Oppression: Marilyn Frye And Jean-Jacques Rousseau

1099 Words5 Pages
Marilyn Frye and Jean-Jacques Rousseau have diverse views on who is oppressed and how oppression functions. Even with their differences, I believe that Frye’s structure of oppression can still account for how oppression works in Rousseau’s Second Discourse. I will prove this is my explanations below and integration of Frye’s beliefs into Rousseau’s views. In the second part of Rousseau’s Second Discourse, a great deal is discussed about possession of property and how that largely defines society. Rousseau meditates that the founder of civil society was the first person who claimed that an object or a piece of land was “theirs,” therefore creating ownership of private property. Private property was the beginning of institutionalizing inequality.…show more content…
She expresses that you can suffer, but that does not mean you are oppressed. Oppression has three fundamental approaches according to Frye, which are systemic, structural, and categorical. The systemic oppression means that it follows a certain order and is relevant to her bird cage example. Frye used an example of a bird cage by explaining that if the bird only focused on one of the wires, it would easily be able to get around it and escape. But, the bird does not do that, so he is trapped inside. This explains the systemic approach because all of the wires are set up to contain the bird as a group; if there is just one wire, the bird is not being oppressed. If you focus on the particular, it doesn’t seem that bad, but all the issues as a system are. The structural approach of oppression refers to having intention to benefit from the one being oppressed that experiences harm and restriction. For example, rich white folk enslaved the poor black folk up until 1865, using and abusing them just to make more money on their land. Treating other human beings like animals is a major form of oppression. The categorical approach to Frye’s modes of oppression is pretty self explanatory, placing people into groups like gender, race, and social class. This is a mode of oppression because in order to be oppressed, it has to be a part of a group, similar to the bird cage example. Frye also brings up another important point about double-binds. This is when you are restricted to two options that are bad, so you are oppressed either way. An example Frye gave was women in the workforce versus stay at home moms. Working moms are looked at as uncaring towards their family for not spending more time with them, and stay at home moms are looked at as unmotivated for having the man be the only one doing all the money-making. Another idea Frye states is that men aren’t oppressed as men but women are oppressed as women. Men are
Open Document