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Humanities Section => History General Discussion => Topic started by: stromboli on May 13, 2014, 01:05:18 PM

Title: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: stromboli on May 13, 2014, 01:05:18 PM
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/out-the-darkness/201208/why-men-oppress-women

Quote
In Europe the status of women has risen significantly over the last few decades, but in many parts of the world male domination and oppression continues. In many Middle Eastern countries, for example, women effectively live as prisoners, unable to leave the house except under the guardianship of a male guardian. (There are many Saudi Arabian women who have only left their houses a handful of times in their whole lives.) And when — or if — they do go outside, they are obliged to cover themselves from head to toe in black, leaving them in danger of vitamin deficiency and dehydration. They have no role at all in determining their own lives; they are seen as nothing more than a commodity, property of the males of the family, and as owners, the men have the right to make decisions for them. Their male owners have the right to have sex with them on demand too. In Egypt, surveys have shown that the vast majority of men and women believe it is acceptable for a man to beat his wife if she refuses sex.

There have been attempts to explain the oppression of women in biological terms. For example, in his book The Inevitablity of Patriarchy, the sociologist Stephen Goldberg suggests that men are naturally more competitive than women because of their high level of testosterone. This makes them aggressive and power-hungry, so that they inevitably take over the high status positions in a society, leaving women to the more subordinate roles.

However, in my view the maltreatment of women has more deep-rooted psychological causes. In my new book Back to Sanity, I suggest that most human beings suffer from an underlying psychological disorder, which I call ‘humania.' The oppression of women is a symptom of this disorder. It’s one thing to take over the positions of power in a society, but another to seemingly despise women, and inflict so much brutality and degradation on them. What sane species would treat half of its members — and the very half which gives birth to the whole species — with such contempt and injustice? Despite their high level of testosterone, the men of many ancient and indigenous cultures revered women for their life-giving and nurturing role, so why don’t we?

The oppression of women stems largely from men’s desire for power and control. The same need which, throughout history, has driven men to try to conquer and subjugate other groups or nations, and to oppress other classes or groups in their own society, drives them to dominate and oppress women. Since men feel the need to gain as much power and control as they can, they steal away power and control from women. They deny women the right to make decisions so that they can make them for them, leave women unable to direct their own lives so that they can direct their lives for them. Ultimately, they’re trying to increase their sense of significance and status, in an effort to offset the discontent and sense of lack created by humania.

But even this isn’t enough to explain the full terrible saga of man’s inhumanity to woman. Many cultures have had a strong antagonism towards women, viewing them as impure and innately sinful creatures who have been sent by the devil to lead men astray. This view was at the heart of the European witch-killing mania of the 15th to 18th centuries, and has featured strongly in all three Abrahamic religions. As the Jewish Testament of Reuben states:

Women are evil, my children…they use wiles and try to ensnare [man] by their charms…They lay plots in their hearts against men: by the way they adorn themselves they first lead their minds astray, and by a look they instil the poison, and then in the act itself they take them captive…So shun fornication, my children and command your wives and daughters not to adorn their heads and faces.

This is linked to the view — encouraged by religions — that instincts and sensual desires are base and sinful. Men associated themselves with the “purity” of the mind, and women with the “corruption” of the body. Since biological process like sex, menstruation, breast-feeding and even pregnancy were disgusting, women themselves disgusted them too.

In connection with this, perhaps men have resented the sexual power that women have over them too. Feeling that sex was sinful, they were bound to feel animosity to the women who produced their sexual desires. In addition, women’s sexual power must have affronted their need for control. This meant that they couldn’t have the complete domination over women — and over their own bodies — that they craved. They might be able to force women to cover their bodies and faces and make them live like slaves, but any woman was capable of arousing powerful and uncontrollable sexual impulses inside them at any moment. The last 6000 years of man’s inhumanity to woman can partly be seen as a revenge for this.

