Oppression can refer to an authoritarian regime controlling its citizens via state control of politics, the monetary system, media, and the military; denying people any meaningful human or civil rights; and terrorizing the populace through harsh, unjust punishment, and a hidden network of obsequious informants reporting to a vicious secret police force.

Oppression also refers to a less overtly malicious pattern of subjugation, although in many ways this social oppression represents a particularly insidious and ruthlessly effective form of manipulation and control. In this instance, the subordination and injustices do not afflict everyone—instead it targets specific groups of people for restrictions, ridicule, and marginalization. No universally accepted term has yet emerged to describe this variety of oppression, although some scholars will parse the multiplicity of factors into a handful of categories, e.g., social (or sociocultural) oppression; institutional (or legal) oppression; and economic oppression.

Authoritarian oppression

The word oppress comes from the Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, ("to press against",[1] "to squeeze", "to suffocate").[2] Thus, when authoritarian governments use oppression to subjugate the people, they want their citizenry to feel that "pressing down", and to live in fear that if they displease the authorities they will, in a metaphorical sense, be "squeezed" and "suffocated", e.g., thrown in a dank, dark, state prison or summarily executed. Such governments oppress the people using restriction, control, terror, hopelessness, and despair.[a] The tyrant's tools of oppression include, for example, extremely harsh punishments for "unpatriotic" statements; developing a loyal, guileful secret police force; prohibiting freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press; controlling the monetary system and economy; and imprisoning or killing activists or other leaders who might pose a threat to their power.[3][4][5][6][7]

Socioeconomic, political, legal, cultural, and institutional oppression

Oppression also refers to a more insidious type of manipulation and control, in this instance involving the subjugation and marginalization of specific groups of people within a country or society, such as: girls and women, boys and men, people of color, religious communities, citizens in poverty, LGBT people, youth and children, and many more. This socioeconomic, cultural, political, legal, and institutional oppression (hereinafter, "social oppression") probably occurs in every country, culture, and society, including the most advanced democracies, such as the United States, Japan, Costa Rica, Sweden, and Canada.[b][c]

A single, widely accepted definition of social oppression does not yet exist, although there are commonalities. Taylor (2016)[8] defined (social) oppression in this way:

Oppression is a form of injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes and institutional rules. A key feature of oppression is that it is perpetrated by and affects social groups. ... [Oppression] occurs when a particular social group is unjustly subordinated, and where that subordination is not necessarily deliberate but instead results from a complex network of social restrictions, ranging from laws and institutions to implicit biases and stereotypes. In such cases, there may be no deliberate attempt to subordinate the relevant group, but the group is nonetheless unjustly subordinated by this network of social constraints.[9]

Harvey (1999)[10] suggested the term "civilized oppression", which he introduced as follows:

It is harder still to become aware of what I call 'civilized Oppression,' that involves neither physical violence nor the use of law. Yet these subtle forms are by far the most prevalent in Western industrialized societies. This work will focus on issues that are common to such subtle oppression in several different contexts (such as racism, classism, and sexism) ... Analyzing what is involved in civilized oppression includes analyzing the kinds of mechanisms used, the power relations at work, the systems controlling perceptions and information, the kinds of harms inflicted on the victims, and the reasons why this oppression is so hard to see even by contributing agents.

Research and theory development on social oppression has advanced apace since the 1980s with the publication of seminal books and articles,[d] and the cross-pollination of ideas and discussion among diverse disciplines, such as: feminism, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and political science. Nonetheless, more fully understanding the problem remains an extremely complicated challenge for scholars. Improved understanding will likely involve, for example, comprehending more completely the historical antecedents of current social oppression; the commonalities (and lack thereof) among the various social groups damaged by social oppression (and the individual human beings who make up those groups); and the complex interplay between and amongst sociocultural, political, economic, psychological, and legal forces that cause and support oppression.

Social oppression

Social oppression is when a single group in society takes advantage of, and exercises power over, another group using dominance and subordination.[11] This results in the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals by those with relative power.[12] In a social group setting, oppression may be based on many ideas, such as poverty, gender, class, race, or other categories. Oppression by institution, or systematic oppression, is when the laws of a place create unequal treatment of a specific social identity group or groups.[13] Another example of social oppression is when a specific social group is denied access to education that may hinder their lives in later life.[14] Economic oppression is the divide between two classes of society. These were once determined by factors such slavery, property rights, disenfranchisement, and forced displacement of livelihood. Each divide yielded various treatments and attitudes towards each group.

Social oppression derives from power dynamics and imbalances related to the social location of a group or individual. Social location, as defined by Lynn Weber, is "an individual's or a group's social 'place' in the race, class, gender and sexuality hierarchies, as well as in other critical social hierarchies such as age, ethnicity, and nation".[15] An individual's social location often determines how they will be perceived and treated by others in society. Three elements shape whether a group or individual can exercise power: the power to design or manipulate the rules and regulations, the capacity to win competitions through the exercise of political or economic force, and the ability to write and document social and political history.[16] There are four predominant social hierarchies, race, class, gender and sexuality, that contribute to social oppression.


Weber,[15] among some other political theorists, argues that oppression persists because most individuals fail to recognize it; that is, discrimination is often not visible to those who are not in the midst of it. Privilege refers to a sociopolitical immunity one group has over others derived from particular societal benefits.[17] Many of the groups who have privilege over gender, race, or sexuality, for example, can be unaware of the power their privilege holds. These inequalities further perpetuate themselves because those who are oppressed rarely have access to resources that would allow them to escape their maltreatment. This can lead to internalized oppression, where subordinate groups essentially give up the fight to get access to equality, and accept their fate as a non-dominant group.[18]

Racial oppression

The first social hierarchy is race or racial oppression, which is defined as: " ... burdening a specific race with unjust or cruel restraints or impositions. Racial oppression may be social, systematic, institutionalized, or internalized. Social forms of racial oppression include exploitation and mistreatment that is socially supported."[19] United States history consists of five primary forms of racial oppression including genocide and geographical displacement, slavery, second-class citizenship, non-citizen labor, and diffuse racial discrimination.[20]

