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NOTICE CONCERNING COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS The copyright law of the United States [Title 17, United States Code] governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the reproduction is not to be used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research. If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use” that use may be liable for copyright infringement. The institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law. No further reproduction and distribution of this copy is permitted by transmission or any other means.
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1&$ yn . . - READING Oppression .)-~ Mar i I yn Frye It is a fundamental claim of feminism that women are oppressed. The word "oppression" is a strong word. It repels and attracts. It is dangerous and dangerously fashionable and endangered. It is much misused, and sometimes not innocently. The statement that women are oppressed is fre- quently met with the claim that men are oppressed too. We hear that oppressing is oppressive to those who oppress as well as to those they oppress. Some men cite as evidence of their oppression their much- advertised inability to cry. It is tough, we are told, to be masculine. When the stresses and frustrations of being a man are cited as evidence that oppressors are oppressed by their oppressing, the word "oppres- sion" is being stretched to meaninglessness; it is treated as though its scope includes any and all human experience of limitation or suffering, no mat- ter the cause, degree, or consequence. Once such usage has been put over on us, then if ever we deny that any person or group is oppressed, we seem to imply that we think they never suffer and have no feelings. We are accused of insensitivity; even of big- otry. For women, such accusation is particularly in- timidating, since sensitivity is one of the few virtues that have been assigned to us. If we are found insensi- tive, we may fear we have no redeeming traits at all and perhaps are not real women. Thus are we si- lenced before we begin: the name of our situation drained of meaning and our guilt mechanisms tripped. But this is nonsense. Human beings can be miser- able without being oppressed, and it is perfectly con- sistent to deny that a person or group is oppressed without denying that they have feelings or that they suffer .... The root of the word "oppression" is the element "press." The press of the crowd; pressed into military ser- vice; to press a pair of pants; printing press; press the but- ton. Presses are used to mold things or flatten them or 6 reduce them in bulk, sometimes to reduce them by squeezing out the gases or liquids in them. Something pressed is something caught between or among forces
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