Would you agree or disagree with the beliefs of radical feminists that are stated or implied in the following paragraph?
Radical feminists focus on the oppression of women that is embedded in patriarchy and seek to change society through activism and equalizing power. Radical feminists strive to identify and question the many ways in which patriarchy dominates every area of life including household chores, paid employment, intimate partnerships, violence, and parenting. They challenge the many ways that women are denied power. The major goals are to transfom gender relationships, transform societal institutions, and incease women's sexual and procreative self detemination.
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In order to answer this, let us first be specific about what beliefs are stated or implied in this paragraph. In the paragraph, we can see that radical feminists generally believe that we live in a patriarchal society in which women are oppressed. We can see that they, more specifically, believe that patriarchy affects such things as household chores, paid employment, intimate partnerships, violence, and parenting.
My own view is that patriarchy certainly does affect sex roles in these areas. However, I do not think that its effects are as pervasive as a radical feminist might think.
The assumption in this paragraph is that our society is a man’s world in which women are dominated and oppressed by men. I think that this is an overstatement. I would argue that our society is one in which women’s roles are constrained by patriarchy, but I do not think that the constraints are so strong that we should say that women are oppressed.
For example, let us look at household chores and parenting. Surveys seem to tell us that women do end up doing more of the housework and parenting than men do. This is true even when both the man and the woman work outside the home. This is surely caused mainly by the fact that society has long defined housework and parenting as “women’s work” and given those things a lower status than paid employment has. However, women do not do as great of a percentage of the household chores and parenting as they once did. This would tend to indicate that women are really not oppressed in the way they once were. I, for example, am a stay-at-home father who only works part-time. This family setup would not have been acceptable a generation ago, but it is acceptable now. Clearly, our society is not completely oppressive in this way today.
Let us also look at paid employment. It is true that women tend to make less than men do. It is also true that there appears to be a “glass ceiling” that limits women’s progress in the working world. These facts seem to stem from the fact that jobs that are identified as “women’s” jobs are less prestigious and less well-paying. They also seem to stem from the fact that women are still expected to be more involved with their children than men are. However, the fact remains that there are many more women working in good jobs and in positions of power than there once were.
Overall, my point is that I do believe that women are kept down to some degree by patriarchal attitudes in our society. However, I do not believe that they are kept down nearly as much as they once were and I do not think that they are kept down severely enough to warrant us saying that they are “oppressed.”
This assignment is asking for an opinion; if you do not have an opinion on the subject, you should consider how your life might change should radical feminism have its way. Would your life be improved or not? Would you be happier? Would this affect you financially, or change the opportunities available to you and the people you love?
When the passage is asking if you agree or disagree, you might interpret this in (at least) two ways. Is the passage asking if you agree with the feminist position as described? Or is it asking if this description is accurate?
Some things that you might take into consideration when deciding if you agree or disagree include biological factors, such as the fact that it is impossible for men to bear children, and political factors, such as the fact that, under the terms of equality, women should be required to enlist in Selective Service at age 18. You might also consider the elusiveness of quantifiable identity regarding the "patriarchy" itself, as well as the role of personal choice; for example, is Miley Cyrus a self-motivated individual and responsible for her own actions, or is her sexualized image a manipulation instigated by the patriarchy?
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