The first, primary form of racial oppression—genocide and geographical displacement—in the US context refers to Western Europe and settlers taking over an Indigenous population's land. Many Indigenous people, commonly known today as Native Americans, were relocated to Indian Reservations or killed during wars fought over the land. The second form of racial oppression, slavery, refers to Africans being taken from their homeland and sold as property to white Americans. Racial oppression was a significant part of daily life and routine in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor without pay and the freedom to leave their workplace. The third form of racial oppression, second-class citizenship, refers to some categories of citizens having fewer rights than others. Second-class citizenship became a pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States following the Civil War, as African-Americans who were formerly enslaved continued to be considered unequal to white citizens, and had no voting rights. Moreover, immigrants and foreign workers in the US are also treated like second-class citizens, with fewer rights than people born in the US. The fourth form of racial oppression in American history, non-citizen labor, refers to the linkage of race and legal citizenship status. During the middle of the 19th century, some categories of immigrants, such as Mexicans and Chinese, were sought as physical laborers, but were nonetheless denied legal access to citizenship status. The last form of racial oppression in American history is diffuse discrimination. This form of racial oppression refers to discriminatory actions that are not directly backed by the legal powers of the state, but take place in widespread everyday social interactions. This can include employers not hiring or promoting someone on the basis of race, landlords only renting to people of certain racial groups, salespeople treating customers differently based on race, and racialized groups having access only to impoverished schools. Even after the civil rights legislation abolishing segregation, racial oppression is still a reality in the United States. According to Robert Blauner, author of Racial Oppression in America, "racial groups and racial oppression are central features of the American social dynamic".[20]

Crying eye
"crying eye" (pencil drawing)

Class oppression

The second social hierarchy, class oppression, sometimes referred to as classism, can be defined as prejudice and discrimination based on social class.[21] Class is an unspoken social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and power. A class is a large group of people who share similar economic or social positions based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, and power in the economic and political sphere. The most commonly used class categories include: upper class, middle class, working class, and poor class. A majority of people in the United States self-identify in surveys as middle class, despite vast differences in income and status. Class is also experienced differently depending on race, gender, ethnicity, global location, disability, and more. Class oppression of the poor and working class can lead to deprivation of basic needs and a feeling of inferiority to higher-class people, as well as shame towards one's traditional class, race, gender, or ethnic heritage. In the United States, class has become racialized leaving the greater percentage of people of color living in poverty.[22] Since class oppression is universal among the majority class in American society, at times it can seem invisible, however, it is a relevant issue that causes suffering for many.

Gender oppression

The third social hierarchy is gender oppression, which is instituted through gender norms society has adopted. In some cultures today, gender norms suggest that masculinity and femininity are opposite genders, however it is an unequal binary pair, with masculinity being dominant and femininity being subordinate. Gender as such is not natural but socially constructed, and gendered power differences provide social mechanisms that benefit masculinity. "Many have argued that cultural practices concerning gender norms of child care, housework, appearance, and career impose an unfair burden on women and as such are oppressive." According to feminist Barbara Cattunar, women have always been "subjected to many forms of oppression, backed up by religious texts which insist upon women's inferiority and subjugation". Femininity has always been looked down upon, perpetuated by socially constructed stereotypes, which has affected women's societal status and opportunity. In current society, sources like the media further impose gendered oppression as they shape societal views. Females in pop-culture are objectified and sexualized, which can be understood as degrading to women by depicting them as sex objects with little regard for their character, political views, cultural contributions, creativity or intellect. Feminism, or struggles for women's cultural, political and economic equality, has challenged gender oppression. Gender oppression also takes place against trans, gender-non-conforming, gender queer, or non-binary individuals who do not identify with binary categories of masculine/feminine or male/female.

Age oppression

Young people are a commonly, yet rarely acknowledged, oppressed demographic. Minors are denied many democratic and human rights, including the rights to vote, marry, and give sexual consent. Society as a whole also tends to discriminate against young people and view them as inferior.[23]

Sexuality oppression

The fourth social hierarchy is sexuality oppression or heterosexism. Dominant societal views with respect to sexuality, and sex partner selection, have formed a sexuality hierarchy oppressing people who do not conform to heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is an underlying assumption that everyone in society is heterosexual, and those who are not are treated as different or even abnormal by society, excluded, oppressed, and sometimes subject to violence. Heterosexism also derives from societal views of the nuclear family which is presumed to be heterosexual, and dominated or controlled by the male partner. Social actions by oppressed groups such as LGBTQI movements have organized to create social change.

Religious persecution

P religion world
Different types of religious symbols

Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual because of their religious beliefs.[24] According to Iris Young oppression can be divided into different categories such as powerlessness, exploitation, and violence.[25] The first category of powerlessness in regards to religious persecution is when a group of people that follow one religion have less power than the dominant religious followers. An example of powerlessness would be during the 17th century when the pilgrims, wanting to escape the Church of England came to what is now called the United States. The pilgrims created their own religion of Protestantism, and after doing so they eventually passed laws to keep other religions from prospering. The Protestants used their power of legislature to oppress the other religions in the United States.[26] The second category of oppression: exploitation, has been seen in many different forms around the world when it comes to religion. The definition of exploitation is the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work.[27] For example, during, and particularly after, the American Civil War, white Americans used Chinese immigrants in order to build the transcontinental railroads. During this time it was common for the Chinese immigrants to follow the religions of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, because of this the Chinese were looked at as different and not equal to the white Americans. Due to this view it led them to unequal pay, and many hardships during their time working on the railroad.[28] The third category that can be seen in religious persecution is violence. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary violence is "the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy". An example of violence in regards to religious persecution is hate crimes that occur in the United States against Muslims. Since September 11th, 2001 hate crimes against people of the Muslim faith have greatly increased. One incident occurred on August 5, 2017 when three men bombed a Mosque because they felt that Muslims "'push their beliefs on everyone else'".[29] This violence happens to not only Muslims but other religions as well.


Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her "matrix of domination".[30] The matrix of domination discusses the interrelated nature of four domains of power, including the structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains. Each of these spheres works to sustain current inequalities that are faced by marginalized, excluded or oppressed groups. The structural, disciplinary and hegemonic domains all operate on a macro level, creating social oppression through macro structures such as education, or the criminal justice system, which play out in the interpersonal sphere of everyday life through micro-oppressions.

Standpoint theory can help us to understand the interpersonal domain. Standpoint theory deals with an individual's social location in that each person will have a very different perspective based on where they are positioned in society. For instance, a white male living in America will have a very different take on an issue such as abortion than a black female living in Africa. Each will have different knowledge claims and experiences that will have shaped how they perceive abortion. Standpoint theory is often used to expose the powerful social locations of those speaking, to justify claims of knowledge through closer experience of an issue, and to deconstruct the construction of knowledge of oppression by oppressors.

