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Oscar De Jesus
Professor Ditch
Eng 114A
25 September 2014
Women And Oppression
In our society today, the use of gender as a tool for organization has brought upon
an oppressed lifestyle for the population of women. The roles for women are much more
limited and revolve around soft labor rather than physical work. Today, women have
argued for their rightful positions in society and many individuals have advocated for
these movements. According to Judith Lorber’s, “Night to His Day: The Social
Construction of Gender” and Ruth Hubbard’s “Rethinking Women’s Biology,” the
articles argue that the gender roles of women have been rendered in religious, cultural,
and educational traditions.
There is a common theme on gender roles between the two authors introduced:
women are being oppressed. They have guidelines they must abide by within these social
aspects or else they are considered to be outcasts of society. In a segment of Lorber’s
article, she states “societies vary in the extent of inequality…” (Lorber 22). So we can
infer that the problem is affecting foreign lands as well. In this case, the women are
receiving the lack of equality and are being stripped of their rights.
Religion is independent and completely supported by a population of believers or
followers. We might be more familiarized with Christianity or Catholicism in the
California Coast, but what about the foreign lands? Obviously, culture varies within
different regions of the world. That is a certain region of the world may possess more

 

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than ‘just’ a couple of cultures each with their own unique roles for women. For example,
Muslim religion requires all women to wear specific outfits during social occasions. The
middle east advocates these woman to cover their face as well which is an insult to their
degree of social freedom. Interestingly enough, the Muslim Quran has stated that women
and men of Muslim background are equal, yet religious conduct proves otherwise. This
issue dives even further into social conduct in the middle east areas.
A couple years back in Afghanistan, a new trend began to flood the villages and
towns: skateboarding. It was completely alien to young boys and girls but there was an
issue pertaining to what men and women were allowed to do in public. Shocking enough,
women are frowned upon if they perform the same activities that men do. This is because
women are the ‘weaker’ half of the population. In a film, Skateistan, the introduction of
skateboarding is filmed and recorded for historical reasons; women are also recorded in
the film. The female children in this film are primary examples of women that are
attempting to integrate themselves into cultural norms. These pioneers will set many
examples that other cultures will begin to follow. Nevertheless, Afghan women were able
to associate themselves with the new sport and break the barriers that oppressed them
under the afghan tradition. It leads to another issue when you distinct what activities
women can and can’t do.
During the mid-late nineteenth century, the Chinese tradition took an extreme and
enforced the ideal of beauty, for women, to coexist with foot binding; the arching or
bending of the foot. Foot binding is a gruesome procedure where a woman must wear a
unique, stiff shoe that will shape the way her foot will grow out. It was required for most
women because Chinese culture praised this process to be a part of beautification.

 

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Consequently, the insane procedure brought nothing but juxtaposed toes and severely
damaged feet to young children and women. Sadly enough, emperors from the Song and
Yuan dynasty advocated for this procedure. This cultural belief engenders the roles for
Chinese women and dictates an unimaginable future without any hope of refusing to fall
under “traditional values.” In other cultures, we can observe the same trend in a milder
form; however, it is still coercing women under an oppressive lifestyle.
Growing up in a Hispanic household, I grew onto the idea of ‘family’ as a fixed
set of roles for each family member to possess. Surprisingly enough, Mexican culture has
forced women to possess a specific and demeaning role: household wife. Naturally, the
lifestyle of Hispanic women appears to be predetermined from the early moments of their
childhood since the trend has lived on for so long. Adding to that, young Hispanic
women are traditionally raised in the footsteps of their mother, so the exposure is a subtle
enforcement of their expectations. A significant example could even come from our very
own households.
My mother used to tell me about her friends in Mexico that were forced to marry
at a young age rather than being allowed the opportunity of attending school like my
mother. Unfortunately, for my mother, she was able to experience an education without
the comfort of being along side of her friends. Even worse, my mother’s friends were
forced to marry against their own will. People believe marriage at a young age to be a
trend of the past, but in recent years the practice continues to live on in Mexican tradition.
On the other hand, it hasn’t been until recently that the Hispanic heritage is integrating
education into long-term goals. In the educational field, we can investigate the American
fallacy of stereotypes for women.

 

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During the mid 1900’s, a large majority of women were unable to even attend

school because men were supposed to be the only academic population in America. Ruth
Hubbard’s article stated that “scientist believed that a woman’s brain is too small” (46).
How outrageous this seemed to the early advocates for women’s rights. Soon enough
there grew a breakthrough for the female population but oppression still crept upon their
success. Women such as Betty Friedan used their advanced literary influence to suggest
that women are no different from men. She also implies that women can attain and apply
the same academic knowledge that men acquire. Many other activists began to trend on
and set examples by pursuing an education rather than living up to the stereotypical
housewife.
After gaining educational rights. Women were urged to pursue jobs that were
unrelated to hard labor such as Nursing or being Desk Clerk. Recently, while taking the
bus to school, I noticed something shocking from the corner of my eye: a female truck
driver. She even wore a hat with bright colors openly while her companion, a male, sat in
the passenger seat. Too me, this is a bit odd considering the rarity of females in the truck
driving community let alone the fact that she was in control of the monster-sized
eighteen-wheeler. It wasn’t long until some women began to pursue careers that society
would never imagine a women participating in. Many of these trends began to build
stereotypes that affected the roles of women in the near future.
Lorber and Hubbard’s articles argue that women’s roles in religion, culture, and
education have radically been changed over the course of history. Collectively, the ideal
lifestyle for women is almost predetermined because of gender norms. A girl will most
likely break away from them but society might reinforce them back into some stereotype.

 
Amongst the three categories, there is a significant distinction between men and women,
and, as a result, men receive the special treatment while women receive the short end of
the stick.

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Works Cited

Hubbard, Ruth. “Rethinking Women’s Biology.” Composing Gender. (2004) : 45-52.
Print.
Lorber, Judith. “Night To His Day: The Social Construction of Gender.” Composing
Gender (2004) : 19-30. Print.

Skateistan. Dir. Kai Sehr. Perf. Mirwais Ahmas, Maysam Faraj, Asheesh Bhalla.
2011. Documentary