Men and Women
and Daily Oppression
Oppression can be both reinforced and challenged by the
oppressed. These positions may seem opposite, but can be easily
confused and are often incorporated into everyday lives.
For example, consider the mainstream media’s reaction to gansta
rap. The reaction in the early days of this form was that black
males represented a threat to the whole of society, and
questioned society’s values. But are the misogynistic, sexist
messages that proclaim the superiority of men any different from
the views of the mainstream culture? So is gansta rap a challenge
of mainstream male culture, or an acceptance of it?
And consider the image of the Aztec homeland Atzlan adopted by
Chicanos in the 1960s as a way of asserting their value and
cultural heritage. But how did this affect Chicanas, who were not
portrayed as warriors but as bare-breasted maidens? Does the
power of men automatically mean the oppression of women?
Finally, consider the roles traditionally given to women:
housewives, mothers, and daughters. When these roles were
questioned by feminists in the 1970s, it was often women who
objected most strongly to the challenges to their traditional roles.
On the other hand, some feminists challenged the value of
motherhood, and in some eyes thus devalued their own worth as
women. Separating these issues can be very complex, but
without clarity of purpose these internal conflicts can continue to
cause problems in any movement.