Institutionalized oppression

"Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one's membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions."[31]

Flickr - USCapitol - The Monroe Doctrine, 1823
U.S. Capitol - oil painting by Allyn Cox - The Monroe Doctrine (1823), plus a quote from President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1940). (photograph: Architect of the Capitol)

Institutionalized oppression allows for government organizations and their employees to systematically favor specific groups of people based upon group identity. Dating back to colonization, the United States implemented the institution of slavery where Africans were brought to the United States to be a source of free labor to expand the cotton and tobacco industry.[32] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where "servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property".[32]

Although the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments freed African Americans, gave them citizenship, and provided them the right to vote, institutions such as some police departments continue to use oppressive systems against minorities. They train their officers to profile individuals based upon their racial heritage, and to exert excessive force to restrain them. Racial profiling and police brutality are "employed to control a population thought to be undesirable, undeserving, and under punished by established law".[33] In both situations, police officers "rely on legal authority to exonerate their extralegal use of force; both respond to perceived threats and fears aroused by out-groups, especially— but not exclusively— racial minorities".[33] For example, "blacks are: approximately four times more likely to be targeted for police use of force than their white counterparts; arrested and convicted for drug-related criminal activities at higher rates than their overall representation in the U.S. population; and are more likely to fear unlawful and harsh treatment by law enforcement officials".[32] The International Association of Chiefs of Police collected data from police departments between the years 1995 and 2000 and found that 83% of incidents involving use-of-force against subjects of different races than the officer executing it involved a white officer and a black subject.[32]

Institutionalized oppression is not only experienced by people of racial minorities, but can also affect those in the LGBT community. Oppression of the LGBT community in the United States dates back to President Eisenhower's presidency where he passed Executive Order 10450 in April 1953 which permitted non-binary sexual behaviors to be investigated by federal agencies.[34] As a result of this order, "More than 800 federal employees resigned or were terminated in the two years following because their files linked them in some way with homosexuality."[34]

Oppression of the LGBT community continues today through some religious systems and their believers' justifications of discrimination based upon their own freedom of religious belief. States such as Arizona and Kansas passed laws in 2014 giving religious-based businesses "the right to refuse service to LGBT customers".[35] The proposal of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) offers full protection of LGBT workers from job discrimination; however, the act does not offer protection against religious-based corporations and businesses, ultimately allowing the LGBT community to be discriminated against in environments such as churches and religious-based hospitals.[35] The LGBT community is further oppressed by the United States government with the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act which states, "Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order."[36] This act essentially allows for institutions of any kind—schools, businesses, hospitals—to deny service to people based upon their sexuality because it goes against a religious belief.

Economic oppression

The term economic oppression changes in meaning and significance over time, depending on its contextual application. In today's context, economic oppression may take several forms, including, but not limited to: the practice of bonded labour in some parts of India, serfdom, forced labour, low wages, denial of equal opportunity, and practicing employment discrimination, and economic discrimination based on sex, nationality, race, and religion.[37]

Ann Cudd describes the main forces of economic oppression as oppressive economic systems and direct and indirect forces. Even though capitalism and socialism are not inherently oppressive, they "lend themselves to oppression in characteristic ways".[38] She defines direct forces of economic oppression as "restrictions on opportunities that are applied from the outside on the oppressed, including enslavement, segregation, employment discrimination, group-based harassment, opportunity inequality, neocolonialism, and governmental corruption". This allows for a dominant social group to maintain and maximize its wealth through the intentional exploitation of economically inferior subordinates. With indirect forces (also known as oppression by choice), "the oppressed are co-opted into making individual choices that add to their own oppression". The oppressed are faced with having to decide to go against their social good, and even against their own good. If they choose otherwise, they have to choose against their interests, which may lead to resentment by their group.[38]

An example of direct forces of economic oppression is employment discrimination in the form of the gender pay gap. Restrictions on women's access to and participation in the workforce like the wage gap is an "inequality most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations".[39] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[40] Some argue women are prevented from achieving complete gender equality in the workplace because of the "ideal-worker norm," which "defines the committed worker as someone who works full-time and full force for forty years straight," a situation designed for the male sex.[39]

Women, in contrast, are still expected to fulfill the caretaker role and take time off for domestic needs such as pregnancy and ill family members, preventing them from conforming to the "ideal-worker norm". With the current norm in place, women are forced to juggle full-time jobs and family care at home.[41] Others believe that this difference in wage earnings is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[42] Eber and Weichselbaumer argue that "over time, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially. Most of this decrease is due to better labor market endowments of females".[43]

Indirect economic oppression is exemplified when individuals work abroad to support their families. Outsourced employees, working abroad generally little to no bargaining power not only with their employers, but with immigration authorities as well. They could be forced to accept low wages and work in poor living conditions. And by working abroad, an outsourced employee contributes to the economy of a foreign country instead of their own. Veltman and Piper describe the effects of outsourcing on female laborers abroad:

Her work may be oppressive first in respects of being heteronomous: she may enter work under conditions of constraint; her work may bear no part of reflectively held life goals; and she may not even have the: freedom of bodily movement at work. Her work may also fail to permit a meaningful measure of economic independence or to help her support herself or her family, which she identifies as the very purpose of her working.[44]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are "reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options".[38]

Feminism and Equal Rights

No Chains Woman
A woman breaking free of chains.

Although a relatively modern form of resistance, feminism's origins can be traced back to the events leading up to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. While the ERA was created to address the need for equal protection under the law between men and women in the workplace, it spurred increased feminism that has come to represent the search for equal opportunity and respect for women in patriarchal societies, across all social, cultural, and political spheres.[45] Demonstrations and marches have been a popular medium of support, with the January 21, 2017, Women's March's replication in major cities across the world drawing tens of thousands of supporters.[46] Feminists' main talking points consist of women's reproductive rights, the closing of the pay gap between men and women, the glass ceiling and workplace discrimination, and the intersectionality of feminism with other major issues such as African-American rights, immigration freedoms, and gun violence.


