What is Oppression?

Oppression is when women are forced to prove their abilities; they often have to show that they are as athletic as men or as strong as men or as authoritative. Men do not have to prove themselves because they are assumed to be all of these things. I think that the automatic assumption that another group is inherently less capable than the other is oppression. Simone de Beauvoir pointed out that “humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him” (de Beauvoir, 33). When another gender feels so inherently superior, oppression is almost inevitable.

Julia Serano pointed out that when she underwent the transition from male to female, she was surprised by how men started to treat her differently. They would call her a “bitch” for being assertive, they would stop speaking when she approached, and they would call out sexual innuendoes at her (Serano, 222). Women in many job fields have to deal with other obstacles such as sexual harassment and pay disparities. Thus, women are the oppressed gender because they have to face these types of hardships on a daily basis.

De Beauvoir, Simone. “The Second Sex: Introduction.” Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives. Ed. Carole R. McCann and Seung-Kyung Kim. New York: Routledge, 2003. 32-40. Print.

Serano, Julia. The Whipping Girl. Seal Press: 2007.


One thought on “What is Oppression?

  1. Pingback: The Second Sex: “Editor calls for A Skills Audit for SA’s Journalists” | Between The Lines

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