Women's Complicity in Sexual Oppression

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In countries such as Canada where sexual rights are equal, women are indeed complicit in their sexual oppression. It is so engrained in our society that many women are not even aware of when and how often they are being complicit. If women were not complicit, then women and men would truly be equal, there would be no “glass ceiling”, misogynistic behaviour wouldn’t be laughed off as “typical male” behaviour and the binary gender norms would not be so blindly followed. Where does this all begin? In a country with equal legal rights to our male counterparts, why are women complicit and how did it come to be so widely engrained in our culture and way of thinking?

Mothers themselves often teach their daughters how and when to be complicit. Perhaps without realizing it, women are teaching their daughters to participate in their own sexual oppression. From a young age, many girls are taught traditional “women” jobs (laundry, doing dishes, vacuuming) and encouraged to act like a “little lady”. (This would involve being mindful of others, obeying, quietly listening/playing, closing her legs when she sits, etc…) Also key in paving the way of a lifetime of complicity is a mother’s relationship with the child’s father – if they mother herself is complicit, she is teaching her daughter to behave the same way in the future with her partners. Whether a woman is raising a boy or a girl, by adhering to the norms and expectations placed on women she is perpetuating sexual oppression, most often subconsciously.

Women can also be quite complicit in their own sexual oppression by oppressing their fellow women. One need look no further than the school cafeteria to see girls belittle, criticize and ostracize one another beginning at a young age. Even mothers are oppressive and competitive with one another. A working mom, for example, is often looked down upon by stay at home moms (who are presumably being supported and cared for financially by their husbands). Women in...
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