Resistance to oppression has been linked to a moral obligation, an act deemed necessary for the preservation of self and society.[47] Still, resistance to oppression has been largely overlooked in terms of the amount of research and number of studies completed on the topic, and therefore, is often largely misinterpreted as "lawlessness, belligerence, envy, or laziness".[48] Over the last two centuries, resistance movements have risen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze, and counter various types of oppression, as well as to increase public awareness and support of groups marginalized and disadvantaged by systematic oppression. Late 20th century resistance movements such as liberation theology and anarchism set the stage for mass critiques of, and resistance to, forms of social and institutionalized oppression that have been subtly enforced and reinforced over time. Resistance movements of the 21st century have furthered the missions of activists across the world, and movements such as liberalism, Black Lives Matter and feminism are some of the most prominent examples of resistance to oppression today.

See also


  1. ^ This description of authoritarian governments is somewhat simplistic in that it describes the epitome of authoritarianism, i.e., the worst-case scenario, which still exists in some countries today, but has gradually become less prevalent over the last two centuries or so. See the five books cited at the end of this paragraph for a more nuanced discussion. Also see the Wikipedia article, Authoritarianism.
  2. ^ This list of countries is mostly arbitrary, and is meant only to illustrate what is meant by "advanced democracies".
  3. ^ The terms representative democracies, republics, or democratic republics could also be used instead of democracies. The four Wikipedia articles linked to in the previous sentence discuss the similarities and differences between and amongst the four related terms.
  4. ^ see "General references (seminal works)" below.


  1. ^ American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2016. ISBN 9780544454453. Archived from the original on 2017-11-25.
  2. ^ Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary (Revised & Updated ed.). K Dictionaries Ltd, by arrangement with Random House Information Group, an imprint of The Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. 2010. Archived from the original on 2014-10-06.
  3. ^ Levitsky, Steven; Way, Lucan A. (2010). Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War. New York City, NY: Cambridge University Press. pp. 5–13. ISBN 9780521882521. OCLC 968631692.
  4. ^ Xavier, Márquez (2017). Non-democratic politics : authoritarianism, dictatorship, and democratization. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 1–21, 39–61, 130–141. ISBN 9781137486318. OCLC 967148718.
  5. ^ Bunce, Valerie; McFaul, Michael; Stoner, Kathryn (2010). Democracy and authoritarianism in the post-communist world. Cambridge, England (UK): Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521115988. OCLC 340983053.
  6. ^ Zafirovski, Milan (2007). The Protestant ethic and the spirit of authoritarianism: Puritanism, democracy, and society. New York City, NY: Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 15–18. ISBN 9780387493206. OCLC 191465180.
  7. ^ King, Stephen J. (2009). The new authoritarianism in the Middle East and North Africa. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. ISBN 9780253353979. OCLC 607553768.
  8. ^ Taylor, Elanor (2016), "Groups and Oppression", Hypatia, 31 (3): 520–536, doi:10.1111/hypa.12252, ISSN 1527-2001
  9. ^ Taylor 2016, pp. 520-521.
  10. ^ Harvey, Jean (1999). Civilized oppression. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-0847692743. OCLC 41528208.
  11. ^ Glasberg, Shannon, Davita, Deric (2011). Political Sociology: Oppression, Resistance, and the State. United States of America: Sage Publication Inc. p. 1. ISBN 9781452238081.
  12. ^ Van Wormer, K., & Besthorn, F. H. (2010). Human behavior and the social environment, macro level: Groups, communities, and organizations. Oxford University Press.
  13. ^ Cheney, Carol; LeFrance, Jeannie; Quinteros, Terrie (2006). "Institutionalized Oppression Definitions". Act for Action. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  14. ^ Young, Iris (1990). Justice and the Politics of Difference. Princeton University Press. p. 1.
  15. ^ a b Weber, Lynn (2010). Understanding Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality: A Conceptual Framework (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-538024-8. OCLC 699188746.
  16. ^ Ferguson, S. J. (Ed.). (2015). Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Social Class: Dimensions of Inequality and Identity. SAGE Publications.
  17. ^ "Definition of PRIVILEGE". www.merriam-webster.com. Archived from the original on 2017-09-20. Retrieved 2017-11-18.
  18. ^ Freibach-Heifetz, Dana; Stopler, Gila (June 2008). "On conceptual dichotomies and social oppression". Philosophy and Social Criticism. 34 (5): 515–35. doi:10.1177/0191453708089197.
  19. ^ "What is Racial Oppression?". Reference. Archived from the original on 2017-04-25.
  20. ^ a b Blauner, B. (1972). Racial oppression in America. Harpercollins College Div.
  21. ^ "Definition of CLASSISM". www.merriam-webster.com. Archived from the original on 2017-04-25. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  22. ^ "Class Action » About Class". www.classism.org. Archived from the original on 2017-07-03. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ "What does religious persecution mean?". www.definitions.net. Retrieved 2018-11-04.
  25. ^ Young, Iris (1990). Justice and the Politics of Difference. Princeton University Press. p. 40. ISBN 978-0691078328.
  26. ^ Blumenfeld, Warren. "Christian Privilege and the Promotion of "Secular" and Not-So "Secular" Mainline Christianity in Public Schooling and in the Larger Society". Equity and Excellence in Education. 39 – via Ebscohost.
  27. ^ "exploitation | Definition of exploitation in English by Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries | English. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  28. ^ "Chinese immigration and the Transcontinental railroad". www.uscitizenship.info. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  29. ^ "3 Suspects in Bombing of Minnesota Mosque Face Weapons Charges". Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  30. ^ Collins, Patricia Hill (2000). Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge. p. 295. ISBN 978-0-415-92483-2. OCLC 491072106.
  31. ^ Cheney, Carol; LaFrance, Jeannie; Quinteros, Terrie (25 August 2006). "Institutionalized Oppression Definitions" (PDF). The Illumination Project. Portland Community College. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  32. ^ a b c d Seabrook, Renita; Wyatt-Nichol, Heather. "The Ugly Side of America: Institutional Oppression and Race". Journal of Public Management & Social Policy. 23: 1–28.
  33. ^ a b Skolnick, Jerome H.; Fyfe, James J. (1994). Above the Law: Police and the Excessive Use of Force. New York. p. 24.
  34. ^ a b Walker, Frank (2014). Law and the Gay Rights Story : The Long Search for Equal Justice in a Divided Democracy. Rutgers University Press. p. 14.
  35. ^ a b Meyer, Doug (2015). Violence against Queer People : Race, Class, Gender, and the Persistence of Anti-LGBT Discrimination. Rutgers University Press.
  36. ^ Lee, Mike (June 2015). "S.1598 - First Amendment Defense Act". Congress.gov. Archived from the original on 2017-06-08.
  37. ^ Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hull, G. H. (2012). Understanding Generalist Practice. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.
  38. ^ a b c Cudd, Ann E. (2006). Analyzing Oppression. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 0-19-518744-X.
  39. ^ a b Mupepi, Mambo (Ed.). (2016). Effective Talent Management Strategies for Organizational Success. Hershey: Business Science Reference. ISBN 1522519610.
  40. ^ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, "Women's median earnings 82 percent of men's in 2016. https://www.bls.gov Archived 2017-11-23 at the Wayback Machine (visited April 21, 2017)
  41. ^ Kinnear, Karen L. (2011). Women in Developing Countries: a Reference Handbook. ABC-Clio. ISBN 9781598844252.
  42. ^ Magnusson, Charlotta. (2010). "Why Is There A Gender Wage Gap According To Occupational Prestige?" Acta Sociologica (Sage Publications, Ltd.) 53.2: 99-117. Academic Search Complete.
  43. ^ Weichselbaumer, D. and Winter-Ebmer, R. (2005). A Meta-Analysis of the International Gender Wage Gap. Journal of Economic Surveys, 19: 479–511. Doi: 10.1111/j.0950-0804.2005.00256.x
  44. ^ Veltman, A., & Piper, M. (Eds.). (2014). Autonomy, Oppression, and Gender. Oxford University Press.
  45. ^ Chávez, Karma; Nair, Yasmin; Conrad, Ryan. "Equality, Sameness, Difference: Revisiting the Equal Rights Amendment".
  46. ^ Nusca, Andrew (January 21, 2017). "Women's March". Fortune. Archived from the original on 2017-04-24.
  47. ^ Hay, Carol. "The Obligation to Resist Oppression". Journal of Social Philosophy.
  48. ^ Cudd, Ann. "Strikes, Housework, and the Moral Obligation to Resist".

