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Oppression of Women and Children

Sat Jul 16 20:43:28 2005

Oppression of women is a fundamental historic and cultural reality of most societies, but definitely of all Christian and Humanist societies. The women's liberation struggles in the Democratic Totalitarian Societies (DTS) did not achieve emancipation from the men-dominated culture and social relations, nor are women generally respected as equally important and dignified persons and subjects of their own.

What makes sex sell? Are all these pictures of sparsely dressed, and explicitly sexualized posing women in the media an expression of women's liberty and dignity, or maybe of their degradation to objects of mens desires? Why is there no broad consensus and movement to stop violence against women and children in our neighborhoods and communities? How much do we really care for any women being beaten by their husbands, daughters and sons being raped by relatives or friends?

How much flesh must a woman show in order to be free? Why is it, that the media celebrate an Afghani model and Pakistani girl because they show themselves in swimsuits before camera? How free is a girl who wants to look and dress like the models and stars? What makes them chase the ideals of what is defined as successful, attractive, beautiful and sexy? Is the ever changing fashion more than a strategy of marketing and profit generation? Is the objectification of women's bodies not an obvious degradation of their personal integrity and dignity?

It's a men's world

This is not said to blame the 'victims', because it is us men who are fully responsible how we look at women and sexualize their bodies. It is not the bodies, or flesh and curves being exposed or accentuated, which do something with us as objects, but it is men who want to control woman and their sexuality by making their bodies an object of our imagination. The massive proliferation of pictures of woman as sex objects, and the persistent objectification of women both in public as well as private life, indicates increased oppression of women and not their liberation.

We men seem to mostly enjoy the view of sexy women and can't get enough of it. Women's bodies are separated from the whole person and made an object of men's phantasies and self-projection. It is a deeply degrading and humiliating reality that men construct, and not something women do to themselves. It is an expression of oppression when girls want to look like the models in magazines and movies. Or when women undergo cosmetic surgery, or girls starve themselves into better shape.

But meanwhile, in relationships and bedrooms, things are not at all well. Which should come with no surprise, but we don't know what to do about it. Mutual dissatifaction increases tension and pressure to perform. Sex is often overburdened with expectations and projections. With love in short supply, there is much need, weakness and dependency, all of which does not help to build loving and caring relationships. And widespread cheating and lying, missing respect and empathy, prevalent neglect and exploitation, just contributes to erosion of trust and confidence, and more broken hearts, leading to further social atomization and loneliness. Surely, erection pills and faked orgasms, pretending that everything is all right, will not help. Love affairs are often battlefields and leave numerous dead. Many murders and acts of physical violence, as well as suicides, are related to love and sex.

Emotional and physical abuse

Sexuality, at least for most societies, is a private affair, happening behind closed doors. It has a lot to do with control and abuse, dependency and violence. Many taboos and strong moral and social prohibitions and stigmatizations create a climate of fear and shame around sexuality and sexual oppression, with much conspiracy and dishonesty in dealing with these issues. This is further enforced with a conception of private sphere and privacy within the own home, which gives abusers a relatively safe space alone with their victims. Often the victims become more and more isolated and turn to denial, self contempt and despair, carefully hiding their situation, which makes it even more difficult or even impossible for them to get help from others.

Children are especially vulnerable to emotional and physical abuse, even more so in atomized societies. In most societies, as long as they keep the facade of normality up, parents have near total control over their children show footnote and they use and abuse their power. We not only speak about physical abuse, but likewise mental and emotional suppression and violence. Resistence happens mostly in private and isolated, and there is not much practical solidarity and organizing to stop oppression and violence against women and children in our societies.

Motherhood, childhood, and the services

In the DTS, motherhood is idealized and devalued at the same time. So called full-time mothers are seen as outmoded and less than those, who manage their children in parallel with a professional career. What a contrast to many other cultures where 'grandmother' and 'mother' are most highly recognized and honored. Because, after all, what could be more important for a community than the upbringing of their children? This is not to say that women should not promote and develop their interests outside of house and apart from children. And not to say that the biological parents are necessarily the best caregivers for their children. Just to mention, that children are increasingly seen as costly and burdensome, a major reason why families usually don't want more than one or maybe two. Because they don't have much time for them, they have to hire nannies and organize a full schedule for their children to accommodate their own already burdensome schedule. And because they are exhausted or have no time for the other reproductive works, they have to buy more services. So we have to work more to make more to spend more. This is all good for economic growth and profit, but the monetarization of more and more functions of our lives means that we have less and less control over our own lives.

In Western societies, despite all political correctness, women still do most of the homework and childcare, including caring for the emotional needs and demands of their men, who all too often don't want to fulfill their share of responsibilities and act irresponsibly and aggressive. Men are generally not pleased with the increasing demands by women for more balanced relationships, respect and attention for themselves as equally important persons.

If they are single parent, women cannot expect much help from society, financially or otherwise, and are often stigmatized. They are especially vulnerable to economic exploitation and government agencies taking their children away. Children of poor families are systematically taken away from their caregivers and handed over into state control, which move them around between foster families, institutions and facilities, and as adults many of them quickly find themselves in prisons working in the prison industrial complex at lowest wages.

Children are most vulnerable to malnurition and diseases, what makes them the main targets of exterminative population control policies. On the other side, women are targeted with sterilization and other forced pregnancy prevention measures. As birthgivers and often primary caregivers for their children, mothers are most severely hit by poverty and many must watch their children suffer or die in vain. Children are being sold into servitude and sex services, recruited for war and forced to work or live in the streets. An increasing number of children are being traded or transfered from poor societies to the wealthy. And it is mostly young women who work in the sweatshops and world market factories under extreme working conditions at lowest wages.