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   History and Literature
• ―Three Waves‖ of Feminism
   – 19th through early 20th centuries
   – 1960s-1980s
   – 1990’s-Present
• First Wave:
   – First-wave feminism refers to a period of feminist activity during
     the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. It focused
     primarily on gaining the right of women's suffrage. The term,
     "first-wave," was coined retrospectively after the term second-
     wave feminism began to be used to describe a newer feminist
     movement that focused as much on fighting social and cultural
     inequalities as further political inequalities.
• The Seneca Falls Convention, July 19–20, 1848
   – Held in Seneca Falls, New York over two days.
   – The convention was seen by some of its contemporaries, including
     organizer and featured speaker Lucretia Mott, as but a single step in the
     continuing effort by women to gain for themselves a greater proportion of
     social, civil and moral rights, but it was viewed by others as a
     revolutionary beginning to the struggle by women for complete equality
     with men.
   – Afterward, Elizabeth Cady Stanton presented the resulting Declaration of
     Sentiments as a foundational document in the American woman's
     suffrage movement, and she promoted the event as being the first time
     that women and men gathered together to demand for women the right
     to vote. Stanton's authoring of the History of Woman Suffrage helped to
     establish the Seneca Falls Convention as the moment when the push for
     women's suffrage first gained national prominence. By 1851, at the
     second National Women's Rights Convention in Worcester,
     Massachusetts, the issue of women's right to vote had become a central
     tenet of the women's rights movement
• Frances Willard and the Woman’s Christian
  Temperance Union
  – Although still unable to vote in the late nineteenth century, women were
    far from apolitical; the WCTU demonstrated the breadth of women's
    political activity in the late nineteenth century.
  – Frances Willard radically changed the direction of the WCTU, moving it
    away from religiously oriented programs to a campaign that stressed
    alcoholism as a disease rather than a sin and poverty as a cause rather
    than a result of drink.
  – In a shrewd political tactic, Willard capitalized on the cult of domesticity
    to move women into public life and gain power to ameliorate social
  – Using the concept of ―home protection,‖ Willard worked to create a broad
    reform coalition in the 1890s, embracing the Knights of Labor, the
    People's Party, and the Prohibition Party.
  – The WCTU, which had over 200,000 members in the 1890s, gave
    women valuable experience in political action.
• Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and the
  Movement for Woman Suffrage
   – Unlike the WCTU, the organized movement for woman suffrage
     remained small and relatively weak in the late nineteenth century.
   – Stanton and Anthony launched the National Woman Suffrage
     Association (NWSA) in 1869, demanding the vote for women.
   – A more conservative group, the American Woman Suffrage Association
     (AWSA), formed the same year, believed that women should vote in
     local but not national elections.
   – By 1890, the split had healed, and the newly united National American
     Woman Suffrage Association launched campaigns at the state level to
     gain the vote for women.
   – Although it would take another two decades for all women to gain the
     vote with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, the
     unification of the two woman suffrage groups in 1890 signaled a new era
     in women's fight for the vote.
– Progressives tackled the problems of the city with many
  approaches, among them: the settlement house movement, the
  social gospel, and the social purity movement.
– The settlement house movement, begun in England, came to the
  United States in 1886 with the opening of the University
  Settlement House in New York City .
– Women, particularly college-educated women such as Jane
  Addams and Lillian Wald, formed the backbone of the settlement
  house movement and stood in the forefront of the progressive
  movement; the number of settlement houses grew from six in
  1891 to more than four hundred by 1911.
– Some churches confronted the urban social problems by
  enunciating a new social gospel, one that saw its mission as to
  reform not only the individual, but also society.
– Margaret Sanger promoted a progressive new cause, birth
  control, as a movement for social change.
– Sanger and her followers saw birth control not only as a sexual
  and medical reform, but also as a means to alter social and
  political power relationships and to alleviate human misery.
– Birth control became linked with freedom of speech when
  Margaret Sanger's feminist journal, The Woman Rebel, was
  confiscated by the post office for violating social purity laws, and
  Sanger faced arrest, forcing her to flee to Europe.
– When charges were dropped under public pressure, Sanger
  returned to the United States and turned to direct action, opening
  the nation's first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York.
– Although the birth control movement would become less radical
  after World War I, in its infancy, it was part of a radical vision for
  reforming the world that made common cause with the socialists
  and the IWW in challenging the limits of progressive reform.
