Although Gilman claimed to be a humanist, she practically worked extensively to give modern feminism ample sociological grounds (Ritzer 2011; Allen 2009). Research Question Compare and contrast Gilman’s theory as to the oppression of women in patriarchy with Marx’s theory as to how and why workers are oppressed under capitalism. What similarities do you see in their arguments? What are the differences in these two theories of oppression? Gilman’s Theory and Women in Patriarchy Gilman’s most effective and powerful scholarly work in the realm of gender and sexuality studies are perhaps her famous book Women and Economics: A Study of the Economic Relation between Men and Women as a Factor in Social Evolution (Gilman 1898). In this work, she has critically utilized Darwinism in a more socially constructive way and attempted to explain the intricacies of relationships between man and woman. She raised a question about not only the origins of humankind but also about the origins of gender roles, so as to find out that why domestic duties have been specified for women in general in all cultures and societies. She formulated an economic explanation of domestic economy. According to Gilman (1898), traditionally a woman was subjugated to use her sex organs as assets; on which she could further bank to impress her husband and get money to support herself and her children. So marriage is actually an arrangement of both sexual and economic subjugation of women in the male-dominated society. Relatively recently, scholars like MacKinnon (1982) also appear to be endorsing a similar perspective by claiming that women’s sexuality is not women’s own. Marx’s Theory and Workers in Capitalism According to Marx, the industrial capitalist society is clearly divided into two classes, where one class controls the means of production and the other class serves as workers. Oppression arises from the fact that the state becomes a managing committee of the holders of the means of production. And in answering the question that why the workers are finally at the losing side, Marx holds that lack of political organization coupled with a powerful capitalist police state is responsible for the fact that the workers are finally at the receiving end of the system. (Brown 2012; MacKinnon 1982) Consequently, the working class is subjugated both politically and economically. The working class has to work hard and produce all the goods and products necessary for modern society. But they are so occupied with their economic plight that they are compelled to tolerate underpayment and injustice. In this way, they are alienated from their products and the surplus is accumulated by the rich landlords and factory owners.
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