When Women Wailed

Can someone point me to the time in human history where women were systematically treated without justice, and where the treatment of men was not also systematically unjust? Everybody just knows that time existed, but I have yet to see any evidence.

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38 thoughts on “When Women Wailed

  1. If I may guess at both:
    Ladies had systemic prostitution as an accepted (maybe THE accepted) line of work outside the home, and
    Gents had no firm confidence available in the rule of law outweighing false accusations or private feuds.

  2. @ J.J.

    That prostitution was “an accepted line of work” is an injustice to women?

    Seems you may have spilled some empathy on the line (and blurred it) that separates women’s bad choices from injustices done to women. For instance if you were to state that women ONLY could choose to be a prostitute, not SAHMs, not any other line of work, not single spinsters, etc., IOW they were compelled to be hookers, yea, I guess its an injustice.

    I suggest you read awhile around these parts and re calibrate before commenting

  3. @J.J.

    Ladies had systemic prostitution as an accepted (maybe THE accepted) line of work outside the home

    That’s simply just not true.

    Gents had no firm confidence available in the rule of law outweighing false accusations or private feuds.

    That’s a problem with humans since there have been humans, and it affects both sexes.

  4. Many would say that systematic injustice against women, relative to the rights of men, has been the rule, referencing political participation, private ownership, travel, employment, etc., but I don’t think that’s what you mean by without justice. So, I think a more thorough definition of justice is necessary to answer the question.

  5. @Ryder

    I’m willing to entertain various interpretations of justice; not all, but various. I really want to know to what behavior we refer when we talk about how women were treated in the bad old days.

  6. In the extremely brief research I conducted before writing my reply, I came across these two sources:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_women%27s_legal_rights_(other_than_voting)

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/sep/09/women-business-and-the-law-2016-getting-to-equal-world-bank-report

    I expect the restrictions of rights listed in those sources are the injustices people refer to. In my experience, the wailing comes from the behaviors they believe were common in the absence of those rights. E.g., Because women were denied the right to own property and were, therefore, unable to escape, their husbands were abusive and ruled them tyrannically.

    When pressed on whether things were really so bad, the smart ones will trot out a couple of especially egregious examples, carefully selected from among the millions of human stories from the period. Since no large scale study of this issue has been conducted (that I know of), the only response is to say that studies show women are unhappier now than they’ve ever been, but that’s a slippery thing to rest a case on.

  7. @Ryder

    I expect the restrictions of rights listed in those sources are the injustices people refer to. In my experience, the wailing comes from the behaviors they believe were common in the absence of those rights. E.g., Because women were denied the right to own property and were, therefore, unable to escape, their husbands were abusive and ruled them tyrannically.

    What is telling is that despite reworking our entire system to put women firmly in charge, this fear has only grown. We have even enshrined in law the right of women to abuse men, and we still lay awake at knight worrying that men will abuse women.

    Related to this is the Atlantic article explaining that Millennials are less likely to have joint bank accounts due to fear that the man will abuse the woman: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/04/young-couples-separate-bank-accounts/558473/

  8. and we still lay awake at knight worrying that men will abuse women.

    The typo of hidden meaning.

  9. Lilith considers being a helpmeet to her husband as the greatest systemic injustice laid upon Woman.
    Eve has become Lilith. Would you join yourself and your property to Lilith?

  10. @Ryder

    I expect the restrictions of rights listed in those sources are the injustices people refer to. In my experience, the wailing comes from the behaviors they believe were common in the absence of those rights. E.g., Because women were denied the right to own property and were, therefore, unable to escape, their husbands were abusive and ruled them tyrannically.

    When pressed on whether things were really so bad, the smart ones will trot out a couple of especially egregious examples, carefully selected from among the millions of human stories from the period.

    That’s a pretty good summary of what I have found…rather, what I haven’t found. I haven’t been able to find an epoch where women, but not men, were widely abused. Men had certain rights that women did not, but I can’t find when or where it was common for men to, say, beat their wives.

    For example: Countless times I’ve heard conservatives say modern Salafi Islam (which produced Al Qeada, ISIS, Taliban, etc.) is a throwback to the Dark Ages. Actually, I don’t find evidence that the barbarity of the Dark Ages was as cruel as modern Salafi Islam. The latter is a reactionary caricature of earlier times.

  11. @ Dalrock

    If I were a betting man, I would have lost that one. I thought you were toying with us…

  12. “Lilith considers being a helpmeet to her husband as the greatest systemic injustice laid upon Woman.
    Eve has become Lilith. Would you join yourself and your property to Lilith?”

    An actual succubus in human form? Can she have a tail and wings too? At least I’d have a hot sex life which is far more than what you would get married to a good christian women aka a frigid fish. Plus side is she wouldnt be fat either. Her main threat is she’d suck you dry which most men would not consider a threat at all.

