The oppression of women stems largely from men’s desire for power and control. The same need which, throughout history, has driven men to try to conquer and subjugate other groups or nations, and to oppress other classes or groups in their own society, drives them to dominate and oppress women.
Since men feel the need to gain as much power and control as they can, they steal away power and control from women. They deny women the right to make decisions so that they can make them for them, leave women unable to direct their own lives so that they can direct their lives for them. Ultimately, they’re trying to increase their sense of significance and status (…)
But even this isn’t enough to explain the full terrible saga of man’s inhumanity to woman. Many cultures have had a strong antagonism towards women, viewing them as impure and innately sinful creatures who have been sent by the devil to lead men astray.
This is linked to the view — encouraged by religions — that instincts and sensual desires are base and sinful. Men associate themselves with the “purity” of the mind, and women with the “corruption” of the body.
In connection with this, perhaps men have resented the sexual power that women have over them too. Feeling that sex was sinful, they were bound to feel animosity to the women who produced their sexual desires.
We can only be thankful that, in some parts of the world at least, this antagonism — and the oppression that it leads to — has begun to fade away.
Steve Taylor, Ph.D., is senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University. He is the author of Back to Sanity and Waking From Sleep.