Women’s place in society
Is male dominance universal? Have men exercised disproportionate power over women in all known societies to date? Many feminists say that they have. Their grounds are partly intuitive; they have discovered their own oppression by looking inwards, and particularly by reflecting together on their personal experience in ‘consciousness-raising’ sessions. This has enabled them to detect male dominance in other contexts. They have also arrived at this position through deductive reasoning. For instance, Firestone’s identification of the causes of patriarchy in relations of reproduction implies that patriarchy will prevail until there are radical changes in reproductive ‘technology’ (Firestone, 1970). Some of feminism’s opponents have similarly argued that male dominance is universal. Indeed, Goldberg maintains cheerfully that patriarchy is not only universal, but inevitable (Goldberg, 1979).
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