Are Women Oppressed in the West?

I brought this up in another post as commentary, but I wanted to revive this again here. I find the term oppression one that is unconvincing to me when it comes to women. It seems to me that women like men had status depending on where they fit into the social ladder throughout history, but had different roles.

What I have a serious problem with is the across the board definition of women’s situation throughout history as oppression. First of all, nearly every oppressed group we can think of throughout history (which nearly always includes both men and women) has at some point at least tried to rise against their oppressors. I can’t think of an instance where women have done this.

Second: oppressed groups don’t get to adjust how they are treated. It seems to me that women began writing about a desire to change their generally social status since the 18th century and have been making a steady progress of change since then. But this could not have happened without the consent of men. What I mean by this is that for example under the Taliban non-approved religious groups and women, for example, were genuinely oppressed in that they had no political voice and no means of redressing injustice. However women in the West can legally lobby for political change, can challenge the status quo, can air their views whenever they want to.

Third: the oppression spoken of, with its roots in 1950s feminism, refers to a form of psychological cultural persuasion  more than anything. While it is described as having physical results, it is generally described as having psychological origins. So while you could call this unfair, or wrong, or misguided if you wanted to, calling it oppression creates the viewpoint that it is like a conspiracy.

I think that the idea that women are oppressed in general (say that the average woman living in the United States, Canada, France, etc is oppressed) vs. saying that women in cultures where they are literally forced to be silent confuses gender issues and makes them impossible to discuss intelligently. It creates a trump card that enables one side to walk away at leisure. Furthermore, it makes it harder to discuss general issues of injustice.

When I think about the issues that trouble modern marriage, I see feminism as contributing to them in a big way.

In modern marriage, couples often don’t have any kind of traditional support around them. You have to work to earn a living, but a chunk of your time is taken simply traveling, because few of us live close to work. So you have little time; children take even more time. You don’t have extended family or trustworthy neighbors for the most part so you spend a LOT of time together as a couple in the emotional pressure cooker. And so you add to the mixture this idea of an emotional laundry list that is filed under “Male Oppression of Women”. Male and female we are told of male privilege, and of course the best thing about this is that it is something men may not be conscious of. So add to all the real anxieties a set of concerns that may not even genuinely concern the particular couple–because the man has been told that his position is inherently unfair towards the woman in his life, and the woman has been told that it’s such a shame that she has to put up with that man.

Even to talk as though marriage and family are important enough to perhaps put particular personal concerns aside for is described as oppression. This makes it more difficult than it would be to begin with to determine what a good marriage is.

Of course the term won’t go away, but I believe it’s important to challenge it whenever possible.

9 thoughts on “Are Women Oppressed in the West?

  1. No, they are not.
    Last Friday morning the drive time AM talk folks were yakking about something and the main one (this is a conservative station) started blathering about how far we still have to go to get wyminz up to equality. I tried to call in and it was busy. These are local guys and not the sharpest knives in the drawer but to prattle off that conventional wisdom is painfully lazy intellectually. However, the show is a three-fer, a white guy, a black guy, and a white woman, and it was the white guy doing all the wallowing… predictable.

  2. Honestly I don’t think Western women don’t know what real oppression really is. A lot of women in the middle east are oppressed. Western women are not.

  3. “What I mean by this is that for example under the Taliban non-approved religious groups and women, for example, were genuinely oppressed in that they had no political voice and no means of redressing injustice”

    with-holding political and judicial power from women doesnt = oppression!

    it = sanity (unless you want even MORE feminist governance, laws, schools, families, etc.)

    females in islamic countries arent oppressed — their cultures simply try to restrain the female will-to-power which has already conquered the west

    that is called national and cultural self-preservation, not “oppression” (except to feminists)

    indeed, the islamic “threat to woman” is the chief tool that the United Sisterhood of Amerika uses to justify (extremely profitable!) wars in the mideast

    females were created as help-meets, not as the Moral Police and Gulag Supervisors of males, nor even as Equals (and men should know by now what “equal” actually means)

    females in the west arent oppressed — theyre the oppressors, and they use children to further and deepen their oppression of men

    here’s Christ’s DIRECT STATEMENT about oppressors, thru Isaiah:

    “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them”

    funny thang is, whenever i write that sentence, EVERYBODY gets pissed at me! ESPECIALLY THE “CHRISTIANS” lol

    lotta folks talk about “the truth” but few can handle it

    based on their leader’s actual statement — not the OPINIONS of “pastors” and “ministers” and bloggers and etc — no true Christian has any business believing this world’s lies about females being the victims of “oppression”

  4. I can’t argue there. It’s true

    the real question is: given the evidence before us all across the west, why would anybody (except die-hard feminists) even WANT to argue with Jesus speaking an obvious truth so crucial to the understanding and healing of our times?

    but fact is, EVERYBODY wants to argue against it!

    especially “Christians” (tho their typical tactic is to ignore the passage and move on to other issues, ANY other issues, and fast)

    given the rarity of Christ’s direct words concerning male/female relations, one would think this passage would be at the very heart of guidance and practice for REAL Christians

    neither the religious nor the secular LIKES coming to terms with the reality of this planet, and the reality of the true power dynamic between men and women

    NOBODY wants to preach Isaiah 3:12, NOBODY wants to hear it, they dont want any “disruptions” to the smooth comfort of their lives (particularly in the US, where most “christian” men are quite fat and happy, materially)

    i’m almost 60 and i’ve NEVER heard that passage preached anywhere in the world, nor even referred to tangentially

    it is taboo — just as the real spirit of Christ is taboo in America, whose national purpose is opposite to His

    denial of Isaiah 3:12 is rebellion against God, and pretending it aint there will be no excuse

  5. Genesis 3:17 Because you have heeded the voice of your wife,… Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.

    Proverbs 31:3 Do not give your strength to women, Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.

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