General references (seminal works)

Cudd, Ann E. (2006). Analyzing oppression. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 0-19-518744-X.

Deutsch, M. (2006). A framework for thinking about oppression and its change. Social Justice Research, 19(1), 7–41. doi:10.1007/s11211-006-9998-3

Gil, David G. (2013). Confronting injustice and oppression: Concepts and strategies for social workers (2nd ed.). New York City, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231163996 OCLC 846740522

Harvey, J. (1999). Civilized oppression. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0847692744

Marin, Mara (2017). Connected by commitment: Oppression and our responsibility to undermine it. New York City, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190498627 OCLC 989519441

Noël, Lise (1989). L'Intolérance. Une problématique générale (Intolerance: a general survey). Montréal (Québec), Canada: Boréal. ISBN 9782890522718. OCLC 20723090.

Opotow, S. (1990). Moral exclusion and injustice: an introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 46(1), 1–20. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb00268.x

Young, Iris (1990). Justice and the politics of difference (2011 reissue; foreword by Danielle Allen). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691152622 OCLC 778811811

Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (1996). The anatomy of prejudices. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-03190-6. OCLC 442469051.

Further reading

  • Guillaumin, Colette (1995). Racism, Sexism, Power and Ideology. Critical studies in racism and migration. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-09385-9. OCLC 441154357.
  • Hobgood, Mary Elizabeth (2000). Dismantling Privilege: An Ethics of Accountability. Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press. ISBN 978-0-8298-1374-6. OCLC 42849654.
  • Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (1996). The Anatomy of Prejudices. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-03190-6. OCLC 442469051.
  • Noël, Lise (1994). Intolerance, A General Survey. Translated by Bennett, Arnold. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 978-0-7735-1160-6. OCLC 832466622.
  • Omi, Michael; Winant, Howard (1994). Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-90864-1. OCLC 963325772.
  • Feagin, Joe R.; Vera, Hernan (1995). White Racism: The Basics. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-90918-1. OCLC 30399203.
  • Solzhenitsyn, Alexandr I. (1973). The Gulag Archipelago, 1918–1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, I–VII. Translated by Whitney, Thoman P. (1st ed.). Harper and Row. OCLC 3953706.
  • Kiernan, Ben (1996). The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power, and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975–79. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-06113-0. OCLC 845153793.
  • Cudd, Ann E. (2006). Analyzing Oppression. Studies in feminist philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-518743-4. OCLC 702181996.
  • Deutsch, Morton (March 2006). "A Framework for Thinking about Oppression and Its Change". Social Justice Research. 19 (1): 7–41. doi:10.1007/s11211-006-9998-3.
Black anarchism

Black anarchism is a political ideology applied to a group of people of African descent who identify with the principles of anarchism. These people include, but are not limited to: Ashanti Alston, Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin, Kuwasi Balagoon, Kai Lumumba Barrow, Greg Jackson, and Martin Sostre. Critics of the ideology suggest that it broadly eclipses important political differences between these multi-varied thinkers, and incorrectly presents them as having a shared theory or movement. Ultimately, Black Anarchism is a term that many of these individuals do not (or did not) all accept.

Regardless, the individuals to whom the label has been applied all oppose the existence of the State, the subjugation and domination of black people and other ethnic groups, and favor a non-hierarchical organization of society. In general, these individuals argue for class struggle while stressing the importance of ending racial and national oppression, opposing white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, and the state. They have generally rejected narrow or explicit forms of "anarchism" that ignore issues of race and national oppression, a deformed "white, petty-bourgeois Anarchism that cannot relate to the people" and that refuses to deal with issues of race saying, "No, don't talk about racism unless it is in that very abstract sense of we-are-all-equal-let's-sing-kumbayas-and-pretend-the-color-of-our-skin-does-not-matter" anti-racism.Ashanti Alston (who has explicitly used the term "Black Anarchism") also argued that:

Black culture has always been oppositional and is all about finding ways to creatively resist oppression here, in the most racist country in the world [the United States]. So, when I speak of a Black anarchism, it is not so tied to the color of my skin but who I am as a person, as someone who can resist, who can see differently when I am stuck, and thus live differently. He added that, as an anarchist, he viewed black nationalism as progressive yet also as deeply limited: "Panther anarchism is ready, willing and able to challenge old nationalist and revolutionary notions that have been accepted as ‘common-sense.’ It also challenges the bullshit in our lives and in the so-called movement that holds us back from building a genuine movement based on the enjoyment of life, diversity, practical self-determination and multi-faceted resistance to the Babylonian Pigocracy. This Pigocracy is in our ‘heads,’ our relationships as well as in the institutions that have a vested interest in our eternal domination."Most recently, activists and scholars have emphasized the importance of Black Anarchism in the formation of histories surrounding the Black Liberation Army, Black Panther Party, and other modes of the Black Radical Tradition beginning with slave rebellions in the European colonies of the late 18th century to the present-day. In "As Black As Resistance: Finding the Conditions of Liberation", activists Zoé Samudzi, William C. Anderson, and Mariame Kaba describe the necessity of Black Anarchism in current political struggles: "Black Americans are residents of a settler colony, not truly citizens of the United States. Despite a constitution laden with European Enlightenment values and a document of independence declaring certain inalienable rights, Black existence was legally that of private property until postbellum emancipation. The Black American condition today is an evolved condition directly connected to this history of slavery, and that will continue to be the case as long as the United States remains as an ongoing settler project. Nothing short of a complete dismantling of the American state as it presently exists can or will disrupt this.”