– The day before President Woodrow Wilson's inauguration in
  March 1913, more than five thousand demonstrators marched in
  Washington to demand the vote for women.
– The march served as a reminder that the political gains of
  progressivism were not spread equally in the population.
– Alice Paul launched an effort to lobby for a federal amendment to
  give women the vote and in 1916, Paul founded the militant
  National Woman's Party (NWP), which became the radical voice
  of the suffrage movement.
– Carrie Chapman Catt became the head of the National American
  Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in 1915 and directed an
  effort that worked on several levels.
– Catt's ―winning plan‖ succeeded, taking only four years to get the
  constitutional amendment for woman suffrage ratified.
– Women made real strides during the Progressive Era, but World War I
  presented them with new opportunities; more than 25,000 women served
  in France as nurses, ambulance drivers, canteen managers, and war
– At home, long-standing barriers against hiring women fell when millions
  of working men became soldiers and few new immigrant workers made it
  across the Atlantic.
– The most dramatic advance for women came in the political arena; the
  radical wing of the suffragists, led by Alice Paul, picketed the White
  House, while the more mainstream NAWSA, under the leadership of
  Carrie Chapman Catt, saw membership soar to some 2 million members.
– In 1918, Wilson gave his support to suffrage, calling the amendment
  ―vital to the winning of the war‖ and by August 1920, the states had
  ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, granting woman suffrage.
• Second Wave Feminism:
  – The "second-wave" of the Women's Movement
    began during the early 1960s and lasted throughout
    the late 1970s. Whereas first-wave feminism focused
    mainly on overturning legal (de jure) obstacles to
    equality (i.e. voting rights, property rights), second-
    wave feminism addressed a wide range of issues,
    including unofficial (de facto) inequalities, official legal
    inequalities, sexuality, family, the workplace, and,
    perhaps most controversially, reproductive rights
– The movement is usually believed to have begun in
  1963, when Betty Friedan published her bestseller,
  The Feminine Mystique and President John F.
  Kennedy's Presidential Commission on the Status of
  Women released its report on gender inequality. The
  report, which revealed great discrimination against
  women in American life, along with Friedan's book,
  which spoke to the discontent of many women
  (especially housewives), led to the formation of many
  local, state, and federal government women's groups
  as well as many independent women's liberation
  organizations. Friedan was referencing a "movement"
  as early as 1964.
– The movement grew with legal victories such as the Equal Pay Act of
  1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Griswold v. Connecticut
  Supreme Court ruling of 1965, and in 1966 Betty Friedan joined other
  women and men to found the National Organization for Women.
– Amongst the most significant legal victories of the movement after the
  formation of NOW were a 1967 Executive Order extending full
  Affirmative Action rights to women, Title IX and the Women's
  Educational Equity Act (1972 and 1975, educational equality), Title X
  (1970, health and family planning), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act
  (1974), the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, the illegalization of
  marital rape and the legalization of no-fault divorce in all states, a 1975
  law requiring the U.S. Military Academies to admit women, and many
  Supreme Court cases, perhaps most notably, Reed v. Reed of 1971 and
  Roe v. Wade of 1973. However, the changing of the social attitudes
  towards women are usually considered the greatest success of the
  women's movement.
• By the early 1980s it was largely perceived that women
  had met their goals and succeeded in changing social
  attitudes towards gender roles, repealing oppressive laws
  that were based on sex, integrating the boys' clubs such
  as Military academies, the United States Military, NASA,
  single-sex colleges, men's clubs, and the Supreme Court,
  and illegalizing gender discrimination. In 1982 the Equal
  Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution
  failed, only three states short of ratification, but due to the
  successes of the movement, however, many women felt
  they no longer needed an ERA.
• Third Wave Feminism:
  – Third-wave feminism began in the early 1990s, arising as a
    response to perceived failures of the second wave and also as a
    response to the backlash against initiatives and movements
    created by the second wave. Feminist leaders rooted in the
    second wave like Gloria Anzaldua, bell hooks, Chela Sandoval,
    Cherrie Moraga, Audre Lorde, Maxine Hong Kingston, and many
    other feminists of color, sought to negotiate a space within
    feminist thought for consideration of race-related subjectivities
  – In 1991, Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas, a man nominated
    to the United States Supreme Court, of sexual harassment.