First of all, I don't buy all of this. Nor the argument that he makes about another author's assertions. As I have mentioned here a few times, I was raised by a single mother in a very predominant patriarchal society. I think it is too simplistic to say simply that men got Testosterone and therefore need to dominate women.

In my mother's case, she was usually smarter than the men she was dealing with and they felt threatened by her. I got her side on a lot of issues, including the fact that she at one point de facto ran a shirt factory while the men above her got the pay and the credit. My mother was a world class seamtress- most of the clothes I wore growing up, she made. She got kicked out of a Relief Society job as a literary resource because she introduced Mormon Women to Jane Austen, Willa Cather and other female authors with a different view. My brother and myself, of all the family at large, were the only two that graduated from college. Everything we did she encouraged. What a gal.

One thing I like about Neil Tyson's "Cosmos" is that he has taken pains to point out the contributions of women to Cosmology and Physics. Their contribution is huge, considering the lack of women in the field over the centuries. Women do have a different viewpoint and different approach, which gives them an insight into issues often lacking in men.

My personal experience is that women given equal opportunity are equal to men at virtually any task, excluding perhaps something that requires size or brute strength to perform. As a firefighter I was skeptical of women as firefighters, but they have proven up to the task.

There is to a great extent a religious basis, and also that of the need to "protect the herd" prior to the advent of overcrowded societies, birth control and so forth. Now, with the reassertion of attacks on feminists, slut shaming, attacks on Planned Parenthood, personhood and so forth, whatever the other reason for suppression of women's rights, I think now the focus can be laid squarely on the shoulders of religion, certainly in the Middle East.

I would really like to know the womens opinions on this.
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Aletheia on May 13, 2014, 04:00:45 PM
It's human nature to exploit those perceived as being weak. It's also human nature to try to conceal weakness whenever you can because of the former.

Women are viewed as weak initially, at least physically. This is then unfairly extended to other areas of life, which isn't true. Since this isn't  true, women's roles in societies were restricted in such a way that left women in a weakened state therefore making them appear to be weak in other areas of life as well.

Then include the idea that women are now forced into a weakened state and yet some of these women are still better than men in certain areas of life (particularly roles considered "masculine"). Since these men do not want to be perceived as weak and therefore exploited by their peers or society in general, they follow the path of least resistance - place the woman in a weaker state, as opposed to trying to do better than her.

I doubt gender really had that much to do with it, to be honest. You could insert just about any group of people who are viewed as weaker than another group with the same result.

Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Solitary on May 13, 2014, 04:30:00 PM
 :surprised:  :redface: And here I thought you were a male. Sorry, I really did---how can I answer this without being a sexists? I'm not by the way. I just admired your post and agreed with most of them and assumed you were a male that like women like I do. Whew! At least now I don't feel gay, not that there is anything wrong with that. Oh crap, it keeps getting worse. I like you period! Solitary
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Contemporary Protestant on May 13, 2014, 04:33:10 PM
I wonder what Goldberg thinks about beta males, I'm male (with normal testosterone levels) and I'm super chill, which some people regard me as weak but eh i have little stress because of my tendency to avoid conflict and dramatic people
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Solitary on May 13, 2014, 04:41:01 PM
I have zero testosterone now. I think I'm a castrato. My voice hasn't change though, and I still don't like it, but I still like women. Solitary
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: AllPurposeAtheist on May 13, 2014, 06:57:42 PM
 My mother would be proud of your embarrassment.  :rotflmao:
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: aitm on May 13, 2014, 09:39:25 PM
Insecurity at the base I would surmise. When you have nothing, or little, you know you will never have that power or control that others do. You must find that power the only place you can truly wield it. It is hard for people in the "modern" era to understand even the milder rulings that western culture have started to shed over the last 50 years. It is inconceivable to us how those in "third world" countries or religions can manifest this role with such vigor.