  13. @ Cane

    According to the Hadiths, Mohammed beat his wives, and instructed his followers to do the same. That’s why beating ones wife is common among Muslims. In fact, I saw it happen openly in public in Iraq, and no one batted an eyelash. It was socially acceptable behavior. And these weren’t Salafists, but ordinary Shia Muslims.

    Afghan men speak openly about hitting a disobedient or displeasing wife, but I never saw it. That might be because you don’t see women much in Afghanistan.

    I’ve never seen that kind of behavior anywhere else. And there are plenty of injustices towards men in Islam, and even more so towards young boys, so your point stands.

  14. Systematic injustice has always existed wherever any systematic rule or authority has been exercised. That being said, injustice cannot be inherent to authority but is rather the symptom of improperly exercised authority. Acknowledging that the world is fallen, one could say that injustice is inherent to rule in a fallen world but only in as much as justice is.

    No freedom from systematic authority has ever existed or will exist, either for men or for women. Adam, the first patriarch, was under God, and his wife and children under him and so on. Since we know that sin has always been present throughout the history of man, and that injustice is caused by sin, there has never been a time where men and women have not been subject to injustice.

    Interestingly, one might say that Adam and maybe Noah were not subject to injustice, at least for a time, or at least systematic injustice, while their wives, being under them, were subject to injustice. One might also be tempted to include the first few successive heads. The sole ruler over them was the just rule of God. God being the only being mightier. Yet even here we find that they are not alone. Adam’s generation was surrounded by the Nephilim and other creatures, potentially superior to them. Not to mention the dinosaurs and other freaky deaky things we keep digging up. As a result, it might be argued that nature itself holds some “systemic” authority over man. There is also the serpent himself, who rules, or at least holds sway, over the earth. Finally, there is sin itself, which has the potential to corrupt God’s headship over man as seen with God’s favoritism to Abel. Man, in a sense, when left to truly rule himself must be his own oppressor. This is the cure to the myth of the “natural man.”

    As to the lack of the “systematic” in systematic oppression in both Noah’s and Adam’s cases, if we mean that “systemic” means “large in scale” then the two patriarchs had no capability to be systematically oppressed, for they are singular despite what some “critics” might say, and yet their own scope of influence was as equally limited.

    As to which sex gets it worse, that comes down to “he said she said.” (See Genesis 3 and 4)

  15. I seem to recall that in some societies, men were allowed to initiate divorce but women weren’t.

  16. Trick question! Women have always desired to rule their husbands and will always be discontent until they do, even then, that might not be enough. And discontent is equal to injustice to most women.
    That was joking, but I do wonder about your wording though. Your readers include Christians and it’s difficult, for me at least, to distinguish between sin and the word injustice, and why I should even care about injustice. Of course, I desire justice in general, but I repent of sin, and apologize for causing injustice and making restoration if possible. So sin seems deeper than justice to me. Mercy triumphs over justice, so justice is crucial but I see it as a symptom of sin, so lesser.
    Even if there is a good and agreed answer to your question, it won’t help quell the rebellion because the female rebellion isn’t intended to fix or make things better. Still a good question though and i am learning and enjoying the comments.

  17. Here is another indirect reply, but better than my previous one I think. Marilyn Frye, pages 15-16, of her 1983 book, “The politics of Reality,” writes, “Women are oppressed as women. Members of certain racial and/or economic groups and classes, both the males and females, are oppressed as members of those races and/or classes. But men are not oppressed as men…..and isn’t it strange that any of us should have been confused and mystified by such a simple thing.”
    You asked your reader’s opinion, and instead I am putting an answer in Frye’s mouth, but I hope you find it a useful answer from a leading feminist philosopher.

  18. @Swanny

    Marilyn makes the statement that women are or were oppressed (let’s assume unjustly) but she doesn’t show it. It’s precisely her claim that I question. To say that “women were oppressed as women” isn’t a proof of oppression.

  19. No doubt it is morphed into an a priori premise. My guess is that they would either reply it is self-evident, or refer to Friedan’s Feminine Mystique and say that being relegated to housework and having one’s identity as wife and mother is evidence of injustice. It is “the problem with no name.”
    She and they acknowledge men can suffer injustice, but I don’t know what they would say to men not being the recipient. Since so many are Marxists, they may reply there is no such time, because men suffer under capitalism and a lack of a worldwide Marxism and women suffer additively because of that and patriarchy.
    “Women suffering as women” shows me they don’t care what is happening to men, at least analytically.

  20. You may be striking into an assertion similar to who can be a racist. Some say (not me), that only whites are. Likewise, men suffer injustice, but not as a man, but only as a member of an economic class or a race. Therefore, a modern well off White man is not suffering injustice, nor has, for most of American history, but women always have, similar to Michelle complaining she still suffers as a black woman because she thought someone thought she was a store employee.