    Thomas denied the accusations and, after extensive debate, the
    United States Senate voted 52–48 in favor of Thomas. In
    response to this case, Rebecca Walker published an article
    entitled "Becoming the Third Wave" in which she stated, "I am not
    a post-feminism feminist. I am the third-wave."
– The roots of the third wave began, however, in the mid 1980s. Feminist
  leaders rooted in the second wave called for a new subjectivity in
  feminist voice. They sought to negotiate prominent space within feminist
  thought for consideration of race related subjectivities. This focus on the
  intersection between race and gender remained prominent through the
  Hill–Thomas hearings, but was perceived to shift with the , the first
  project of the Walker-led Third Wave Direct Action Corporation. This
  drive to register voters in poor minority communities was surrounded
  with rhetoric that focused on rallying young women
– The ―Third Wave‖ Agenda:
    • the creation of domestic abuse shelters for women and children
    • the acknowledgment of abuse and rape of women on a public level
    • access to contraception and other reproductive services including the
      legalization of abortion, the creation
    • enforcement of sexual harassment policies for women in the workplace
    • child care services
    • equal or greater educational and extracurricular funding for young
      women, women’s studies programs
                  Early Literature
•   Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
     – An eighteenth-century
      British writer, philosopher,
      and feminist. During her brief
      career, she wrote novels,
      treatises, a travel narrative, a history
      of the French Revolution, a conduct
      book, and a children's book.
      Wollstonecraft is best known for
      A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
      (1792), in which she argues that women
      are not naturally inferior to men, but
      appear to be only because they lack
      education. She suggests that both men
      and women should be treated as rational
      beings and imagines a social order founded
      on reason.
            Early Literature
– Wollstonecraft argues that women ought to have an education
  commensurate with their position in society and then proceeds to
  redefine that position, claiming that women are essential to the
  nation because they educate its children and because they could
  be "companions" to their husbands rather than mere wives.
  Instead of viewing women as ornaments to society or property to
  be traded in marriage, Wollstonecraft maintains that they are
  human beings deserving of the same fundamental rights as men.
  Large sections of the Rights of Woman respond vitriolically to
  conduct book writers such as James Fordyce and John Gregory
  and educational philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau,
  who wanted to deny women an education. (Rousseau famously
  argues in Émile that women should be educated for the pleasure
  of men)
           Early Literature
– Wollstonecraft states that currently many women are
  silly and superficial (she refers to them, for example,
  as "spaniels" and "toys"), but argues that this is not
  because of an innate deficiency of mind but rather
  because men have denied them access to education.
  Wollstonecraft is intent on illustrating the limitations
  that women's deficient educations have placed on
  them; she writes: "Taught from their infancy that
  beauty is woman's scepter, the mind shapes itself to
  the body, and, roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks
  to adorn its prison." She implies that, without the
  encouragement young women receive from an early
  age to focus their attention on beauty and outward
  accomplishments, women could achieve much more
                 Early Literature
• While Wollstonecraft does call for equality between the sexes in
  particular areas of life, such as morality, she does not explicitly state
  that men and women are equal. What she does claim is that men
  and women are equal in the eyes of God. However, such claims of
  equality stand in contrast to her statements respecting the superiority
  of masculine strength and valor. Wollstonecraft writes: "Let it not be
  concluded that I wish to invert the order of things; I have already
  granted, that, from the constitution of their bodies, men seem to be
  designed by Providence to attain a greater degree of virtue. I speak
  collectively of the whole sex; but I see not the shadow of a reason to
  conclude that their virtues should differ in respect to their nature. In
  fact, how can they, if virtue has only one eternal standard? I must
  therefore, if I reason consequentially, as strenuously maintain that
  they have the same simple direction, as that there is a God.― Her
  ambiguous statements regarding the equality of the sexes have
  since made it difficult to classify Wollstonecraft as a modern feminist,
  particularly since the word and the concept were unavailable to her.
          Early Literature
– One of Wollstonecraft's most scathing critiques in the
  Rights of Woman is of false and excessive sensibility,
  particularly in women. She argues that women who
  succumb to sensibility are "blown about by every
  momentary gust of feeling" and because they are "the
  prey of their senses" they cannot think rationally. In
  fact, she claims, they do harm not only to themselves
  but to the entire civilization: these are not women who
  can help refine a civilization—a popular eighteenth-
  century idea—but women who will destroy it.
