Sandra Bartky On Psychological Oppression

1575 WordsOct 4, 20177 Pages
Over time, humankind has tried to observe, evaluate, and correct oppressive tendencies between individuals and society. However, they have failed to eliminate the barriers individuals and groups face even today. By oppression, I mean, a set of forces and obstacles that are systematically related to one another, that work to restrict and restraint, and as a result prevent one’s mobility (Frye 85). One theorist, Sandra Bartky, offered her ideas in On Psychological Oppression. She argued that one can be psychologically oppressed by their thoughts and lack of self-esteem due to institutionalized and systematic barriers that exist; causing fragmentation (loss of self) and mystification (blaming oneself) (Bartky, p. 106). I support Bartky’s…show more content…
Second, Bartky claims that women are victims of cultural domination. She argues that the history and culture of women are that those of men (Bartky, p. 107). They have no alternative culture or identity to refer to and are forced to accept male supremacy as the norm: there is no cultural autonomy. Third, Bartky claims that women are sexually objectified. By this, she means that women’s sexual function and parts are reduced to an instrument and extended to all areas of life separate from their personality and capabilities. She points to examples such as catcalls and whistles that humiliate and objectify women. As a result, women are forced to see themselves as men see them. The objectified become the ones who objectify themselves while attempting to conform to images of a perfect woman (Bartky, p. 109). Consequently, Bartky argues that these forms of oppression are dehumanizing and depersonalizing because it targets personhood (Bartky, p. 110). The oppressed are unable to exercise their autonomy and qualities of being a person and believe it is the fault of their incapability of being a person. Specifically, they are alienated from the construction of their personhood and abilities as a human (Bartky, p. 111). Society labels and places people in boxes. We are told that “All men are created equal,” but in reality, society places expectations upon us in every aspect of

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