Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

There Is No Hierarchy of Oppression

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I really enjoyed reading this article by Audre Lorde, she is very bold and clear on her views of oppression and she has caused me to address my own ideas and opinions on this matter. I agree with Lorde when she states “sexism and heterosexism both arise from the same source as racism.” I also believe this; that all forms of oppression begin with the notion of a certain group believing they are superior to or dominant over another group. In this case we are talking about oppression of the black race, the female gender and homosexuality. But it doesn’t matter what group it is that is being oppressed, it is the source of this oppression which is the same and therefore this makes any form of oppression as bad as the other. In other words….there is no hierarchy of oppression. She concludes this idea well at the end of the article when she states “I cannot afford to choose between the fronts upon which I must battle.” Here, she is reiterating the fact that one form of oppression is the same as any other and therefore if she is to fight against racism, she must too show her disdain for all other forms of discrimination too such as sexism and heterosexism.

A good point she makes about the various oppressed groups is how society condones them to “act against each other.” She emphasizes that this division will only prevent effective political action for every group suffering from any type of discrimination. Again I agree with her, it is essential that oppressed groups such as gay men, lesbian women, ethnic minorities and females stick together and support each others’ causes. Strength in numbers is key and it is not just supporting the fight against  specific forms of discrimination for each of these groups, but against the notion of oppression as a whole. Just reading this very short article has enhanced my awareness of many areas in my everyday life where society inflicts norms upon me and others around me. I believe it is important that these restrictions and oppressive boundaries are addressed and never allowed to hold people back and stop them from being exactly who they are.


Author: goffeh

I am from Birmingham, England. I am a junior here at ETSU currently studying for a Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Science. I also play for the ETSU women's soccer team.

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