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Are all women oppressed on the basis of their sex?

(50 Posts)
brasty Wed 12-Oct-16 08:45:05

Okay this is inspired by another thread. But it is worth its own thread.
I would say that Feminism 101 is that all women are oppressed because they are women. All women experience sexism and male domination. The form that takes varies from women to women, and some experience far greater oppression than others. But every woman is oppressed.
What do you think?

pinkyredrose Wed 12-Oct-16 09:01:11

Yes I agree. There are many invisible barriers to the way we live our lives even if some would have us believe that there aren't.

fakenamefornow Wed 12-Oct-16 09:03:44

Maybe with the exception of the queen?

LassWiTheDelicateAir Wed 12-Oct-16 09:08:42

No I don't agree.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Wed 12-Oct-16 10:03:47

Yes, I agree. You can establish that we live in a patriarchy, and this affects all women. There's an imbalance of power but sometimes we get so used to it we don't even notice.

It's like racism. President Obama is hugely privileged but he has still experienced racism.

annandale Wed 12-Oct-16 10:07:44

Yes I believe this is still true. It varies and it morphs, the oppression is not the same in every place or every time, but it exists.

I do think that feminism should include the fact that there are times and places when men are oppressed for their sex as well. Neither cancels out the other. Oppression on the grounds of biology or on the grounds of gender stereotypes should be what feminism is against IMO.

scallopsrgreat Wed 12-Oct-16 10:14:13

Yes I agree.

I think if you cite someone like the Queen then you need to compare her with a man of equivalent rank e.g. a King. Would a King be told he needs to smile more or judged on what he wears, for example? In fact, it is already felt that a man in that role is above a woman because the reason Prince Philip is a Prince is because if he were King along side Elizabeth he would outrank her. So she is already being 'oppressed' (however, I'm generally choosing not to focus my energies on that particular area of inequality!)

scallopsrgreat Wed 12-Oct-16 10:15:16

Men aren't oppressed because of their sex.

annandale Wed 12-Oct-16 10:24:06

I'm really sorry but I don't agree with you scallops.

Fathers do get ignored in antenatal care and labour; boys do get circumcised because they are male; greater physical strength does mean being expected to earn unrelentingly until death, in some cultures funding an entire extended family. I do not for a minute think that any of these are the same as the oppressions visited on women for their sex - I know that the injury to women's bodies and lives in just having children is greater in every sphere, I know that FGM bears almost no resemblance to male circumcision in extent and injury, I know that the status benefit of being the earner is huge, but these things do exist, and to deny it is wrong I think.

ICJump Wed 12-Oct-16 10:34:43

Sorry fathers get ignored in labour is proof of sexism?
It's women doing women's work that gets babies out. Fathers inclusion at that point is only if it supports the work woman

annandale Wed 12-Oct-16 10:39:37

There are a lot of accounts of men being excluded from antenatal care, e.g. being ignored at antenatal classes, which is a start for them being excluded from the lives of young children, because it is considered to be women's work and men being involved in young children's lives is still sometimes considered to show weakness. The only men who get approval for involvement in young children's lives are high-status earners who get a big round of applause for leaving work on time.

Of course this is sexism! And of course it oppresses women more - but this is why I believe feminism is best for everyone, because men are oppressed as well, based purely on biology and additionally on gender stereotypes.

scallopsrgreat Wed 12-Oct-16 10:51:45

How is that oppressing men? Being ignored at antenatal classes is not oppression. That is putting the needs of pregnant women and babies/children ahead of men. I can see why that would look like oppression to men though.

The rest of what you've said furthers the oppression of women, not men.

scallopsrgreat Wed 12-Oct-16 10:55:40

"in some cultures funding an entire extended family." And who does the unpaid, low status often back breaking work of caring for that extended family? Because more often than not it isn't the men.

AuntDotsie Wed 12-Oct-16 11:05:32

There are a lot of accounts of men being excluded from antenatal care, e.g. being ignored at antenatal classes, which is a start for them being excluded from the lives of young children, because it is considered to be women's work and men being involved in young children's lives is still sometimes considered to show weakness.

I think that bears closer examination. Considered by whom and to whose benefit?

The classic answer is that men benefit massively from women's reproductive and domestic labour and that the 'women's work' trope keeps it that way. Some individual men may benefit less than others or be deeply unhappy with this, but men as a class cannot be oppressed by the very system their own class put in place to keep them at the top of the gender hierarchy.

annandale Wed 12-Oct-16 11:13:01

Patriarchy; yes; gender hierarchy; yes; but being higher up in a hierarchy does not mean not suffering from the restrictions it imposes.

Busted for using passive constructions because I'm not posting any actual evidence.

Batteriesallgone Wed 12-Oct-16 11:22:29

Yes all women are oppressed on the basis of their sex. Some more than others.

It is also possible for an oppressed person to collude in the oppression of others. Which is a shitty thing to do.

BertrandRussell Wed 12-Oct-16 11:24:43

The patriarchy is bad for women and men. The difference is that it was created by men for men. And changing it is largely in the hands of men.

Cockblocktopus Wed 12-Oct-16 11:28:17

What batteries said ^ word for word.

I would add, and I fucking hate making this about the menz, that I don't think men at all suffer from oppression based on their sex. I think they suffer from Sexism but not oppression based on sex.

almondpudding Wed 12-Oct-16 11:29:50

Men do not have a right to be included in antenatal care or labour, because they don't give birth.

This is not opression. It should not be necessary to deny that giving birth is women's work and the father's presence is the choice of the mother, for fathers to then engage fully with their children.

Men are not simply higher up the hierarchy. They are at the top of it! It exists to benefit them.

almondpudding Wed 12-Oct-16 11:43:15

Also, why are we having a thread about a thread.

OP told Lass she was not oppressed by a sexist article, and that articles in general have no power to oppress people.

If media is not included as one of the main contributors to systemic oppression in literate societies, then we're not all meaning the same thing by oppression.

Which is probably a major objection to saying oppression at all, that it can become very unclear what that refers to.

And the OP could have clarified that on the thread where she claimed media articles did not oppress people.

almondpudding Wed 12-Oct-16 11:46:31

This was Brasty's post:

'A newspaper article, no matter how much you dislike it, is not oppressing you.'

scallopsrgreat Wed 12-Oct-16 11:51:44

Oh is this one of those threads where the OP presents a statement, people take her on good faith, but, in fact, the OP doesn't actually agree with the statement and really just wants justification that all feminists are maaaaad?

YetAnotherSpartacus Wed 12-Oct-16 11:54:09

"All women being oppressed" is mutually exclusive from "men are oppressed too". In other words, even if some or all men are oppressed this has no bearing on the original question about whether all women are oppressed. I think the original question is interesting and will think some more about it. My gut reaction based on evidence as I see it is 'yes, all women are oppressed (some more than others)', but I find this most depressing ...

almondpudding Wed 12-Oct-16 11:56:30

Not in this case.

The OP on the other thread does believe women are oppressed, but not by media articles.

Which is an unusual position.

That would be better resolved on the original thread, so that the OP could explain what she then means when she says oppression.

Batteriesallgone Wed 12-Oct-16 12:10:18

The 'oppressed person' I was thinking of in my post wasn't a man btw. It was a childless lesbian...

I agree men aren't oppressed by sexism. I do believe black men (for example) are oppressed by racism, so to say all men aren't oppressed ever is too far of a sweeping statement for me. Within the confines of a feminist analysis though - men aren't oppressed.

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