Women Oppression

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Marilyn Frye makes a very bold statement in her essay “Oppression” stating that “women are oppressed as women, but men are not oppressed as men” (Frye, 16). She claims that women are oppressed as women, because in our society females are defined by preconceived stereotypes of their gender. However, men are not oppressed as men because the male population holds social power and choose to not stigmatize their own gender. Instead they choose to stereotype and place social restrictions on the female gender in order to create a system to oppress women. This oppression is manifested in double-bind situations, social rituals, and stereotyped gender responsibilities and roles. From this oppression of women, men have benefited greatly and males’ lives have been made much easier. This is why I believe that Marilyn Frye is correct in her assertion, because it is absurd to think that men would be oppressed as men, when they have been controlling the gender restrictions for centuries. The first example of oppression made manifest is in double-bind situations. Throughout a woman’s lifetime she faces many double-bind situations in which the outcome for her is always guaranteed to be negative. Frye demonstrates this view by exploring two aspects namely that of a woman’s appearance and that of her sexual activity. Society has been structured in such a way that women must take care of how they look. If a woman is dressed sensually then it is assumed “one is advertising one’s sexual availability” (Frye, 12). Furthermore, if a woman decides to dress poorly then she is said to be unfeminine or does not care about herself (Frye, 12). For younger women in the United States the status of their sexual activity (whether they are sexually active or not) is faced with harsh criticism from males (Frye, 11). If one chooses not to be sexually active she is seen as “uptight”, a “man-hater”, a “bitch”, and a “cocktease” (Frye, 11). Furthermore she would be constantly told by men to “relax” and...
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