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Are Western Women Still Oppressed Victims?

Updated on September 9, 2009

I've recently entered into an interesting, though charged debate over the reasons why I write about men who wear women's clothing. I've given my reasons many times, (having had boyfriends who wore lingerie, having experienced the sting of being singled out for 'wearing the wrong thing', etc) and as an intro to a much deeper point about equality and whatnot, I briefly covered them again.

Innocently I wandered into an avalanche of doubt from at least one listener, who didn't believe why I like to write about men who wear women's clothing.

The disbelief came down to this point:

“Didn't you have enough trouble growing up yourself? And once grown, your own life? Fighting for equality in the workplace? Why would you want to take on a cause for men 's liberation, if I may call it thus? Obviously, it is generally men who are the oppressors and aggressors against women.”

I realized then that because I'm a woman I'm also assumed by some people to be a poor little oppressed victim in my own life. This is an incredibly foreign concept to me. I've never felt like a victim. I've never felt as if I am fighting against some great oppression. I have never felt unequal. Perhaps this is a result of the fact that I have lived the bulk of my life in New Zealand, where women were first given the vote and where equality seems to be much more deep and widespread than other areas of the world.

Having traveled a bit, I have been in countries and regions, (Italy, for instance,) where it was quite obvious that being female was an issue, and a negative one at that. But I didn't feel like a victim there either. I didn't consider myself oppressed. I considered sexist men jerks and I dismissed them from my mind and my life.

Not being a victim or an oppressed woman is quite easy when you live in the Western world. Now, if I had been born in Iran after the revolution, or Afghanistan under the Taliban, then my experience would no doubt be very different and I would very much be a victim of oppression with very little control over my own destiny.

But, as things stand, I have the right to chose my own partner, to gain education, to pursue a career and to excel in that career. Western women are no longer oppressed victims if they don't want to be.

He then continued: “Again, you have not convinced me why you have embraced this as YOUR CAUSE.”

This is much easier to answer. Being a liberated woman, I don't have to convince anyone about why I write about these issues. I have taken the time to write about my reasons in order to satisfy natural curiosity, but I am certainly not bound to defend my position. Indeed, it would be intensely hypocritical to do so, because I can't very well say “Well, you men should go out there and wear what you want to wear and enjoy it and not worry about justifying yourself to the world,” and then spend hours of my life justifying my encouragement of men doing so.

TL, DR: Long story short, I do it because I like it.


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    • Waren E profile image

      Waren E 8 years ago from HAS LEFT THE BUILDING............

      Only women without knowledge and the means to adapt, are at risk of being oppressed and the same thing goes for men!Lets all face it,it's a dog eat dog world!

    • profile image

      Dani 8 years ago


      I will simply say that your articles have helped me in explaining things to potential partners. The woman I am dating now has read many of them and they have helped me to not have to justify the fact that I like to wear lingerie. It is what is and she does not judge me for it. So Hope, I'm smiling all the time now! Keep on rocking girl:)

    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 8 years ago

      Yes, domestic violence is abhorrent, fortunately I don't think it can be classified as something that every woman will automatically experience. As for work place bullying, that's simply inexcusable, and entirely illegal.

      At the very least, we have concrete legal protections and social condemnation of these practices.

      Unlike, say, in some countries where you can drown a woman in the family pool for having ridden unaccompanied in an elevator with a man and get away with a slap on the wrist at most.

    • profile image

      Gunnau 8 years ago from Central Coast NSW Australia

      Hi Hope.

      As usual, a point well made. Having to justify yourself means not being confident in your own decisions.

      I have seen some opression from men towards women in western society through bullying in the work place and domestic violence but on the whole, Western women are stonger than men in they're confidence with a take no prisoner approach. Some of course need to justify they're choices in men but that's another story.

      If Western Men had the conviction displayed by women, we would not have to hide our love of lingerie nor the closet desire to wear a dress and heels.

      Your truely an inspiring women. Is it any wonder we love your HUBS.

    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 8 years ago

      Thanks Frieda and Manny. I was always pretty sure that I didn't have to defend or justify myself. Imagine if everyone had to explain why they do what they do on a daily basis to the satisfaction of any person who happened to wander past, we'd never get anything done! :D

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Excellent read. And I agree, you certainly don't have to justify yourself.

    • profile image

      Manny aka indrag13 8 years ago

      Hope, I love what you said, you don't need to explain shit to anyone, esp some asshole guy. I am very happy that you do what you do. It is because of you that you give men like me the courage to be ok with myself and my love for lingerie. I think you rock and if we lived in the same city I would love to go out with you. Thank you for who you are and for what you write.