No one else is free while others are oppressed”, states Martin L. King. It is an essential claim that women are oppressed. What is oppression? Oppression is the subjugation by one group to another group. By being oppressed you are being denied your human right to be an equal. Equality should not be an unattainable ideal that is only imagined in a far off place. Equality should be realistic and true. However, is equality just an unrealistic ideal for women in today’s society? To achieve a goal of equality, oppression has to be dealt with in the way we talk, the way we live, and the way we are taught. The treatment of women in today’s society is related to culture and the society we are living in. Only by taking a couple steps back can you see that oppression is in our homes and in our everyday lives. We live in a man’s world, and we also live in a society of double standards. Take for example our language; this form of communication describes our values and attitudes. In language women are often oppressed in words such as: Mrs., Miss, Ms. this form of language is a tool for ownership. If we hear the word Mrs., automatically she is married or “owned” by her husband. However, Mr. is only used in one connotation. Like Frye expresses, unless looked at from the “big picture” prospective, it is neglected. This is just one example of our language that reflects the subordination of women.
Marilyn Frye relates oppression to a birdcage. You cannot see oppression just by looking at one bar in the cage; you have to look at the whole picture. Only by taking a couple steps back can you see that oppression is in our homes and in our everyday lives. My conception of racism is informed by the work of Marilyn Frye in her piece entitled “Oppression”. Frye describes oppression as a systematic social structure the purpose of which is the subjugation of various groups of people in relation to a dominant group. She says: “The experience of oppressed people is that the living of...
References: 1. Adams, M., Blumenfeld, W.J., Castaneda, R., Hackman, H.W., Peters, M. L., & Zuniga, X. (2013). Readings for diversity and social justice (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge.
2. Frye, Marilyn (1983). “Oppression”. The Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory (pp1-16). Trumansburg: The Crossing Press, 1983.
3. Hill Collins, Patricia 2005. "Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender and the New Racism" Routledge.
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