I would suggest that modern more progressed cultures where men can attain some level of success, even modicum compared to others still gives a man a since of accomplishment and success where the need to force your rule over another is not such a need. In countries where education is vacant so a mans possibility of success is very limited there is no change of success therefore, they find their success and power by intimidation. I wonder if they brag about the bullying to their others over coffee and goat tacos.
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Mermaid on May 14, 2014, 07:55:48 AM
Everyone has a cultural idea of what it is like to be a "good person". In our culture, women who are assertive and pushy and contrarian are considered "bad", while men who do this are considered "manly and strong". Men who do not are considered "weak". As a little kid, you are programmed early on to be a "good person" or your basic needs are threatened. That carries into adulthood.

A lot arises from this basic pattern.
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Jason78 on May 14, 2014, 08:14:41 AM
That basic pattern is fucked up.  Do you really think like that?
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: stromboli on May 14, 2014, 09:30:35 AM
The women I've known as professionals that had successful lives were a lot more interesting than the suppressed, family centric Stepford wives expected in Mormonism. Talk about frustration. We had a neighbor girl that was a very talented musician, who ended up going on a Mormon mission and getting married to a derp from BYU, quickly pregnant and hosebound, and "expressed" her considerable talent by occasionally playing her violin at church. She was a standout- my daughter was also pretty good; first chair in the high school orchestra, so I had something to compare to. Sad. What a waste.
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Jmpty on May 14, 2014, 01:21:14 PM
This is all well and good, but could one of you girls shag your ass into the kitchen and make me a sandwich.
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Aletheia on May 14, 2014, 07:57:07 PM
This is all well and good, but could one of you girls shag your ass into the kitchen and make me a sandwich.

Women serial killers are less likely to be caught and remain undetected than men - furthermore, they are more prone to using poison. Given that it is next to impossible to tell a "normal" female from an incognito sociopath, are you sure you really want that sandwich?
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Jmpty on May 14, 2014, 10:55:43 PM
Maaaaaybe I'll just order a pizza.
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Berati on May 14, 2014, 11:44:41 PM
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/out-the-darkness/201208/why-men-oppress-women

First of all, I don't buy all of this. Nor the argument that he makes about another author's assertions. As I have mentioned here a few times, I was raised by a single mother in a very predominant patriarchal society. I think it is too simplistic to say simply that men got Testosterone and therefore need to dominate women.

In my mother's case, she was usually smarter than the men she was dealing with and they felt threatened by her. I got her side on a lot of issues, including the fact that she at one point de facto ran a shirt factory while the men above her got the pay and the credit. My mother was a world class seamtress- most of the clothes I wore growing up, she made. She got kicked out of a Relief Society job as a literary resource because she introduced Mormon Women to Jane Austen, Willa Cather and other female authors with a different view. My brother and myself, of all the family at large, were the only two that graduated from college. Everything we did she encouraged. What a gal.

One thing I like about Neil Tyson's "Cosmos" is that he has taken pains to point out the contributions of women to Cosmology and Physics. Their contribution is huge, considering the lack of women in the field over the centuries. Women do have a different viewpoint and different approach, which gives them an insight into issues often lacking in men.

My personal experience is that women given equal opportunity are equal to men at virtually any task, excluding perhaps something that requires size or brute strength to perform. As a firefighter I was skeptical of women as firefighters, but they have proven up to the task.

There is to a great extent a religious basis, and also that of the need to "protect the herd" prior to the advent of overcrowded societies, birth control and so forth. Now, with the reassertion of attacks on feminists, slut shaming, attacks on Planned Parenthood, personhood and so forth, whatever the other reason for suppression of women's rights, I think now the focus can be laid squarely on the shoulders of religion, certainly in the Middle East.

I would really like to know the womens opinions on this.

I can't help but think that testosterone has a huge role in this, though I agree it doesn't come down to just one thing.

While I don't mind laying a lot of blame on religion for many things I think we men have to accept our role in this. After all, it was men who made up the rules and used religion to subjugate women.
Even when we started to form secular government we still took a lot of time to include women. As far as discrimination goes, our society freed the slaves and gave black men the right to vote before white women. It was easier to accept that other races were our equal than it was to accept that women were.
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Aletheia on May 15, 2014, 12:39:11 PM
I can't help but think that testosterone has a huge role in this, though I agree it doesn't come down to just one thing.

