Why Women are Oppressed

Anne G. Jónasdóttir, foreword by Kathleen B. Jones
Book Cover

PB: $36.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-111-5
Publication: Jan 94

HC: $78.50
EAN: 978-1-56639-110-8
Publication: Jan 94

Ebook: $36.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0879-2
Publication: Jan 94

312 pages
6 x 9
3 tables

A feminist of international standing strives toward a theory about the web of relations between the sexes

Read Chapter 1 (pdf).


Why Women are Oppressed offers a much-needed radical feminist perspective on the "political conditions of sexual love." Recognizing that "sexual life always exists in definite socioeconomic contexts," Anna G. Jónasdóttir develops a theory that elucidates the question: Why does men's social and political power persist even in Western societies where women have socioeconomic equality?

Throughout, Jónasdóttir gives empirical relevance to her theorizing. She cites situations in various spheres of society where men and women compete and where men come out as "winners" for no obvious reason other than their malehood. Her account of women as loving caretakers "for" men, rather than desiring, interested subjects in reciprocally erotic relations stirs debate about women's needs and interests.


"...thorough attempt to revitalize one of the most provocative early themes of America's women's liberation movement." New York Times Book Review

Table of Contents

Foreword – Kathleen B. Jones

1. Introduction: Patriarchy as a Problem in Political Theory

2. Sex/Gender, Power, and Politics: Patriarchy in the Formally Equal Society
Feminist Questions • Socialist Feminist Theory • The Sexual Struggle Today

3. Common Oppression and Specific Experiences: Abstraction and Concretization in Feminist Theory
Basic Theory • Partial Theories and Middle-Range Models • Sex, Class, and Race • Specifying "The Common"

4. Patriarchy, Marxism, and the Dual Systems Theory
The Dual Systems Theory • Marxist Method and Feminist Questions • Hartmann's Concept of Patriarchy • Conclusion

5. Beyond "Oppression": The Exploitation of Women
"Exploitation": Used and Dismissed in Feminist Theory • "Exploitation" and the Norm of Reciprocity • Older Usage of the Term • The Marxian Concept • Farr Tormey's Conceptual Analysis • Using the Marxist Method to Serve Feminist Theory • Sexual "Exploitation Proper": A Preliminary Typology

6. Her for Him—Him for the State: The Significance of Sex and Marriage in Hobbes's and Locke's Political Theories
Thomas Hobbes • John Locke

7. The Concept of Interest, Women's Interests, and the Limitations of Interest Theory
Women's Studies and Views on Interests • Points of Conflict • History of the Concept of "Interest" • The Present Is Also History • Another Theory of Interest

8. Does Sex Matter to Democracy?
Women's Citizenship as Constrained by Individuality • The Relevance of "Difference" and "Individuality" • Sexual Equality and Women-Worthy Society

9. Taking Sex Seriously
The Impasse of Socialist Feminist Theory: A Radical Critique • Critical Theses • Toward a Reoriented Feminist Materialist Analysis • Constructive Theses • If Sex Were Taken Seriously • Toward a "Womanish"-Feminist Continuum


About the Author(s)

Anna G. Jónasdóttir is Research Fellow in Gender Studies and Political Science at the Swedish Council for Research in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, University of Örebro, Sweden.