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Women are everywhere casualties of systematic prejudice, tyranny and sexual abuse. They are regarded as the weaker and hence more vulnerable. In several parts of the globe, women are relegated almost exclusively to the home. They belong to the kitchen and their voices mostly go unheard. They are denied essential democratic and economic rights and are compelled to carry out uncompensated domestic labor. They are subject to coercion and aggression from men. In some countries, women put up with the double yoke of paid work and domestic toil. Women get paid a smaller amount than men. In third world countries, they are habitually abused, deprived of maternity leave and subjected to undignified treatment. Everywhere, women are the child bearers, as it biologically requires. They take care of their babies until they grow up. Some cultures and religions take advantage and impose demoralizing practices on women. Women are left uninvolved in important decisions and are taken for granted. On the other hand, men are viewed as the more powerful and deserving of the two.
They get favorable freedoms and opportunities naturally. Women make up more than semi the total human race. They have encountered discrimination and degradation in numerous locales of life. The domination of women in third world has arrived at abominable levels. In the west, working class females are handled as second-class nationals. Many are shoved to tedious jobs on pitiable wages. Despite identical pay legislation, employers still maintain to discriminate against women in terms of disbursement and conditions. The socialist movement set both male and women against exploitation of capitalists. Capitalist society holds both men and women in suppression. It is impossible to achieve emancipation of women under these circumstances (Kristof and WuDunn, 2010).
Origin of Women Oppression
Some argue that women oppression is an inherent biological trait of men while others regard it as a social condition. Those in favor of the biological cause put women against men. Their theory despises men and overrates the women empowerment. The latter explain that working class women play a huge role in the liberation of working class in general. They build cohesion between male and female workers in a similar effort against capitalist exploitation. Oppression of women did not forever subsist. It is a virtually new trend. It cropped up with the allotment of society into classes. Prior to that, neither classes nor private property existed. There was no dominance of man over woman or another man. People lived together in clans and shared everything. Only enough to survive was created. There was no exploitation or surplus.
It all emerged with the growth of slave empires in Greece, Rome, Mesopotamia and Egypt. Primitive society had a different social structure from the contemporary society. Primitive life was basic and underdeveloped compared to the modern civilized life. There was no working class and the ruling class did not exist either. The society structure was based upon a tribal system. Women were regarded as bringers of life in the clan and they were greatly respected. According to myths and legends, all early gods were women. Every one lived as brothers and sisters. Biological relationships were inferior to joint-clan relationships. Men would seek sexual partners from other clans and get assimilated there.
Biological vs. Marxist Theory
For centuries, there has been dispute about what decides human behavior. Is it natural or is it from the environment we live in? Biological determinists argue that inequality of race and gender due to our genetic makeup shape the behavior of human beings. They state that it also determines the social and economic divisions that distinguish class societies. Our genes choose our sexual conduct and relations so that they can maximize their likelihoods to reproduce triumphantly in the next generation. The genetic imperative to reproduce impels gender roles and relations. Such theories justify that the system of domination is inevitable. They clarify the nuclear social unit as natural. Reality is different because it ignores the assortment of relationships between individuals and children. The western culture projections make nuclear family the fundamental unit of human society. Man, the father is the head of the family, the protector and dominant in a patriarchal family. Women are the nurturers. They are weaker and the subordinate. The father has authority over the mother whose function is to give birth and raise the babies. Her subordination is footed on her biology and in consequence her destiny.
However, women oppression arose at a particular phase of social development. Women subjugation is not biological but social and has advanced after time. Evolution of gender relations is political. The issue of naturalness explains the emergence of inequality. One version is that society is built on a biological stand while the other regards society as complementary to biology. The theory quarrels that animals, including humans, are genetically built to get the most out of their chances of surpassing genes to future generation. Men produce millions of sperms. They go for impregnating as countless women as probable. Consequently, they become more promiscuous. They battle to secure and gain access because women produce few children. Women produce one egg and have interest in the most genetically appropriate male partners. Women know they are related to the child and take care of it devotedly. Their search for the best quality makes them seek higher social status marriage partners. They additionally state that society culturally intricate the dissimilarity between the sexes. Men have superior strength. Their role is a mirror image of their biological prearranged. They are the breadwinners and the “instrumental” of the two sexes. Women are more “expressive”. They are in charge of the stabilization of young males.
Feminists see gender distinction as elemental. In the theory of patriarchy, women have procreative and nurturing supremacy. Male superiority is on the basis of violence, abusive and warlike. Women are more intimately linked with nature through child-bearing and socializing responsibilities. Eco-feminist theory claims that nature and women have been parallel abused by the male-dominated society. They take the metaphor “mother earth” literally and give women greater moral worth. They dispute that women have an intuitive association with nature and so ought to become the tone of voice for nature in opposition to male science. In Darwin’s theory of progression of species, favorable deviation accrues in populations by natural selection. His survival for the fittest can be deduced as if some being consciously fixes on who is fit and whom to opt for (Rowbotham, 1977).
