This necessarily subscribe to a sociobiological interpretation, they

This approach argues that women have always been subordinate to men. It proposes the concept of universal female subordination, of “man the hunter,” and “woman the nurturer.

” Although not all proponents of this view would necessarily subscribe to a sociobiological interpretation, they do deal with the question in an essentialist and a historical manner. Ashley Crossman in his article, Feminist Theory in Sociology” puts his opinion in regard to various theorist related to oppression. Feminist theorists perceive the world as a platform of equilibrium by eliminating all the subjugations. The theorists of gender oppression argue women are not only treated unfairly and unjust by the men in the society but also they are subjugated discriminated, oppressed and even abused. Psychoanalytic feminists explain power by reformulating Freud’s theories of the “subconscious and unconscious, human emotions, and childhood development”. Psychoanalytic feminists believe that that conscious calculation cannot fully explain the production and reproduction of patriarchy whereas the Radical feminists believe “physical violence as being at the base of patriarchy. They argue that women should be able to identify their inner strength and potentialities and develop a universal sense of sisterhood to challenge the oppression.

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On the other hand structural feminists point out the capitalism, racism and patriarchy as the major reason behind women oppression and seek to link exploitation with gender rather than class. They argue that even though the oppression on women differs, the force working to oppress women also oppress the marginalized group.Patriarchal societies view women as inferior and justify the subordinate positions of women in families and communities. Johnson, a sociologist, describes patriarchy as: A society is patriarchal to the degree that it is male-dominated, male identified, and male-centered. It also involves as one of its key aspects the oppression of women. Patriarchy is male-dominated in that positions of authority-political, economic, legal, religious, educational, military, domestic-are generally reserved for men. Heads of states, corporate CEOs and board members, religious leaders, school principals, members of legislatures at all levels of government, senior law partners, tenured full professors, generals and admirals, and even those identified as ‘head of household’ all tend to be male under patriarchy.

(p. 5) Johnson argues that in Patriarchy society men in authoritative position are occupied by men and men in such authoritative power are regarded as natural whereas women occupying such position of power and authority are measured as a challenge against men by the society.Feminism emerged when women collectively began to take notice that they were subjugated to men. Women’s movements have differed throughout time and place. Freedman (2002) defines feminism as: a belief that women and men are inherently of equal worth. Because most societies privilege men as a group, social movements are necessary to achieve equality between women and men, with the understanding that gender always intersects with other social hierarchies. (p.

7) page 31She asserts there are four parts to her definition. ‘Equal worth’ is used because the purpose to feminism is to seek equal value for male and female persons and the tasks they do. Freedman says she uses ‘privilege’ in her definition to assert that personal benefits have historically been given to male children because of patriarchy, and women and girls have been secondary to men and boys. Social movements are necessary in order for change to happen on a personal level or group action. Freedman also says that recognition of a “social hierarchy” is a part of understanding feminism because gender is not the sole determinant of inequality: race, class, culture, and sexuality also affect how people will be treated.

She says, “If we ignore these intersecting hierarchies and create a feminism that serves only the interests of women who have more privilege, we reinforce other social inequalities that disadvantage both women and men in the name of improving women’s opportunities” (p. 8). Feminism has not been static; rather, it has evolved throughout history to include many different subjective locations. Page 31-32A sociological perspective toward gender and sex is understood by taking into account cultural practices. Because of the history of male dominance, or patriarchy, women in Western societies have taken notice and action against the inequality they have historically experienced. Feminism has been used to create awareness of gender inequality in society, and it has also been used as a jumping off point in taking action to address the inequality. Li and Bolaria (1994) define feminism as:an awareness of the special problems women face in contemporary society and a commitment to better the condition of women.

It is characterized by political involvement as well as an attempt to understand the roots of women’s oppression. There is also a firm belief that, in eradicating women’s oppression, society itself will be transformed and become egalitarian for all peoples. (p. 84)In a patriarchal society, it is believed that masculine and feminine behaviors match the physiological makeup of men and women. This perception creates rigid expectations of gender roles that are thought to be unchangeable (Li and Bolaria, 1994). Culturally-determined gender roles have been created by a society that is patriarchal, and it has been the men who have dominated the social, political and economic areas of life throughout history. Patriarchal societies enforce hierarchies 33 where men are thought to be more important than women, and feminism is used to counter that practice where equal opportunity and equal worth for both genders is asserted.

Pg -32Bourdieu draws attention to the importance of the symbolic violence that “is the essential part of masculine domination”. This concept is particularly valuable for the analysis of gender relations, since it opens to the sociological gaze a whole range of phenomena, which, without this concept, would escape systematic analysis. Even if physical violence, constraint, coercion, and intimidation are far from negligible in interactions between women and men, it would be difficult to explain the social power of masculine domination—and even the acts of physical violence against women in everyday life—without recourse to symbolic violence, that violence which is not perceived as such because it is nothing other than the application of a social order, a vision of the world rooted in the habitus of the dominated and the dominant.” Bourdieu describes symbolic violence—”a soft violence”—as a very general model of domination and masculine domination as a particular case of this model. But obviously it is this particular case that provoked him to reflect on the importance of symbolic violence as a “modern” means of domination, the exemplary case wherein the functioning of symbolic violence can be studied. The adoption by women of the dominant point of view—that is, a negative, devalued, humiliated image of woman—would be difficult to comprehend without this concept.

At the same time, this submission, or even incorporation, of the dominant point of view strongly brings to light what domination means—it always also means bearing within yourself that which destroys you (qtd. in Beate).Symbolic power includes the discriminatory implications like gender dominance and racism. The men are the dominator and female are dominated to accept the social values. He mentions that cultural forces are more dominate than economic forces to create dominance and hierarchies of power.

The hierarchy power are situated and reproduced across societies.Li and Bolaria (1994) say that patriarchy is “a societal phenomenon marked by the domination of certain men over other men, all women and children. A system of ruling where power is exercised as domination over others and stems from the historical emergence of the oppression of women” (p. 84) He argues that since the historical period women is made to be naturally subordinate to men through the established norms values and practices.

In order to regulate male supremacy and control over women, various practices and ideologies were enforced to women. Page 11


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