Intro to Gender Studies
De Beauvoir’s main thesis is that men essentially oppress women by characterizing them, on every level, as the
, defined exclusively in opposition to men according to the following topics below. De Beauvoir argues that men naturally oppress women by associating them as the “Other”, by using the following to back their reasoning: historical basis, biology, and psychoanalysis. The most essential factors to consider from the following themes is the historical basis and the psychoanalysis of why women are subordinate. De Beauvoir then continues by asking the question of how did women supposedly come to earn this subordinate position within society? De Beauvoir goes back in history to trace the historical contexts of why men have acquired this position of superiority over women. De
Beauvoir's first piece of evidence refers to how, “man hunts and fishes, woman remains in the home; but the tasks of domesticity include productive labour – making pottery, weaving, gardening – and in consequence woman plays a large part in economic life. Through the discovery of copper, tin, bronze, and iron, and with the appearance of the plough, agriculture enlarges its scope, and intensive labour is called for in clearing woodland and cultivating the fields. Then man has recourse to the labour of other men, whom he reduces to slavery. Private property appears: master of slaves and of the earth, man becomes the proprietor also of woman.” This example shows the emergence of male superiority stems from the idea that even though both sexes play an equal part in economic life that the intensity of the man’s labor is substantially more, therefore he deserves more kudos. Another aspect that should be considered when assessing why women were put in the subordinate position is that men are the only sex to own property.
De Beauvoir then focuses on the psychoanalysis behind women’s subordination, her overall belief is that women are not born feminine but rather influenced by society. She says, “ One is not born, but rather becomes a women.” This supports her argument in that displaying that femininity does not arise from the differences in biology, psychology, or intellect, but rather it is an idea created by society.
When a girl is born, she is not initially a women, gender constructs is what determines what makes a woman a woman. Every sex is entitled to their individuality, but throughout history it is shown that through choice on the males part, women have been robbed of this right. These disciplines reveal the
“essential” differences between men and women but provide no true justification for women’s inferiority from men.
Within contemporary America, the binary opposition of us vs. them is regularly employed not only within sexes, but between races as well. The events unfolding in the past few months in Ferguson,
Missouri and the diction in headlines surrounding the issues display the separate narratives built around
“white” America and “black” America. The false idea that utter equality exists in America and that any given person has the same opportunities proves to be even more detrimental. A closer examination of the social makeup of Ferguson raises further questions. Ferguson’s population stands at 67% black, with a 94% white police force. The national average police force is not much lower, at 75%. The lack of representation proportional to the makeup of citizens show the undying position of white people in power, with largely underrepresented communities and voices. Throughout the history of the U.S., justification of slavery or the subordination of