Prejudice against Women
Since the era of the Crusades, Islam and its believers have been emitted as the strange and unusual other, the polar contradictory to the sensible and civilized West. It is proposed, however, that it is only in current times that we have seen such chauvinism become a normalized component of the society. War on terror has boosted Muslims and their belief into attention. Many of them are accountable for the sins of the minority. The whole reputation has been tarnished. There is concern for women in regard to the Islam religious practices. Many are in opposition to the position they leave their women. The initiative of Islam is harsh to women. They are veiled, forced into marriages and their voices are silenced. There is slight awareness of and opposition to this form of racism. Muslim women find themselves positioned in the middle of conflicting values and civilizations. They use religion and culture to underpin certain stereotypes. Practices like honor killings have got to be eliminated. The veil has raised a heated debate. It is seen as a sign of inequality. It looks like it is being forced on the women to wear it. Veiled women are seen as different. They are denied the free will to exercise their lawful agency. Girls and women opt to veil from within structures of coercive restraint. Women of all races and religions need to be protected against oppression.
The veil transformed from a symbol of religious distinctiveness to hostility. Muslim men are outlined as always refusing Muslim women the liberty to explore. They are posed as controlling. Muslim women are identified as if they could do with saving. Female genital cutting and contract polygamous marriages are read as subordination. Muslim women still desire the veil although they are regarded as victims of the act. To social conventions, putting on a veil is seen as burdening a woman’s life. Someone else chooses for them marriage partners and they are confined to domestic chores. Feminists support Muslim women. They argue that those who do not wear a veil run the risk of rape and abuse. They are brand named prostitutes. Muslim fathers kill their daughters or compel them into marriages. It is unacceptable. The culture is male-dominant. There is a want to defend Muslim women against cultural violence imposed on them. Muslim men are positioned as brutal and have control over women. Women are relentlessly being met by exacts from society telling her how to appear and how to operate. This strain makes a lot of women to suffer about not being capable of completing the standard. Hence, many become victims of self destruction. The custom in itself also makes women not to take as much position as men do. Isolation and oppression faces women of today. They carry out childcare, cooking, laundry and other domestic chores at home.
Western Feminism and Eastern Veiling
Some Americans suppose that Muslim women are repressed by their religion and denied their basic right. Women all over the world struggle against inequality. In addition, Muslim women go through restrictive practices from their Islam religion. Before 19th century, Muslim women could retain property, and decide marriage matters. Islam practices were different and more lenient towards women. They would also keep their last names after marriage. Western women had no such privileged by then. These days, women are treated differently. The West thinks that the religion teachings forget women. The truth is that Quran states that everyone is equal, whether a man or a woman. Girls are not discriminated against in the holy book. It commands them to educate girls as well as boys and prohibits female infanticide. Women are empowered to say no to a prospective husband and divorce.
They can possess and inherit property as well. Polygamy is discouraged although westerners think otherwise. One wife is encouraged but if someone has more than one wife. He is advised to treat them equally. Interpretation of the Quran started changing with time. Gender roles changed as limitations on women were put during interpretation. The veil used to be worn by the upper class as a mark of their prime status. The law entitled women to a full inheritance. They used to receive it. Many were very informed and respected in those days. Contemporary women heads are few but the number is growing. Some women like Rabia were religious leaders and played very significant roles in the world of Islam. In modern world, some women have done a great leadership job. Wealthy women had more opportunities by virtue. They continued getting powerful through intelligence, money and education. Unfortunately, their clothing was restricted in public. Being covered and away from the public demonstrated status. Poorer women had more freedom of movement although they lacked good education. A woman’s capabilities and personality tells what she can attain in her society. It does not matter what her culture or economic background is. The West misjudges the veil which has a different meaning those wearing it. The Quran directs everyone to dress decently. Interpretation is what brings controversy.
Oppression of Women in India
Oppression against women in India takes place every day. Women are globally abused physically by men. Most societies are patriarchy and male centered. Between 1979 and 1983, over two thousand women lost their lives through dowry burning. More burnings happened in the north of India. The degree of literature on dowry burning is tremendous. Indian women suffer as a result of the values of their patriarchal societies. When a woman changes her marital status, her nightmares worsen. The society governing India believes that a woman’s responsibility is to serve men. Men own the authority while women cannot be employed even. A woman is obliged to serve her brothers, father and husband. India is full of citizens with much background differences. Fertility rate has decreased while death and mortality have decreased. Still, India is highly populated. Death pace of girls is elevated than that of boys. Female children are viewed as financial weigh downs. The second dowry is paid to the groom’s family as a payment to them for taking the bride in. Unmarried girls are not treated the same way as boys. If her gender is predetermined, she might be aborted because they prefer boys.