While I don't mind laying a lot of blame on religion for many things I think we men have to accept our role in this. After all, it was men who made up the rules and used religion to subjugate women.
Even when we started to form secular government we still took a lot of time to include women. As far as discrimination goes, our society freed the slaves and gave black men the right to vote before white women. It was easier to accept that other races were our equal than it was to accept that women were.

That much is true, but still doesn't find testosterone culpable specifically. Black men and white men are far more similar anatomically than any man and woman would be, regardless of race. Seems more like men were bridging the gap with others who shared more similarities with them, and let's face it - even now, there are a lot of misconceptions about women.

Women are just as aggressive as any man. The main difference being is that due to women typically lacking in physical strength - their aggression is far more passive, but can be just as devastating. Just ask anyone who has to argue with their wife or anyone who has ever angered a female employer or co-worker. Men are more prone than women to use physical strength to express aggression. Both are still human, still apes, and still prone to destructive behaviors.

Let's not convince ourselves that women are as innocent and defenseless as men's misconceptions over the millennia has fooled them into believing. Yes, women have been handed a shitty deal for a very, very long time - but that doesn't make us inherently docile.
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Berati on May 15, 2014, 01:26:13 PM

Women are just as aggressive as any man.

Both are still human, still apes, and still prone to destructive behaviors.

I agree that both can fall into destructive behavior but overall I don't believe women are as aggressive as men. Male Chimps are fucking crazy and far more aggressive than the females. I think its easy to find individual women who are very aggressive and passive men, but overall I have to give the anger/violence prize to the men.

Quote
Let's not convince ourselves that women are as innocent and defenseless as men's misconceptions over the millennia has fooled them into believing. Yes, women have been handed a shitty deal for a very, very long time - but that doesn't make us inherently docile.

I agree.
I don't mean to infantilize women or anything like that. However I don't think it's sexist to recognize that there are behavioral differences between the sexes when looking a them as a group.
When discussing individuals though, we have to be open minded and understand that women can be aggressive, men can be passive and everything in between. 
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: stromboli on May 15, 2014, 01:31:50 PM
I don't believe that women are either docile or incapable, simply suppressed in certain societies. the recent effort by Mormon women to do something as simple as attend Priesthood meetings and being told they can't is a good example, and any number of examples in both fundie xtianity and Islam.
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Aletheia on May 15, 2014, 03:46:44 PM
I agree that both can fall into destructive behavior but overall I don't believe women are as aggressive as men. Male Chimps are fucking crazy and far more aggressive than the females. I think its easy to find individual women who are very aggressive and passive men, but overall I have to give the anger/violence prize to the men.

Human beings aren't chimpanzees and we aren't bonobos either, which are even more closely related to chimpanzees and have a radically different social hierarchy. Amazing what a few diverges in the genes can do. Our evolution points toward far more cooperative behavior between males and females than chimpanzees have ever displayed. I think it's best that if you want to make a case for human male aggression, then use human males.

With human males, there is evidence of the status quo (from an evolutionary point) being that males played some role which used their enhanced physical strength and recklessness to advantage for the group. However, there is also evidence of males being able to deviate from the status quo with a high degree of variability.  For instance, males have a nurturing side, and they do submit to others who are demonstrably weaker than them. There is evidence of the status quo (from an evolutionary standpoint) being that females played some role in which reduced physical strength and frugality were used for the advantage of the group. Yet, there is evidence of females being able to deviate from this in which they do display aggression, they disconnect from nurturing, and they refuse to submit to those stronger (even at great peril to themselves). It does not appear to be the "natural" order for males to dominate females in regards to humans. Our anatomy and behavior points to a division of labor, compensatory versatility, and a high degree of cooperation. All of which is very limited in chimpanzee society but more prevalent in ancient human society.