The term ecofeminism is used to describe a feminist approach to understanding ecology. Ecofeminist thinkers draw on the concept of gender to theorize on the relationship between humans and the natural world. The term was coined by the French writer Françoise d'Eaubonne in her book Le Féminisme ou la Mort (1974). Today, there are many interpretations of ecofeminism and how it might be applied to social thought, including: ecofeminist art, ecofeminist theory, social justice and political philosophy, religion, contemporary feminism and poetry. As there are several different types of feminism and different beliefs held by feminists, there are different versions of ecofeminism.

Ecofeminism is widely referred to as the third wave of feminism, it adds to the former feminist theory that an environmental perspective is a necessary part of feminism. Ecofeminism uses the parallels between the oppression of nature and the oppression of women as a way to highlight the idea that both must be understood in order to properly recognize how they are connected. These parallels include but are not limited to seeing women and nature as property, seeing men as the curators of culture and women as the curators of nature, and how men dominate women and humans dominate nature.Charlene Spretnak has offered one way of categorizing ecofeminist work: 1) through the study of political theory as well as history; 2) through the belief and study of nature-based religions; 3) through environmentalism.

Folk hero

A folk hero or national hero is a type of hero – real, fictional or mythological – with the sole salient characteristic being the imprinting of his or her name, personality and deeds in the popular consciousness of a people. This presence in the popular consciousness is evidenced by its historical frequency in folk songs, folk tales and other folklore; and its modern trope status in literature, art and films.

Although some folk heroes are historical public figures, many are not. The lives of folk heroes are generally fictional, their characteristics and deeds often exaggerated to mythic proportions.

The folk hero often begins life as a normal person, but is transformed into someone extraordinary by significant life events, often in response to social injustice, and sometimes in response to natural disasters.

One major category of folk hero is the defender of the common people against the oppression or corruption of the established power structure. Members of this category of folk hero often, but not necessarily, live outside the law in some way.


Heteropatriarchy (etymologically from heterosexual and patriarchy) is a socio-political system where (primarily) cisgender males and heterosexuals have authority over cisgender females and over other sexual orientations and gender identities. It is a term that emphasizes that discrimination exerted both upon women and LGBTQ people has the same sexist social principle.Heteropatriarchy creates an environment of oppression and inequality for racial and sexual minority groups. Heteropatriarchy depends upon the perspective of gender roles, in which men are considered strong, able, and intelligent and females are depicted as weak, unable, and naive. The gender and sex identities created and protected by the projected status quo ensures the power of heterosexual man in a regime of compulsory heteropatriarchy.The practice of legal (and social) culture of relegating gender to the realm of "women's issues" and sexual orientation to the realm of "sexual minorities' issues” is fundamental to a heteropatriarchal society. Heterosexual men are not only given primacy over other gender and sexual minorities, but are also encouraged and rewarded.From the feminist point of view, the term patriarchy refers to the father as the power holder inside the family hierarchy, and therefore, women become subordinate to the power of men. With the emergence of queer theory around the 1980s and the 1990s and the questioning of the heteronormativity and the gender binary, this kind of domination is not only described in terms of sex or gender (the predominance of men over woman, or the masculine over the feminine) but also in terms of sexuality (the heteronormativity, or the heterosexuality above other sexual orientations and the cisgender over other identities). The term heteropatriarchy has evolved from the previous, less specific term 'patriarchy' to emphasize the formation of a man dominated society based upon the cultural processes of sexism/heterosexism.Heteropatriarchy is a facet of popular feminist analysis used to explain modern social structure, which is based on a hierarchical system of interlocking forces of power and oppression. It is commonly understood in this context that men typically occupy the highest positions of power and women experience the bulk of social oppression. This organization is reinforced by the gender norms, which ascribes traits of femininity and masculinity to men and women. Heteropatriarchy is a system of socio-political dominance whereby cisgender heterosexual men are favoured and are routinely remunerated for presenting masculine traits. Conversely, women or people who display traits deemed feminine receive less societal privilege. Historically this has manifested in economic disadvantages such as unequal pay, or the inability for women to own land.

History of Ireland (1169–1536)

The history of Ireland from 1169–1536 covers the period from the arrival of the Cambro-Normans to the reign of Henry VIII of England, who made himself King of Ireland. After the Norman invasions of 1169 and 1171, Ireland was under an alternating level of control from Norman lords and the King of England. Previously, Ireland had seen intermittent warfare between provincial kingdoms over the position of High King. This situation was transformed by intervention in these conflicts by Norman mercenaries and later the English crown. After their successful conquest of England, the Normans turned their attention to Ireland. Ireland was made a Lordship of the King of England and much of its land was seized by Norman barons. With time, Hiberno-Norman rule shrank to a territory known as the Pale, stretching from Dublin to Dundalk. The Hiberno-Norman lords elsewhere in the country became Gaelicised and integrated in Gaelic society.

Internalized racism

Internalized racism is a form of internalized oppression, defined by sociologist Karen D. Pyke as the "internalization of racial oppression by the racially subordinated." In her study The Psychology of Racism, Robin Nicole Johnson emphasizes that internalized racism involves both "conscious and unconscious acceptance of a racial hierarchy in which whites are consistently ranked above people of color." These definitions encompass a wide range of instances, including, but not limited to, belief in negative racial stereotypes, adaptations to white cultural standards, and thinking that supports the status quo (i.e. denying that racism exists).Internalized racism as a phenomenon is a direct product of a racial classification system, and is found across different racial groups and regions around the world where race exists as a social construct. In these places, internalized racism can have adverse effects on those who experience it. For example, high internalized racism scores have been linked to poor health outcomes among Caribbean black women, higher propensity for violence among African American young males, and increased domestic violence among Native American populations in the US.Responses to internalized racism have been varied. Many of the approaches focus on dispelling false narratives learned from racial oppression. An example of opposition to internalized racism is the "Black is beautiful" cultural movement in the US, which sought to "directly attack [the] ideology" that blackness was ugly.


