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What Is The Cause Of Oppression?

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For centuries women in cultures around the globe have been subjected to inequality and injustice, and enslaved by the chains of oppression that keep them submissive in our hyper-masculine societies. Women have been told how to look and act, denied the the right to vote and own land, married without consent and objectified. Objectification becomes internalized and has taught women that in order to find a man to marry them, which they learn should be their sole purpose in life, they need to present themselves desirably. In many cultures virginity until marriage has been an ideal that women are expected to uphold if they want a husband. In the book Breath Eyes Memory, by Edwidge Danticat, this expectation is revealed when adolescent Sophie…show more content…
Oppression. The state of being subject to unjust treatment or control. This word encapsulates the power imbalance between men and women, and how the imbalance is nurtured by societal norms. These relationships that are fostered by this culture lack equality and respect, and create the capacity for abuse, even in interactions between strangers. Cultural ideology that posits men having more power is present in the world of Sophie and Martine Caco. This can be seen when Sophie is visiting her family in Haiti and she is walking through her village. She observes that in the cane fields “The men were singing about a woman who flew without her skin at night, and when she came back home, she found her skin peppered and could not put it back on. Her husband had done it to teach her a lesson. He ended up killing her.” (Danticat 150). Danticat’s choice of making the song a metaphor for the culture’s gender roles show how it is ingrained in everyday life. Children in this culture grow up hearing songs and stories like these. This story teaches them that men have more power over women and if…show more content…
Sophie’s aunt, Tante Atie, explained to her that in their world “They train you to find a husband [...] they poke at your panties in the middle of the night [...] they listen when you pee, to find out if you’re peeing too loud. If you pee loud, it means you’ve got big spaces between your legs. They make you burn your fingers learning to cook. Then still you have nothing” (136). This shows how women are forced to cook and be sexual objects for men and end up left with nothing for themselves. This is evident in the tradition of testing for virginity in the Caco family. This ritual has created pain between generations of women. While Sophie has not had a lot of experience with men nor shared relationships with them, she has learned that men expect women to take care of them and please them. Tante Atie expresses her annoyance about this, complaining that “The men in [Haiti], they insist that their women are virgins and have ten fingers. According to [her] each finger had a purpose [...] Mothering. Boiling. Loving. Baking. Nursing. Frying. Healing. Washing. Ironing. Scrubbing [...] Sometimes, she even wished she had six fingers on each hand so she could have two left for herself” (151). Women have to take care of their families and husbands and have no
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