The True Enemies of Feminism: Tradition, Media and Society

Topics: Gender, Sociology, Male Pages: 7 (2753 words) Published: December 5, 2011
The True Enemies of Feminism:
Tradition, Media and Society

Name: Josef Kurt Aldric A. Astorga
Course: Introduction to Social Science AP/SOSC 1000 9 A (Y Term) Tutorial Leader: Jan Krouzil
Tutorial Number: TUTR 08

It would seem that as humans, we tend to develop hierarchical systems to determine and distribute order and power amongst society. Although, these systems tend to be biased through three intertwining factors; class, race and gender hierarchies. Each hierarchy has their own form of categorization, determining who ranks from highest to lowest. However, the topic of this essay revolves around the ongoing struggle of women being oppressed by their male counterpart, through multiple forms of inequity. There are certain controversies in the past that have made claims that men are biologically superior to women and that the social roles given to them are suited for their respectable gender. These claims have brought women inequality and injustice throughout the years, which caused the rise of feminism and the start of their prejudice against men. However, we cannot assume that men are the cause of such a movement. This essay will explain how these claims have been formed while challenging their ideas, in hopes to determine what truly enforces and encourages the ideology of female oppression and male supremacy.

One of the most important claims made by feminists throughout history is that society portrays men as the higher form of human species. This claim has been the root of Patriarchy, and many feminist movements. Liberal Feminists argued for equality, because only men were entitled to certain legal and political privileges; Social Feminists highlighted the treatment of women in society, for women were oppressed and exploited by the male population. Therefore, to find evidence, we must turn to science and biology to understand how we differentiate men and women, and how this difference determines who the better gender is. Gender Stratification, or Sex Stratification, is a “hierarchical ranking of the sex groups” that outlines the social inequalities between men and women (Johnson and Stockard 3). This system has the tendency to favour men having power over women. Ann Oakley quotes Dr. Robert Stroller’s definition of the relationship between gender and sex: “Gender is a term that has psychological and cultural rather than biological connotations; if the proper terms for sex are ‘male’ and ‘female’, the corresponding terms for gender are ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’” (qtd. in Oakley 8). We can assume that the term gender is a social construct based on physical appearances and characteristics defined by society. With that being said, a male can be feminine as a female can be masculine; so if there are no boundaries, as sexes can cross genders, how is it that women and femininity are always seen as the weaker sex and gender? Males are viewed as the stronger sex due to their “greater physical activity, strength and aggression”. It is often visible within a society that men are more prone to engage in crime, violence and dangerous activities (Oakley 16). Johnson and Stockard have further elaborated on this idea that the male-aggressive behaviour is in their nature: Males exhibit more aggressive behaviour than females in all known societies. Children exhibit these sex differences early in life, and there is little evidence that adults have “socialized” or encouraged males to increase these behaviours. Male nonhuman primates also exhibit more aggression than their female counterparts. (128) Although this proves that males are more aggressive, it does not explain how they are the better sex; in fact, they seem more unfit to live in a society that is based on rules. Men are considered as strong, large and barbaric creatures by nature, while women, on the other hand, tend to be seen as the opposite. Carole J. Sheffield believes that women are the contrast of men; if men are “self-reliant, courageous, competent and...
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