Archive for the ‘oppression’ Category

Proletariat: the population operating within the capitalist mode of production that does not own the means of production. Consequently, the proletarian is forced to sell her labor to the owner of capital in order to secure her livelihood. These two forces, proletarian and capitalist, operate in contradiction to each other: the former to secure her due compensation and the latter to generate maximum surplus value by withholding from the worker a portion of her labor-value. This contradiction between laborers and owners, according to various theorists and schools of thought, establishes in the mind of the worker a revolutionary class-consciousness.
Contrary to common belief, particularly due to male-dominated labor movements in the past two centuries, the root of the word proletariat owes its origin entirely to the woman. Terry Eagleton explains the classical etymology behind the term:

“The word proletarius in the ancient world meant those who were too poor to serve the state by property, and who served it instead by manufacturing labour-power. Their role was to produce children; and since the historical burden of this task has fallen more on women than men, it is no mere modish gesture to claim that the proletariat is a woman. If that was so in antiquity, it is equally true today.” (Eagleton; 2001)

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“Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender” -Alice Walker

Womanism is a feminist term coined by Alice Walker. It is a reaction to the realization that “feminism” does not encompass the perspectives Black women. It is a feminism that is “stronger in color”, nearly identical to “Black Feminism”. However, Womanism does not need to be prefaced by the word “Black”, the word automatically concerns black women. A Womanist is a woman who loves women and appreciates women’s culture and power as something that is incorporated into the world as a whole. Womanism addresses the racist and classist aspects of white feminism and actively opposes separatist ideologies. It includes the word “man”, recognizing that Black men are an integral part of Black women’s lives as their children, lovers, and family members. Womanism accounts for the ways in which black women support and empower black men, and serves as a tool for understanding the Black woman’s relationship to men as different from the white woman’s. It seeks to acnowledge and praise the sexual power of Black women while recognizing a history of sexual violence. This perspective is often used as a means for analyzing Black Women’s literature, as it marks the place where race, class, gender, and sexuality intersect. Womanism is unique because it does not necessarily imply any political position or value system other than the honoring of Black women’s strength and experiences. Because it recognizes that women are survivors in a world that is oppressive on multiple platforms, it seeks to celebrate the ways in which women negotiate these oppressions in their individual lives.

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the Natural.

The Natural is the social explanation for strict and conservative governing of human life. The term itself has much to do with forming and sustaining normativity—what is OK and what is not OK. Claiming that something (an object or an act or a phenomenon) isn’t “natural” often ensures society passing unfavorable judgment on it. First we need to break down what “natural” means and how it transitions into the political weapon I will call “the Natural.”

Let us take “natural” to mean that which is necessary to reproduce the human species. (Or, from a Darwinian standpoint, the actions that maximize a creature’s reproduction success.) In this way, “natural” are the qualities and characteristics of animals that bring about reproduction of the species.

How have we arrived at this definition? Does it not seem rather esoteric? Let’s apply it to our current political and social world and, as a result, it ought to make more sense:
If we take “natural” to mean that which is necessary to reproducing the human species, it should then be taken as truth that homosexuality and other non-heterosexual practices are unnatural. Homosexuality is constantly decried as being ‘unnatural’ (and therefore unnecessary) and should be criminalized, discouraged, punished. With the above definition of ‘natural’ at hand, it is a truism that homosexuality (read: all non-hetero sex practices) is unnatural. But, then again, so are countless other daily activities that we practice in an unthinking manner. For example, driving or riding in a car is a profoundly unnatural practice. We can note that driving a car is unnatural because it poses a much greater risk to the driver while on the road than if she left the car at home and walked.
The US Department of Transportation reports that:
There were nearly 6,420,000 auto accidents in the United States in 2005. The financial cost of these crashes is more than 230 Billion dollars. 2.9 million people were injured and 42,636 people killed. About 115 people die every day in vehicle crashes in the United States — one death every 13 minutes.
We can then ask, how many of these 42,636 dead or 2.9 million injured would still be reproductively viable if they had instead walked rather than driven a car? Using our standards of ‘natural’ as it applies to homosexuality (that it is an unnatural act that does not reproduce the human species and should therefore be discouraged), by all accounts, we should be criticizing driving and homosexuality equally for being ‘unnatural’ human acts.

We then have arrived at the crux of the problem of ‘natural’:
How is it that the natural suddenly became synonymous with the good and right?

We can see then that ‘the Natural’ becomes that rare occurrence: the irrational idea which (horrifyingly) simultaneously assumes the role of the authoritative idea. Like religions rooted in dogmatism, the Natural defies logic and steamrolls any criticism of itself, so ingrained is its authority and rightness in the minds of uncritical human beings. This is the inception of the Natural as a political weapon: when it is used to batter those individuals and practices that do not reside firmly in the ‘natural’ realm.

When we see that the Natural is ambiguous and nigh-irrelevant to our daily lives and social interactions, why do we persist in being governed by its irrational ‘laws’? This is the point at which we part ways with the Natural. Combating the Natural should not be done by attempting to “explain” homosexuality in such a way that it fits into the narrow framework of ‘natural.’ No, instead we need to reject the Natural as a force entirely. Pleasure governs us, not nature! We respond to reason and discourse, trading of ideas and dialogue, not some politicized concept of what nature decrees as “right” and “wrong”! This is our praxis…

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A society or system which is ruled or controlled by men. Generally, patriarchy is a system of roles that women do housework and that men work outside and support their family. Patriarchy is a hierarchy in society such as women earn less money than men. Patriarchy is not just formed by men. It has a connection with a social economic system such as capitalism. According to Heidi Hartmann, patriarchy is “Controlling women’s access to resources and their sexuality, in turn, allows men to control women’s labor power, both for the purpose of serving men in many personal and sexual ways and for the purpose of rearing children.

Patriarchy can not be separable with capitalism, however, how the division of labour which is women work at home and which is men work outside started is not clear. I think that the system of patriarchy is a social dominance by men, however, I don’t think patriarchy is directly constructed by men, because men don’t necessarily try to form patriarchy.

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An oppression is an unfair treatment which is based on the difference of race, sex, class, etc., and it has a big influences to human lives. (more…)

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According to Charlotte Bunch, a lesbian is a person who rejects the male sexual and political domination. (more…)

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Putting theory into practice. Praxis is theory in action.

Praxis is an important companion to feminist theory. As bell hooks discusses in her article “Feminism: A Movement to End Sexist Oppression” there is no feminist movement without praxis. Lifestyle feminism isn’t enough because theory is not an end in itself to the problems it analyzes. In a field of study devoted to analyzing sexist oppression, it would follow that a desire would arise to end it. Out of that desire must come action- theory must become praxis.

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