By definition, I understand oppression to be the unjust placement of burdens or use of discriminatory practices based on factors such as race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Oppression is inflicted upon certain groups or individuals by a more powerful group, and can be obvious, such as slavery in the United States, apartheid in South Africa, or the status of the Untouchables in India.
However, it can also be something we witness daily, such as the oppression of the female sex by the male sex. As explained in Christine Delphy’s article “Rethinking Sex and Gender,” society has imposed a hierarchy between the sexes, with females held below males. In her article “Sisterhood: Political Solidarity between Women,” Bell Hooks takes this idea one step further, claiming that the “sexist oppression” of women by men has taught women that their “relationships with one another diminish rather than enrich” life experiences and that value comes “only by relating to or bonding with men.” I found Hook’s idea interesting; I had never considered the existence of oppression within the feminist movement, as its main goal is always portrayed as fighting oppression. It is definitely true that oppression exists in our society; the question that remains is how we choose to address it.
Delphy, Christine. “Rethinking Sex and Gender.” Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives. Eds. Carole Mccann and Seung-Kyung Kim. New York: Routledge, 2003. 57-67. Print.
Hooks, Bell. “Sisterhood: Political solidarity between women.” Feminist Review 23 (1986): 125-138.