  21. So my PC monkey response to you is” Shut up, you can’t ask that question, besides, asking it shows you are in a position of power and are blind to your privilege. ”
    Did I do that correctly?

  22. Now that’s how you isolate a problem set. Well done.

    Proof of oppression, is saying that women claiming to be oppressed is not proof they are oppressed.

    You men are ready to write for Slate, or maybe The Atlantic.

  23. I read yesterday that women used to (pre 1970’s) have to suffer the indignity and oppression of shopping the boys section of Brooks Brothers to find men’s clothing that fit them, while men at the very same time were privileged and not only found clothes that fit them in the men’s section, but had the section named after them!

    I don’t know whether your question is meant merely rhetorically (i.e., you have it already answered for yourself) or whether you are asking in earnest for someone to challenge what you suspect to be true, while also reserving the possibility that there may be something to the claims that everyone “just knows”, but no one really bothers demonstrating with proof.

    Whatever the case, I’m in the second category – I’m pretty sure it’s nonsense that women large-scale are or ever have been oppressed as women, anytime, anyplace. At the same time I honestly do struggle with what I hear from Iran, Afghanistan, etc. about the treatment of women in those places. And then of course, if you grant that this kind of thing may be happening on one place, it follows that it’s a problem inherent in any human society, needing proactive safeguards to keep it under control, which is what we call feminism.

    It’s basically a mental reservation however. For one thing I know the way the news works – half-stories, selective reporting, anecdotes tailored for making the emotions project to a large scale unreasonably. And then, even if we grant the news is being reported honestly, it’s always filtered through the current American idea of what justice is (e.g., are you allowed to drive a car? did you have the freedom to buy an iphone X soon after it was released? do you have the freedom to fornicate without fear of being stoned?) The struggle I have is knowing so little about these societies to counter the claims, even if only in my own thinking. Particularly there is the conservative accusation that “radical feminists” are being hypocritical by ignoring what happens to women in those societies. Even while recognizing the question-begging embedded in the accusation (i.e., we grant that feminism is needed (after all we’re reasonable human beings), just not here), it still nags at me that I’m short on knowledge to demonstrate how they are wrong.

  24. The only systematic injustice that I am aware of that they are subject to at least as babies is that they are disproportionately killed at birth.

    In Greco-Roman societies and elsewhere.

  25. Which is highly incentivized by dowry paid by the brides father to the husband. Rather than the bride price practice of the Hebrews and others like them.

  26. Cane:

    And you take that as an injustice, correct?

    I don’t.

    Also, the easy response to your question is that ‘females were treated unjustly more than man were treated unjustly, so that’s unjust’, as info shows.

  27. Anywhere they were ever treated differently than men, that’s oppression. And also anywhere they are treated the same as men, that’s oppression, too.

  28. Women are being used as pawns in order to keep the cost of running a business high and to therefore prevent possible competitors from even getting going to begin with (since now businesses will need to have lots of P.R. to advertise themselves as women-friendly in case there’s a Politically Incorrect slip-up the business can then point to this effort to show that its heart’s in the “right” place despite the slip-up, and since now businesses will need lots of H.R. to find ways to pander to women, again in case of a Politically Incorrect slip-up the business can point to this more inward effort as a reason why a court shouldn’t award an aggrieved woman too much money, a threat of bankrupting). And that’s why businesses are daring each other to spend more and more effort for women oriented initiatives, the same goes for other below-average in performance yet symbolic groups; if any business does not have the “pro-women” efforts incorporated into its business model then it will become a target for those businesses which have decided to mitigate risk through such efforts.

    This is why I argue for a formal and established religion: because, otherwise, these subtle but important competitions by what amounts to cult activity will destroy the civilisation through corruption.

    A.J.P.

  29. Per prior corrections to my remarks above:
    1) I DID say I was “making a guess” (that is, that I was not to be considered authoritative on the topic by anyone, please!)
    2) My remarks were exclusively ref. the American West in the later 19th c., i.e. the “Wild west,” and while I didn’t count “SAHM” as a “profession” (not something one can be a “Professional” at for pay), I completely forgot such well-documented and honorable jobs as ranchers, schoolteachers, storekeepers, nurses, nuns, saloonkeepers…
    3) I REALLY need to read up on the history of the West a bit more.

  30. ‘Would you join yourself and your property to Lilith?’

    Lilith was a myth.

    That being said…no.

  31. @info

    The only systematic injustice that I am aware of that they are subject to at least as babies is that they are disproportionately killed at birth.

    In Greco-Roman societies and elsewhere.

    That one…is actually pretty good. See, that’s why I ask these questions when the answer seems somehow too obvious to me.

    @J.J.

    It’s all good. We’ve all been fed on lies.

    @Earl

    You’ll have to be more specific.

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