Oppressing the crucial minority: Women
I am not a feminist. I was a teacher but I hold no bias towards the men of what used to be called the noble profession. With my psychology background and the benefit of age-induced maturity, I have been watching in amazement how society treats its critical minorities like women and teachers, etc. It is baffling!
If we say children are the leaders of tomorrow, the formative years, where women and teachers play critical roles, are very important.
Agreed that we are a male-dominant world, and that patriarchy is almost without question, the crucial role women play in child development is equally without question. It goes without saying therefore that for proper physiological and psychological development of humans, mothers require proper care.
Patriarchy has been passed on from generation to generation since the pre-historic era. But it would seem that this arrangement, which fosters orderliness in homes and the society, has been abused over the years, ignoring the vital role of women.
For example, sociologist Sylvia Walby has composed some of these forms of abuse or imbalance in different cultures and different times:
The state: women are unlikely to have formal power and representation
The household: women are more likely to do the housework and raise the children.
Violence: women are more prone to being abused
Paid work: women are likely to be paid less
Sexuality: women’s sexuality is more likely to be treated negatively
Culture: women are more misrepresented in media and popular culture.
Indeed the great Aristotle did portray in his works that women are morally, intellectually, and physically inferior to men; saw women as the property of men; claimed that women’s role in society was to reproduce and serve men in the household; and saw male domination of women as natural and virtuous.
In my view that is harsh. And of course, feminists don’t take that: Feminism defines patriarchy as an unjust social system that is necessarily more oppressive to women. Feminist and political theorist Carole Pateman writes: “The patriarchal construction of the difference between masculinity and femininity is the political difference between freedom and subjection.”
In feminist the concept of patriarchy often includes all the social mechanisms that reproduce and exert male dominance over women. Feminist theory typically characterizes patriarchy as a social construction, which can be overcome by revealing and critically analyzing its manifestations.
Women are blessed with the gift to bring life into this world. This is a situation that single-handedly shows the immense amount of strength that women possess. A woman’s body has the capability to nurture and grow another human life within itself. For any man to ever be considered as great, an even greater woman must first choose to give him life.
In the midst of the day-to-day responsibilities of child-rearing, motherhood may not seem like such an influential position. But over time, mothers have tremendous impact on the lives of their children, including males. The child’s family is the most important factor in his development, and the role of the mother, a woman, is key here.
“God could not be everywhere so he made mothers,” a Jewish proverb states. Of course, God is omnipresent but he doesn’t personally attend to kids the way mothers do. He literarily delegated that duty.
As a firm believer in the complimentary roles of man and woman in life, and with due recognition of a husband’s leadership at home, I am reluctant to join the man-woman superiority debate. In most cultures, men are leaders in many spheres of life. Men head are heads of institutions, firms, organisations, countries, and world bodies. They make decisions, vital or trivial, and execute them. Even in the religious sphere of life, women are not even allowed a much foothold.
But do those make the man superior? Let’s consider this: For nine good months the man is a helpless colony of the woman. He breathes what she breathes, drinks what she drinks, and eats what she eats. His life is solely dependent on her whims and caprices. If she opts for an abortion, that is the end of the man.
Power of a woman
Nine months after, she brings him to the world, which he claims he rules. And for many years after the sacrificial pain to do that, she is still in total control of his development. She has absolute control over his emotional and psychological development. She can build him into a maniac just as she can build him into an emotionally stable and sound personality.
The scenarios have even changed. Nowadays it is completely normal for a woman to have a flourishing career and still manage to raise a family. They are commended for their ability to multitask. Women have the ability to balance a career and a home life. Education-wise, an increasing number of women are having higher education and are joining the workforce in droves.
Let me conclude with this Arabic proverb: “The mother is a school; if she is well-reared, you are sure to build a nation.”