  Wollstonecraft does not argue that reason and feeling
  should act independently of each other; rather, she
  believes that they should inform each other
              Early Literature
– In addition to her larger philosophical arguments, Wollstonecraft also
  lays out a specific educational plan. In the twelfth chapter of the Rights of
  Woman, "On National Education", she argues that all children should be
  sent to a "country day school" as well as given some education at home
  "to inspire a love of home and domestic pleasures." She also maintains
  that schooling should be co-educational, arguing that men and women,
  whose marriages are "the cement of society", should be "educated after
  the same model.―
– Wollstonecraft addresses her text to the middle-class, which she
  describes as the "most natural state", and in many ways the Rights of
  Woman is inflected by a bourgeois view of the world. It encourages
  modesty and industry in its readers and attacks the uselessness of the
  aristocracy. But Wollstonecraft is not necessarily a friend to the poor; for
  example, in her national plan for education, she suggests that, after the
  age of nine, the poor, except for those who are brilliant, should be
  separated from the rich and taught in another school.
             Early Literature
• Olympe De Gouges (1748-1793):
  – A proponent of democracy, she
   demanded that French women be
   given the same rights as French
   men. In her Declaration of the
   Rights of Woman and the Female
   Citizen (1791), she challenged the
   practice of male authority and the
   notion of male-female inequality.
   She was executed by guillotine during
   the Reign of Terror for attacking the
   regime of Maximilien Robespierre.
           Early Literature
– Declaration on the Rights of Women:
   • Written shortly after the French constitution of 1791 was
     created in the same year. She was alarmed that the
     constitution, which was to promote equal suffrage, did
     not address—nor even consider—women’s suffrage. The
     Constitution gave that right only to men. It also did not
     address key issues such as legal equality in marriage, the
     right for a woman to divorce her spouse, or a woman’s
     right to property. So she created a document that was to
     be, in her opinion, the missing part of the Constitution of
     1791, in which women would be given the equal rights
     they deserve. Throughout the document, it is apparent to
     the reader that Gouges had been influenced by the
     philosophy of the Enlightenment, whose thinkers
     critically examined and criticized the traditional morals
     and institutions of the day, using “scientific reasoning
         Early Literature
• Gouges opens up her Declaration with a witty, and at times
  sarcastically bitter, introduction in which she demands of men
  why they have chosen to subjugate women as a lesser sex.
  Her opening statement put rather bluntly: ―Man, are you
  capable of being just? It is a woman who poses the question;
  you will not deprive her of that right at least.‖ The later part of
  the statement shows her assertion that men have been
  ridiculously depriving women of what should be common
  rights, so she sarcastically asks if men will find it necessary to
  take away even her right to question. Gouges begins her long
  argument by stating that in nature the sexes are forever
  mingled cooperating in ―harmonious togetherness.‖ There she
  uses a bit of Enlightenment logic, if in nature the equality and
  the working together of the two sexes achieves harmony, so
  should France achieve a happier and more stable society if
  women are given equality among men.
         Early Literature
• After her opening paragraph she goes into her declaration, which
  she asks be reviewed and decreed by the National Assembly in their
  next meeting. Her preamble explains that the reason for
  contemporary public misfortune and corrupt government was due to
  the oppression of women and their rights. The happiness and well
  being of society would only be insured once the rights of women
  were equally as important as those of men, especially in political
  institutions. In her document Gouges establishes rights of women on
  the basis of their equality to men, that they are both human and
  capable of the same thoughts. Gouges also promotes the rights of
  women by emphasizing differences women have from men,
  however, differences that men ought to respect and take notice of.
  She argues that women are superior in beauty as well as in courage
  during childbirth. Addressing characteristics that set women apart
  from men, she added what she probably thought was logical proof to
  her argument that men are not superior to women, and therefore,
  women are deserving at least to have the same rights.
         Early Literature
• Her declaration bares the same outline and context as the
  Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, but Gouges either
  changes the word ―man‖ to ―woman‖ or adds ―for both women and
  men.‖ In article II, the resemblance is exact to the previous
  declaration except that she adds ―especially‖ before ―the right to the
  resistance of oppression,‖ emphasizing again, how important it is to
  her to end the oppression of women, and that the government
  should recognize this and take action.
