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Marília Moscou

Joined: Apr 18, 2004
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Gender opression: here, there and everywhere
May 12, 2008

Very few societies in world's history didn't have the cultural habit of hierarchisizing genders.

From not having some or any rights (legally or practically) to waxing or having surgeries in order to fit in some beauty pattern, how do you see gender opression in your culture?

What would be necessary to change it?

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Diviya Shankar

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Re: Gender opression: here, there and everywhere
Sep 24, 2008

In many developing countries, gender opression exists. However, i noticed that you brought up the topic of beauty patterns which i think generally exists more in developed nations. In countries such as the United States, where pageants are held on a large scale, women are more aware of their rights and have a choice in doing what they do. Unless they are forced into it...then i wouldn't consider it gender opression. Personally, I think women who get involved in beauty pageants give the wrong impression to the opposite sex of what women are actually capable of. There are alot of men (I'm not saying all) out there who get the idea that pretty women do not have strengths nor the ability to contribute significantly. Women everywhere can bring about tremendous improvements in their respective countries, given the opportunity to do so. It starts with equal rights to education, equal rights to job opportunities and more people need to acknowledge the fact that women are men's equals in every way and can do things men can do equally well.

- All out for empowering women all around -

This post was edited on: 2009-03-15 at 11:13 AM by: Diviya


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Julia

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Re: Gender opression: here, there and everywhere
Feb 16, 2009

I don't quite agree with Diviya in that the pressure on women to follow a certain idea of beauty and/or femininity is only prevalent in developed nations. I can't remember which tribe it was that keeps adding rings to women's necks until they cannot take them off anymore without breaking their necks and dying (which is exactly what happens when the woman is accused of cheating on her husband). Chinese feet binding and FGM are other examples of torturous methods to make women "comply" with a standard that is supposed to give men more pleasure, be it visual or sexual. Both men and women are responsible for maintaining these "traditions."
The difference to developed nations, in my opinion, lies more in the apparent absence of violence. Women are no longer physically forced to undergo these procedures. Pressure is more subtle and the act of beautifying apparently voluntary.
In the end, however (and again, this is my opinion), the female body continues violated. Here in Brazil, plastic surgery is rampant with the media actively promoting it as appropriate for any woman that can afford it.
It's yet another symptom of gender inequity and discrimination. And again, it's us women who need to be the first to shift the paradigm.


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Marília Moscou

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Re: Gender opression: here, there and everywhere
Feb 16, 2009

As a social scientist I must question something pointed out here to carry on with the debate;

Julia mentioned other forms of torturous beauty treatments from may cultures. After that, she explains that in her opinion the difference is that the ocidental methods are some sort of "hidden" violence, in her opinion they do not seem to be violent (apparently of course).

On the other hand, Julia, they obsviously do not seem violent to you, since you've probably grow up with them all around you, right? Women from the cultures you've mentioned, if asked are very unlikely to answer that those are violent methods.

Careful when generalizing opinions; there is no such thing as impartiality when thinking about cultures.

Once a friend from Tunisia told me how awful she thought it should be having to wax every month.


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Pap-sy

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Gender oppression - its a matter of who & who's involved
Feb 18, 2009

Interestingly, i had a discussion with some friends of mine at class two days ago. it was the issue of gender oppression. From everything discussed, i saw that concepts which people always have is what affects our ways of thinking about who is being oppressed or not. the feminine gender feel they have been oppressed and are still being oppressed, and so want to break free from that oppression.

Well, everybody is involved in this issue, because not every man would suppress everywoman and not every woman would want to subject herself to the headship of a man.

So, i'd say it's who and who is involved that really answers the question of oppression. But on a grand scale, i'd saw the women have been oppressed majorly not because of the will upon them by the men, but rather becuase of their own subjugation to equality. (most women don't go to school, they choose not to work at high cadre in certain institutions, they also feel weak compared to their masculine gender). So.....


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Miranda

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Re: Gender opression: here, there and everywhere
May 6, 2009

I think I'm pretty lucky that, as a student at a public high school, gender oppression is not overt. However, I think most students have ingrained opinions in their heads, like that women are supposed to be subservient to men, that they're supposed to always care about their appearance, etc.

I also think a lot of stereotypes related to this are perpetrated in high school. For example, on my school's quizbowl team, there are two girls, and about 20 boys. If you ask any of the guys why this is, they'll probably say that it's because "girls aren't as competitive" or something like that, though we've played against plenty of schools where the number is about even. Also, most of the male players consider guys to be better at math and science, which they also consider to be the "difficult subjects" (more than history and language), and girls are only good at the "easier" subjects. Guys don't have to bother to learn them. The one guy who's pretty good at literature on our team is dismissed as being gay (even though he isn't), though that's a whole 'nother issue.

I know it's not that serious in the long run, but it's the stereotypes started in childhood--that you can just dismiss women, that they're superficial and not as smart as men--that cause violence later on.


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Jennifer Moule

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Re: Gender opression: here, there and everywhere
Aug 11, 2009

While I'd agree that not every individual man and woman actively participates in gender inequalities, I wouldn't say that it is active participation from individuals that maintains gender inequality per se.

In western culture, at least, the gender inequality is often so subtle and, for lack of a better word, tricky that many people deny its existence or blame the people involved in the fewer, more obvious cases. For women, it's my opinion that feeling inferior to men isn't a choice and often goes unnoticed until certain eye-opening events, if at all. I believe that this is because it's so ingrained in what we "Know" about gender that many don't notice that there is something wrong with it at all.

In actuality though, there is a reason that many women are hesitant to vocalize disagreement with men, that they are likely to shrug off disrespectful behaviour, and that they feel pressured to appear attractive and thin at all times, and it's not explicit choice. Many women notice these behaviours in themselves and wonder why they feel compelled to participate in them.

In some ways, the fact that these pressures are often so subtle and unnoticed may make the gender inequality so much more pervasive and difficult to tackle. Stepping away from an individual focus and recognizing the societal "orders from elsewhere" I think is essential in battling these pressures in order to start changing what is demanded of women.


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siddiqua

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Re: Gender opression: here, there and everywhere
Aug 29, 2009

Since you did mention waxing as a subtle form of gender oppression, I want to add here that men and women everyhwere try to please the opposite sex so waxing can't really be considered as a form of oppression because it isn't like plastic surgery (it doesn't drastically alter your appearance) or other forms of violence. It becomes oppression when you are ridiculed and made to feel bad for not doing it.


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Marília Moscou

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Re: Gender opression: here, there and everywhere
Aug 29, 2009

Yeah, but THAT is exactly the problem. I din't know where you come form but in my country, Brazil, everyone (including ourselves) makes us feel diminished if we don't wax or if we don't look good in a biquini, or if we do not meet the expectatios for what a "brazilian woman" should be. And each days it gets harder and harder to meet these expectations... I am writing a blog about it, the "Modern Woman Challenge", at www.modernwomanchallenge.blogspot.com
You're all absolutely invited to read it! wink


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Megan Steed

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Re: Gender opression: here, there and everywhere
Dec 10, 2013

I feel as if this is a simple debate. There should be no gender inequality or oppression. Women and Men should be treated equally in all forms of life. In some cultures and time periods, that was not the case. It is 2013, People should be equal by now, no matter their gender.


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