Being a woman is a daily struggle fueled by resistance to all forms of oppression. When you are women, immigrants, handicapped, young, homosexuals, or any other status, you undergo forms of oppression that can take the form of discrimination, differential and unequal treatment, more physical constraints, assignments to special tasks, forms of contempt.
These situations are often based on the idea of a particular nature that would justify oppression, including in the eyes of the oppressed. How do the different oppressions organize? What meanings do they take in a capitalist society? How to build collective resistance? To answer these questions, I will attend to rely specifically on the notion of social relation.
The diversity of human identity unfolds on scales between what is man or woman, white or black, young or old. All categories whose definition is variable from one culture to another, according to historical periods. We can, therefore, add oppressions: gay, an immigrant, and others. Groups such as collective identities define them, have more or less real characteristics, granted by others or by themselves.
In society, there is no relationship between two pre-existing groups, but a relation that builds both groups. In other words, the two groups are constructed in the confrontation. In the male / female ratio, it is as much the group of oppressed women as that of men who define themselves. It can be seen from the Essay written by Cristina Tzintzun in Colonize This!
‘But the flashing lights became harder to ignore when I would hear my father tell other white American men that they should go to Mexico and marry a nice Mexican girl. So that she could take care of him…….when I would hear these comments I’d tell my father that he is a racist……tell him that just because they are poor and Mexican, he thinks he better than they are .'(Cristina, pg 19-20 ).
It is important to note here that there is a sort of exploitation by her father. Which makes me believe that exploitation feeds on different oppression and allows the over-exploitation of certain social groups. The oppression of women makes it possible to confine women in the tasks related to the reproduction of the workforce, to disqualify the work of women: a model of management of the employees related to the only competences engaged in the work, not allowing of career development in the same job or to more skilled jobs. It aims to make believe the women’s salary as a subsidiary contribution in the home.
These elements combine to justify the lower payment of women, leading to overexploitation. Racial oppression aims to justify keeping down the ladder, in subordinate jobs, handling, cleaning, a category of the population. It leads to justify the slightest recognition throughout society. For example, young immigrants represent a reserve army that weighs on wages. The oppression of the working class has an economic base: the working class is forced to sell their labor power, the only means of subsistence.
But this is not enough for the capitalist system, which must find deeper sources for the workers to accept domination. Just as in Colonize this, Johnson demonstrates how oppression touches all type of social group. Here he talks, particularly of the working class. ‘Whether, in a lower, middle or upper-class home or work situations, women’s service work always includes personal service…..sexual service….’ (Johnson, pg 9-10).
At the source of the notion of discrimination, there is the observation that inequalities exist because they are based on oppression. The unemployment rate of young people, the rate of women in management or political representation, the inequality of rights between homos and hetero, linked to structural homophobia, all visible signs of the inequalities that are the result of oppression.