Big Question: What is Oppression?

Oppression is power.  It is power over another person.  Oppression doesn’t have to be intentional, it doesn’t have to be in bad faith, and it doesn’t have to be blatant.  In Bell Hooks’s 1986 article entitles “Political Solidarity Between Women,” the dynamics of power (and therefore oppressive ideologies) are examined.  For example, white cis women, generally those who are middle or upper class seem to be the gatekeepers of feminism.  They want other types of women to join the feminist movement.  To assume that a movement “belongs” to this group of people that has all this privilege, and that they are simply allowing other, oppressed groups, into the movement is a form of oppression. People within oppressed groups may be prejudiced, they may be discriminatory (for largely justified reasons), but they cannot oppress. The key to oppression is the power that one group holds over another, and for as long as that one group remains in power, they will continue to oppress the other groups.


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