Psychology Today published an article a few months ago titled “Why Men Oppress Women.” I’m mentioning the article because it brings up an interesting alternative explanation on why, throughout history, men have been so concerned with controlling and subjugating women.
Simply put, men have been afraid of the sexual desire women bring out in them, and the fact that they cannot control these impulses easily. Basically, it comes down to a fear of loss of control.
It wasn’t always like this, though. There is evidence that earlier cultures revered women because we give birth and care for children, which used to be seen as highly valued characteristics.
Somewhere along the way, things changed. Many cultures developed customs and practices focused on controlling women, and keeping us “in our place.” Foot binding, wife burning, and ritual murder of women who did not cooperate became acceptable. Women bought into it too, internalized this dangerous, violent sexism, and even assisted in the oppression of other women. (See my post on Women vs Women to get a better idea of what I mean.)
I wonder when and why this change happened. If anyone has any answers let me know!
Thankfully, things are getting better, especially in the industrialized nations. But we still have more to do, if both men and women can still applaud male bus drivers who punch female passengers who are half their size.