice to ‘gods’ to starting wars over land, humans are a shitty bunch. One could say there have been cases of cruel and unjust treatment against men and women. During the 17th Century, women who had red hair, green eyes, lived alone or owned cats were frequently accused of being witches. (I love cats and my hair’s dyed red so I guess I’d have been on the grind). But is this sexism or just people being ignorant superstitious cunts? What about men killing other men during war? What about men being expected to ‘die for their country’ in ways women have not been?

The origins of the feminist movement began in France, and they were about empowering women and gaining women voting rights, increasing female education, and allowing women to see themselves through their own self-image as opposed to through the eyes of a man. Examples of feminist philosophers who have written on female identity are Mary Wollstoncraft and Simone De Beaviour. Both advocated that women create their own identity, as opposed to looking at themselves through the lenses of men.

I am not ‘anti’ feminism; I don’t like to say I’m anti or pro anything (besides cats; I’m pro-cats). I think the feminist movement had good intentions and has helped to achieve the place of women in society in terms of valuing ourselves as a whole, realising our self-worth, and not looking at ourselves from a man’s perspective. I think feminism is something that should be about empowering women, not telling women that they are and have always been ‘oppressed’ and had ‘no rights.’ Feminism could be a good thing, but unfortunately the way it has gone has turned it into something ugly and useless. It should be pro-women and see men and women as different and complimenting each other, not be anti-men and see women as victims who need special treatment.

End Note: This post is broad in order to coincide with the broad statement feminists make about 'women being oppressed since the beginning of time.' I don't doubt that in certain countries (namely Middle Eastern) women do face oppression in comparison to men. If we go back to the statement of oppression being 'treated in a cruel or unjust way', this does not apply to modern day Britain, but can apply to modern day Saudi Arabia where women can't drive, go anywhere without a man, and can get stoned to death for being sexually assaulted.

4 comments:

  1. nice post, sure women have faced some historical injustices but they've also received special treatment

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