The abortion is aimed at eradicating the unwanted female child. Also, some would be killed as soon as they were born female. Male children receive dowry when they marry. They are the perfect investment plan for everyone. If parents keep their girl child, she is mistreated and mostly dies prematurely. If she grows older, she may commit suicide if she can’t take it anymore or get killed if her parents feel they cannot support her anymore. The husband can marry another girl and receive more dowries. If a woman becomes widowed, she may be burnt down with her belated husband’s corpse or private belongings. This ritual was referred to as sati. On losing her husband, she had no other purpose in life. To show her eternal commitment to him, she had to toss herself into his funeral pyre. If she chose sati, her good spirit would return. She would live under abusive conditions with her sons or son in laws if she chose to live. Widows had a choice to live together with other widows in holy cities.
Women cannot remarry but men can. Some women turn against other women. A mother in law can incite her son into murdering his wife. All women are trapped in the same predicament though. Education for the girl child in India is not to improve her chances to get a job but to get a suitor. Despite the push to educate them, violence against them continues to soar. India has made dowry illegal but people ignore the law. It remains ineffective. One way of combating gender violence is working towards influencing men’s attitude. From a tender age, children need to know that men and women are equal. Their opinion needs to change (Langan and Day, 1992)
Dowry Deaths in India
Dowry death is a challenge that is being experience by women up-to-date. Marriage is a permanent and holy union according to Hindu dharma Shastra. Dowry form was in Hindu laws until it became evil. With Kanyadan, came dowry concept. It is done by parents of the bride. They give out the bride and other additional gifts to accomplish the rite. They were given voluntarily to upkeep the bride and raise the in laws’ status. It was a simple gift from the bride’s family. It was not a must and depended on the capability of the bride’s family. If the family was rich, they would offer expensive stuff. If they were unfortunate, they gave what they could afford and no problem would arise. Gradually, it became compulsory and the groom’s family started demanding what and how much of it they want. No man would marry a girl before she paid his family heavily. Families with educated sons charged very expensive costs. Marriage became commercial. If the bride could not meet the demands, she was harassed by her husband and his family. They would make sure they stress her until they got payments from her family. She would commit suicide due to the mental and physical treatment she received from her in-laws. Other times, the bride’s family would not afford to pay them anymore. Therefore, the groom would kill her with the help of his family members. They would plan and execute the murder because she was not bringing any income to the family. Without being productive, she was better off out of the way.
The man would then be freed of the load of that woman. Immediately, he was open to the next girl willing to pay most dowry price. Dowry became overrated and led to the degrading of female children. They were regarded as expenses. Even after marriage, a husband can abuse his wife so that he can receive more payments. Hindu laws did not allow women to own any property. The dowry is the only share she would ever get. Once married, the groom and in-laws may ask for more valuables from her family. Failure to this, a dowry burning is probable. The woman is saturated in kerosene and torched by her husband or in-laws. Since it is illegal, they report it as a cooking accident. When a woman did not bear a male child for the husband, some would perform the dowry burning on them. Then they would marry someone else who can give them a son.
Female Genital Mutilation
Female genital cutting refers to numerous procedures ranging from the perforating of the genitals to infibulations. It continues to be a significant issue and a strong force in the American imagination. In 1980s, female genital cutting was framed as a cultural performance. The victims face the danger of even death. It has a number of health complications. In 1990s, it became labeled as female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM was a violation of human rights and a form of oppression of women. The media has helped preach the zero tolerance of the female genital mutilation. Doctors proposed a replacement medical procedure to immigrants from Somali. The government passed a law against the practice. It is regarded as primitive. The west is mostly viewed as modern and civilized. The non-west adheres to their traditions that block progress. The condition of women can be used to measure the progress of a society. The United States journalists drew the attention of the American public to female genital cutting (FGC). FGC was used to portray how primitive other cultures were.
It painted the United States culture as superior to all others. Severe oppression of women was always extreme elsewhere. The speakers used the topic to make feminist claims in place of every woman in the world. They also incorporated other oppressions so that they would swop the FGC blame to United States. The western culture is ahead in achieving gender equality. The situation of women outside is different. It is exotic. The United States made Female genital mutilation illegal and imposed financial sanctions on countries that did not try to stop it among their citizens.
Gender inequality has found its way into the modern setting eventually. Many years ago, women were highly regarded. In Islam societies, women were powerful and of high status. Latter, they started being oppressed with religious practices that the western culture sees as discriminating. Western culture believers believe that westernizing these women can open their eyes. The veil and forced marriage is unfair and they should break off. Westernization presents freedom while Islam offers intimidation and obligation. Women are viewed as mediocre to men and are treated that way. Women are domineered over and become economically over dependent on men. They cannot make appropriate decisions concerning life choices like education. In India, girls are owned by their fathers and handed over to their husbands when they get married. When her husband dies, she is owned by her sons. A woman is not allowed to live alone. She has to get married. The community does not tolerate divorce or separation even if she gets abused by her husband. Parents seek a husband for their daughter when she comes of age. A bride keeps her dowry but the groom’s family may take it from her. Third world countries perform the dangerous rituals of genital mutilation on the girls. Unlike the normal beliefs, we are all equal. Whether a man or a woman.