Intersectionality, also referred to as intersectional feminism, is a branch of feminism which identifies how different aspects of social and political discrimination overlap with gender. It is an analytic framework that attempts to identify how interlocking systems of power impact those who are most marginalized in society. The term was coined by black feminist scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in 1989. There are various forms of social stratification, such as class, race, sexual orientation, age, religion, creed, disability and gender, which are included in the consideration of intersectional feminism and its social and cultural effects. The purpose of intersectionality is to identify that these forms of discrimination are related to one another, and take these relationships into account when working to promote social and political equity. While the theory began as an exploration of the oppression of women of color within society, today the analysis has expanded to include many more aspects of social identity. Intersectionality may also be related to the term triple oppression, which engages with similar themes.


Kyriarchy, pronounced , is in feminist theory, a social system or set of connecting social systems built around domination, oppression, and submission. The word was coined by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza in 1992 to describe her theory of interconnected, interacting, and self-extending systems of domination and submission, in which a single individual might be oppressed in some relationships and privileged in others. It is an intersectional extension of the idea of patriarchy beyond gender. Kyriarchy encompasses sexism, racism, speciesism, homophobia, classism, economic injustice, colonialism, militarism, ethnocentrism, anthropocentrism, and other forms of dominating hierarchies in which the subordination of one person or group to another is internalized and institutionalized.

Liberation by Oppression

Liberation by Oppression: A Comparative Study of Slavery and Psychiatry is a 2002 critique of psychiatry by Thomas Szasz.

Marxist feminism

Marxist feminism is feminism focused on investigating and explaining the ways in which women are oppressed through systems of capitalism and private property. According to Marxist feminists, women's liberation can only be achieved through a radical restructuring of the current capitalist economy, in which, they contend, much of women's labor is uncompensated.

Material feminism

Material feminism highlights capitalism and patriarchy as central in understanding women's oppression. Under materialist feminism, gender is seen as a social construct, and society forces gender roles, such as bearing children, onto women. Materialist feminism's ideal vision is a society in which women are treated socially and economically the same as men. The theory centers on social change rather than seeking transformation within the capitalist system. Jennifer Wicke, defines materialist feminism as "a feminism that insists on examining the material conditions under which social arrangements, including those of gender hierarchy, develop... materialist feminism avoids seeing this gender hierarchy as the effect of a singular... patriarchy and instead gauges the web of social and psychic relations that make up a material, historical moment". She states that "...materialist feminism argues that material conditions of all sorts play a vital role in the social production of gender and assays the different ways in which women collaborate and participate in these productions". Material feminism also considers how women and men of various races and ethnicities are kept in their lower economic status due to an imbalance of power that privileges those who already have privilege, thereby protecting the status quo. Materialist feminists ask whether people have access to free education, if they can pursue careers, have access or opportunity to become wealthy, and if not, what economic or social constraints are preventing them from doing so, and how this can be changed.

Pharaohs in the Bible

The Hebrew Bible (Tenakh or Old Testament) makes reference to various pharaohs (פַּרְעֹה, /paʁˈʕo/) of Egypt. These include unnamed pharaohs in the legends of the Israelite settlement in Egypt, the subsequent oppression of the Israelites, and the period of the Exodus. They also include several later rulers, some of whom can be identified with historical pharaohs.

Political repression

Political repression is the persecution of an individual or group within society for political reasons, particularly for the purpose of restricting or preventing their ability to take part in the political life of a society thereby reducing their standing among their fellow citizens.Political repression is sometimes used synonymously with the term political discrimination (also known as politicism). It often is manifested through discriminatory policies, such as human rights violations, surveillance abuse, police brutality, imprisonment, involuntary settlement, stripping of citizen's rights, lustration and violent action or terror such as the murder, summary executions, torture, forced disappearance and other extrajudicial punishment of political activists, dissidents, or general population. Political repression can also be reinforced by means outside of written policy, such as by public and private media ownership and by self-censorship within the public.

Where political repression is sanctioned and organised by the state, it may constitute state terrorism, genocide, politicide or crimes against humanity. Systemic and violent political repression is a typical feature of dictatorships, totalitarian states and similar regimes. Acts of political repression may be carried out by secret police forces, army, paramilitary groups or death squads. Repressive activities have also been found within democratic contexts as well. This can even include setting up situations where the death of the target of repression is the end result.If political repression is not carried out with the approval of the state, a section of government may still be responsible. An example is the FBI COINTELPRO operations in the United States between 1956 and 1971.In some states, "repression" can be an official term used in legislation or the names of government institutions. For example, the Soviet Union had a legal policy of repression of political opposition defined in the penal code and Cuba under Fulgencio Batista had a secret police agency officially named the "Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities".

Radical feminism

Radical feminism is a perspective within feminism that calls for a radical reordering of society in which male supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic contexts.Radical feminists view society as fundamentally a patriarchy in which men dominate and oppress women. Radical feminists seek to abolish the patriarchy in order to "liberate everyone from an unjust society by challenging existing social norms and institutions." This includes opposing the sexual objectification of women, raising public awareness about such issues as rape and violence against women, and challenging the concept of gender roles. Shulamith Firestone wrote in The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution (1970): "[T]he end goal of feminist revolution must be, unlike that of the first feminist movement, not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sex distinction itself: genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally."Early radical feminism, arising within second-wave feminism in the 1960s, typically viewed patriarchy as a "transhistorical phenomenon" prior to or deeper than other sources of oppression, "not only the oldest and most universal form of domination but the primary form" and the model for all others. Later politics derived from radical feminism ranged from cultural feminism to more syncretic politics that placed issues of class, economics, etc. on a par with patriarchy as sources of oppression.Radical feminists locate the root cause of women's oppression in patriarchal gender relations, as opposed to legal systems (as in liberal feminism) or class conflict (as in anarchist feminism, socialist feminism, and Marxist feminism).

Sexual norm

A sexual norm can refer to a personal or a social norm. Most cultures have social norms regarding sexuality, and define normal sexuality to consist only of certain sex acts between individuals who meet specific criteria of age, consanguinity (e.g. incest), race/ethnicity (e.g. miscegenation), and/or social role and socioeconomic status.

