The ‘Inferior Sex Status’ Inheritance

Inequality of whatever variant will always remain a greater threat to and a negation of the values of justice in society. As identified by Aristotle, inequality is the chief cause of revolution and inequality being a form of injustice is a potent ground for challenging the state that proclaims its fundamental basis as justice and equality. However, as expected, individual perception and perspectives on the concept and issues around inequality differ. There exist varying contextual explanations to why inequality exists in the first place and reasons for its continued survival.

The religious contextual explanation of inequality opines that human relationships got tainted and distorted at the fall of man. The woman was not created to be oppressed and suppressed. Rather, had the woman not fallen nor a curse placed upon her, it is unarguable what would be the likely status of the female gender today. A major factor respecting the plight of women today is the curse placed upon her. As a result of being under the curse, the woman lost her ability to function in her installed 100% capacity. As a result of what Eve did, she and, by implication, entire womanhood lost the glory.  Going down the biblical memory lane, at the fall, God placed a curse on women, the curse of slavery to her husband and all men in general. From the biblical narrative, the equality of the sexes was guaranteed until the fall. Male domination is a resulting consequence from the fall which has today extended from Eve to all women.

Impact of the Fall (Consequences)        On Women                On Men
Physical      Increased pain in childbirth arising from an acceleration of the menstrual cycle (Physical exertion, mental strain and), struggle to accomplish any achievement arising from the curse on the earth
Psychological The urge of the woman now directed towards the man hence the urge and desire to please the man Urge and desire to dominate
Social Women’s roles are distorted, opportunities now limited Male dominance institutionalized, women subjugated
Spiritual Women lose sight of whom they have been created to be; men hold women down in distorted dominion and defraud the society of the gifts individual women might bring to enrich all Men’s focus now on personal achievement with the urge to dominate

Source: Sue and Larry Richards, 1999


We Are All Products of Our Society

It is said that society is an important and major determining factor of processes and systems that are in place. It could, therefore, be deduced that the society determines the structure or form of the family system put in place. Since the family is saddled with the responsibility to socialize and teach the children it has produced and how to live within the family, here-in begins the terms of ascribed status given to the sexes (male and female).

Considering most family structure is majorly based on sex differentiation (O’Dornell, 1974), could it be said that the society naturally sorts itself into inherited status, class or position?  Should that be the case, is inequality therefore inherited? How? The first picture and natural inclination that comes to mind when the terms female, woman and wife are mentioned is: she is born, grows up not necessarily being educated but getting married, building and growing the home is a must. She is automatically and by gender ascribed the role of a caregiver – not, that, women are against being ‘loving and exceptional caregivers’. Rather, considering the unique and special endowment on women; women just seek to be given equal conditions for realising their full human potentials, rights, enjoying same resources, opportunities to contribute to, and benefit from economic, social, cultural and political development.

 So, How Is This Inheritance Played Out?

The woman gets pregnant and a child is born into the family whose structure or form is prescribed by society thereby continuing the unscientific division of labour. The boy or girl children first get an insight and understanding into the roles and expectations of how to live within the society. In the family they are first engaged in roles or activities that are termed appropriate for male or female. Watching the interactions within the family towards the male and female, children learn the ‘supposed’ approved differentiation and inferiority of sexes within the society.

A Solution in ‘Voluntary Family Sterilisation

About ‘inherited inequality’, since the family is the foundation and an important group within the society for socializing the boy and girl children into societal expectations, then we could stop the re-enactment of inequality.

Shockey (1973) has claimed that intelligence is 80% heredity and 20% society. He suggested a situation where people of low intelligence would be barred from producing. As reproduction is necessary for the continuity of our society, the actual thought being brought out is this: Families should now make a conscious effort to sterilise themselves of sexist beliefs and imbibe a culture of child or children socialization using approaches that do not replicate or promote the inequality or inferior status bogey (the almost birth right of the female gender) that has been ascribed to the female from time immemorial.

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