I have to thank tumblr for occasionally putting such important concise definitions at my fingertips. So, let’s define what sex based oppression and where it comes from.
“As Friedrich Engels made clear, even before feminism’s First Wave, women were historically controlled because we are “a means of production”—without women, there are no heirs, and without heirs, no inherited property and wealth. Women’s reproductive capacity is why we were colonized as property, just as animals, countries, weapons and land was colonized. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been important at all; any thing we could do (cooking, cleaning, sewing clothes) could have been done as well by men (and in the military, it was). The reason women were oppressed was to control our REPRODUCTIVE ABILITIES. This does not mean all women had these abilities, but women were assumed to have them until proven otherwise. (In many religious traditions, a woman’s “barren” status was the only acceptable reason for divorce.)
There can be no other logical, rational basis for women’s oppression; unless you think men were just being “mean” or something. No, it was for a very real, profit-centered reason. Men without families and heirs could not build empires (or even working farms) and without this centralized, religiously-sanctioned consolidation of the family, the state could not have evolved. The state then effectively empowered men to be women’s keepers until very very recently in human history.
THIS is the origin of women’s oppression.
So yes, women’s oppression is because of vaginas. Also: uteri, ovaries, ovum and menstrual cycles. That is just a fact. This is what got us consigned to the lower class, and our vulnerability during pregnancy and childbirth is historically what kept us weak and dependent on men. And this is how patriarchy evolved.
To write “vaginas” (or other female body-parts necessary for baby-making) out of the history of patriarchy and the evolution of the state, is flatly incorrect.
It is also anti-feminist, since this account effectively erases the one thing women were allowed to do, the one exception to our limitations: birthing and raising children. Anything women dared to do, had to be somehow connected to that. So, the first women artists and writers were women who painted their children’s portraits; sang their kids songs or made up stories and poems for them; knitted/crocheted/sewed their clothes, created pottery for the family to eat on, etc. Women’s creativity was harshly limited to domesticity like this, and yet, we found ways to express ourselves regardless. It is a story of SURVIVAL. To explain to our daughters (as Virginia Woolf did) why there is no female Shakespeare or Chaucer, is to go back to….. VAGINA. We were only allowed to have babies and failing that, teach or take care of some other woman’s babies.
I apologize to my veteran blamers as this is 101 type stuff, but I like being able to link to posts that define a concept clearly. :)
[Source:“Gender is an Experience”]