In most societies, the term 'normal' identifies a range or spectrum of behaviors. Rather than each act being simply classified as "acceptable" or "not acceptable", many acts are viewed as "more or less accepted" by different people, and the opinion on how normal or acceptable they are greatly depends on the individual making the opinion as well as the culture itself. Based on information gained from sexological studies, a great many ordinary people's sex lives are very often quite different from popular beliefs about normal, in private.

If non-restrictive sexual norms are regarded positively, they may be called "sexual freedom", "sexual liberation" or "free love". If they are regarded negatively, they may be called "sexual licence" or "licentiousness". Restrictive social norms, if judged negatively, are called sexual oppression. If the restrictive norms are judged positively, they may be regarded as encouraging chastity, "sexual self-restraint" or "sexual decency", and negative terms are used for the targeted sexuality, e.g. sexual abuse and perversion.

Socialist feminism

Socialist feminism rose in the 1960s and 1970s as an offshoot of the feminist movement and New Left that focuses upon the interconnectivity of the patriarchy and capitalism. Socialist feminists argue that liberation can only be achieved by working to end both the economic and cultural sources of women's oppression. Socialist feminism is a two-pronged theory that broadens Marxist feminism's argument for the role of capitalism in the oppression of women and radical feminism's theory of the role of gender and the patriarchy. Socialist feminists reject radical feminism's main claim that patriarchy is the only or primary source of oppression of women. Rather, socialist feminists assert that women are unable to be free due to their financial dependence on males. Women are subjects to the male rulers in capitalism due to an uneven balance in wealth. They see economic dependence as the driving force of women's subjugation to men. Further, socialist feminists see women's liberation as a necessary part of larger quest for social, economic and political justice. Socialist feminists attempted to integrate the fight for women's liberation with the struggle against other oppressive systems based on race, class or economic status.Socialist feminism draws upon many concepts found in Marxism, such as a historical materialist point of view, which means that they relate their ideas to the material and historical conditions of people's lives. Thus, socialist feminists consider how the sexism and gendered division of labor of each historical era is determined by the economic system of the time. Those conditions are largely expressed through capitalist and patriarchal relations. Socialist feminists reject the Marxist notion that class and class struggle are the only defining aspects of history and economic development. Karl Marx asserted that when class oppression was overcome, gender oppression would vanish as well. According to socialist feminists, this view of gender oppression as a sub-class of class oppression is naive and much of the work of socialist feminists has gone towards specifying how gender and class work together to create distinct forms of oppression and privilege for women and men of each class. For example, they observe that women's class status is generally derivative of her husband's class or occupational status, e.g. a secretary that marries her boss assumes his class status.

In 1972, "Socialist Feminism: A Strategy for the Women's Movement", which is believed to be the first publication to use the term socialist feminism, was published by the Hyde Park Chapter of the Chicago Women's Liberation Union (Heather Booth, Day Creamer, Susan Davis, Deb Dobbin, Robin Kaufman and Tobey Klass). Other socialist feminists, notably two long-lived American organizations Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party, point to the classic Marxist writings of Frederick Engels (The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State) and August Bebel (Woman and Socialism) as a powerful explanation of the link between gender oppression and class exploitation. In the decades following the Cold War, feminist writer and scholar Sarah Evans says that the socialist feminist movement has lost traction in the West due to a common narrative that associates socialism with totalitarianism and dogma.

The Exodus

The Exodus is the founding myth of the Israelites. Spread over the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, it tells of the enslavement that befell the children of Israel in Egypt, their liberation through the hand of Yahweh and the revelations at Sinai, and their wanderings in the wilderness up to borders of Canaan, the land their God has given them. Its message is that Israel was delivered from slavery by Yahweh and therefore belongs to him through the Mosaic covenant, the terms of which are that Yahweh will protect his chosen people for all time, so long as they will keep his laws and worship only him. The narrative and its laws remain central to Judaism, recounted daily in Jewish prayers and celebrated in festivals such as Passover, as well as serving as an inspiration and model for non-Jewish groups from early Protestants fleeing persecution in Europe to African-Americans striving for freedom and civil rights.The consensus of modern scholars is that the Bible does not give an accurate account of the origins of Israel, which formed as an entity in the southern Transjordan region by the 13th century BCE. Nevertheless, most scholars agree that the Exodus narrative has a historical core behind it. The Exodus story in its first published form was composed by the 5th century BCE, but the traditions behind it are older and can be found in the writings of the 8th century BCE prophets. It is unclear how far beyond that the tradition might stretch. It has also been posited that the Exodus narrative may have been influenced by collective memories of the Hyksos expulsions of Semitic Canaanites from Egypt, possibly elaborated on to encourage resistance to the 7th century domination of Judah by Egypt.

Triple oppression

Triple oppression is a theory developed by black socialists in the United States, such as Claudia Jones. The theory states that a connection exists between various types of oppression, specifically classism, racism, and sexism. It hypothesizes that all three types of oppression need to be overcome at once. It is also referred to as "double jeopardy", Jane Crow, or triple exploitation.

Vegetarian ecofeminism

Vegetarian ecofeminism is an activist and academic movement which states that all types of oppression are linked and must be eradicated, with a focus on including the domination of humans over nonhuman animals. Through the feminist concept known as intersectionality, it is recognized that sexism, racism, classism, and other forms of inter human oppression are all connected. Vegetarian ecofeminism aims to include the domination of not only the environment but also of nonhuman animals to the list. Vegetarian ecofeminism is part of the academic and philosophical field of ecofeminism, which states that the ways in which the privileged dominates the oppressed should include the way humans dominate nature. A major theme within ecofeminism is the belief that there is a strong connection between the domination of women and the domination of nature, and that both must be eradicated in order to end oppression.Vegetarian ecofeminism extends beyond ecofeminism because it believes that the way in which humans exploit and kill nonhuman animals should be distinctly recognized, and that the oppression of humans is linked to the oppression of nonhuman animals. The concept of speciesism is central to distinguishing between vegetarian ecofeminism and ecofeminism, and it strongly links the hierarchies created among nonhuman animals to the hierarchies created among humans. Distinguishing between ecofeminism and vegetarian ecofeminism is important because of vegetarian ecofeminism's focus on the oppression of nonhuman animals provides connections between the other linked forms of oppression, but specifically the oppression of women.

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