Lastly, using more current societies to determine the innate behaviors of men or women is going to be difficult and at times misleading. Both men and women are reared in artificially created gender roles which inhibit the healthy emotional expression for boys (suck it up and be a man, men don't cry, doing "feminine" things means you're gay... etc) and curbs aggression and assertiveness in girls (the man is in charge, be a lady, must be delicate and presentable if you are to marry, looks matter more than brains... etc). The  gender roles do not line up with how we inherently feel since there is much dissent and grievance from those who feel hopelessly stuck.

The only thing for certain is human males display more aggression than women but the cause of this is unclear at best. Are males more aggressive because of the testosterone levels alone, because many of the traditional male roles focus on strong traits with no regard to understanding/expressing vulnerable emotions, or a combination of the two?
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Berati on May 15, 2014, 05:29:13 PM
Human beings aren't chimpanzees and we aren't bonobos either, which are even more closely related to chimpanzees and have a radically different social hierarchy. Amazing what a few diverges in the genes can do. Our evolution points toward far more cooperative behavior between males and females than chimpanzees have ever displayed. I think it's best that if you want to make a case for human male aggression, then use human males.

Err... I was responding to your statement:
Quote
Quote from: Aletheia on Today at 12:39:11 PM
Both are still human, still apes, and still prone to destructive behaviors.
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Mandingo on May 16, 2014, 06:27:34 PM
For humans it's a purely cultural thing. It can just as easily be the other way around. As it effectively is with e.g. bonobos and hyenas. The latter even take it a couple steps further. In the matriarchal society of hyenas males are at the absolute bottom rung of the social ladder. Waaay behind the females. And the troupe's matriarch, a hard, unscrupulous dictatress that will kill males if they cross her in any way, even grows an honest-to-god (fake) penis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudo-penis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudo-penis), actually a super-duper clitoris, that's larger than male hyenas' real penises.

(http://tvblogs.nationalgeographic.com/files/2014/01/femalemanparts.jpg)

To assert and reinforce her dominance over other individuals, male and female, the matriarch/dictatress will even ritually mount them as if she were a copulating male.

(http://scientopia.org/img-archive/scicurious/img_500.png)

I.o.w. humanity can change the male/female stereotyping. But, like with racism, it's going to be very hard to change. Likely harder. But it IS possible.
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Mermaid on May 16, 2014, 06:30:59 PM
Females also mate and give birth with that thing, making rape basically impossible.
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Mandingo on May 16, 2014, 06:59:47 PM
Females also mate and give birth with that thing, making rape basically impossible.

I'm not sure how that would mechanically work, but then I'm not sure I would want to be... :-)

But since you brought it up: how would an enlarged clitoris impede a rape?
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Mermaid on May 16, 2014, 08:57:20 PM
They have to copulate THROUGH it, (as in, penis is inserted into it), they do not have an external vagina, so it requires cooperation. It sounds like a lot of work, but it apparently works for them.
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Mandingo on May 17, 2014, 08:32:12 AM
They have to copulate THROUGH it, (as in, penis is inserted into it), they do not have an external vagina, so it requires cooperation. It sounds like a lot of work, but it apparently works for them.

So you're saying that their clitoris doubles as a vagina?
Wow, then it must be super-elastic and muscularly strong at the same time if it can be functionally erect and semi-erect most of the time while allowing birth of a full-grown pup when necessary.
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Mermaid on May 17, 2014, 09:59:12 AM
It tears when the female has her first litter and is forever changed afterward. I am fuzzy on those details, only because it hurts to think about it.

It is amazing to me how successful they are given these weird reproductive rules. But successful they are. One of the most successful carnivores in the world.
Title: Re: The Social Oppression of Women
Post by: Mandingo on May 17, 2014, 11:22:48 AM
It tears when the female has her first litter and is forever changed afterward.

Small wonder hyenas often have a bad temper.