Thursday, August 30, 2012

Why Men Oppress Women-- The psychology of male domination

Steve Taylor, Psychology Today:  Even if they belonged to higher social classes, most women throughout history have effectively been slaves. Until recent times, women throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia were unable to have any influence over the political, religious or cultural lives of their societies. They couldn’t own property or inherit land and wealth, and were frequently treated as mere property themselves.  
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.
The oppression of women is a symptom of a disorder I call humania. 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. 
Are M/f dominance and submission roles re-enactments of historical oppression?   

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