Inferiority has many Forms

In the book, Imperial Leather by Anne McClintock she begins the argument that women are seen as inferior.  This can be demonstrated when cartographers would map out new lands and the maps would vaguely look like a women body.  This was also noticed when lands would receive names such as the virgin islands; these would be unmapped lands.  They were seen as virgin territories that needed to be “penetrated” by explorers and learned about (pg 24).  The art of discovering or penetrating was something only a man could do because he possessed a penis.  This gave him superiority.  This idea can be seen in Kathryn Morgan’s book The Gender Question in Education: Theory; Pedagogy & Politics.  She created a wheel to look at what traits were viewed as superior with privileges.

If you look above the domination line, it shows the traits that must be possessed in order for a group to be seen as dominant or the normative in a culture.  Being male is seen as a dominant sort.  This encourages the fact that women are looked down on and allows men to continue oppressing women because they have a vagina which according to Freud is seen as “the normal prototype of inferior organs” (McClintock 42).

Another category on the wheel is social class.  McClintock discusses how “sexual reproduction served as the paradigm of social order and disorder” (42).  This goes along with males thinking they are the dominant gender.  The penis gives them the normative and the that leads to a higher social class.

Looking back to another area that might give men the thinking that they are dominant is Adam and Eve.  In a book written by the psychologist Janet Hyde, there is an Adam and Eve story where Adam is created first and then Eve is created second from his rib (pg 23).  This shows that women are second to men and come from men but are not as “adequate” as men because they do not possess everything a man has, especially a penis.

Even many years after the discovery of the Americas and many feminists movements, women are still seen as inferior to men.

– Stephanie Banas


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