• A main difference between the two declarations is that the
  Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen emphasizes the
  protection of the written ―law‖ while the Declaration of the Rights of
  Women and the Female Citizen emphasizes protection of the ―law‖
  and ―Natural Laws.‖ Gouges emphasizes that these rights of women
  always have existed, that they were created at the beginning of time
  by God, that they are natural and true, and they cannot be
       Early Literature
• Article X contains the famous phrase: ―Woman has
  the right to mount the scaffold; she must equally
  have the right to mount the rostrum.‖ If women
  have the right to be executed, they should have the
  right to speak.
• She modifies article XI to say that women have the
  right to give their children the name of their father
  even if it is out of wedlock and, even if the father
  has left her. Gouges is very passionate about this
  because she believed that she was an illegitimate
         Early Literature
• In her postscript, Gouges tells women to wake up and
  discover that they have these rights. She assures them that
  reason is on their side. Gouges asks, what women have
  gained from the French Revolution? Stating that the answer is
  nothing, except that they’ve been marked with yet more
  disdain. She exclaims that women should no longer tolerate
  this, they should step up, take action, and demand the equal
  rights they deserve. Gouges declares the morality that women
  are lesser an ―out of date‖ concept. In that Gouges shows
  strongly her Enlightenment perspective—to break from old,
  illogical traditions that are "out of date." She exclaims that to
  revoke women the right to partake in political practices also is
  ―out of date.‖
         Early Literature
• Her last paragraph is titled a "Social Contract between Men and
  Women." Taking a leaf from Rousseau’s book, the contract asks for
  communal cooperation. The wealth of a husband and wife should be
  distributed equally. Property should belong to both and to the
  children, whatever bed they come from. If divorced, land should be
  divided equally. She called this the ―Marriage contract.‖ Gouges also
  asked to allow a poor man’s wife to have her children be adopted by
  a wealthy family – this would advance the community’s wealth and
  drive back disorder. Near the end of the contract, Gouges finally
  requests creation of a law to protect widows and young girls from
  men who give them false promises. This perhaps, is the most
  important issue she wants to deal with in France. In the postscript
  section of her document, Gouges describes the consequences of a
  woman who is left by an unfaithful husband, who is widowed with no
  fortune to her name, and of young experienced girls who are
  seduced by men who leave them with no money and no title for their
  children. Gouges therefore requests a law that that will force an
  inconsistent man to hold his obligation to these women, or to at least
  to pay a reimbursement equal to his wealth.
       Early Literature
• One of the last persuasions in her document directs
  itself to men who still see women as lesser beings:
  ―the foolproof way to evaluate the soul of women is
  to join them to all the activities of man, if man
  persists against this, let him share his fortune with
  woman by the wisdom of the laws.‖ She challenges
  men that, if they wish, they may evaluate
  scientifically the consequences of joining man and
  woman in equal political rights.
                   Early Literature
•   Sarah Grimke (1792-1873)
     – born in South Carolina, the daughter
      of Mary and John Grimke, a rich
      plantation owner who was also an
      attorney and a judge in South Carolina.
      Sarah’s early experiences with education
      shaped her future as an abolitionist and
      feminist. Throughout her childhood, she
      was keenly aware of the inferiority of her
      own education when compared to her
      brothers’ classical one, and despite the
      fact that all around her recognized her
      remarkable intelligence and abilities as an
      orator, she was prevented from substantive
      education or from pursuing her dream of
      becoming an attorney.
         Modern Literature
• Marilyn Frye (1941-)
  – A philosophy professor and
    feminist theorist. She earned her
    Ph.D. at Cornell University in 1969
    and has taught feminist philosophy,
    metaphysics, and philosophy of
    language at Michigan State University
    since 1974. Frye also serves Michigan
    State University as Associate Dean of
    the College of Arts and Letters.
        Modern Literature
– Frye is openly lesbian and much of her work explores
  social categories -- in particular, those based on race
  and gender
– Frye analyzes the ―phallocentrism‖ she believes is
  characteristic of the fiction and Christian apologetics of
  C.S. Lewis. Frye argues that such phallocentrism
  privileges the masculine in understanding meaning or
  gender relations. She compares the homoeroticism
  characteristic of Lewis' ideal of gender relations to
  underground male prostitution rings, which share the
  same quality of men seeking to dominate subjects
  considered as less likely to take on submissive roles
  by a patriarchal society, but in both cases doing so as
  a theatrical mockery of women.
         Modern Literature
– Oppression:
   • This seminal work of Frye’s includes:
       – the concept of “the cage" (an image of oppression)
       – Frye's discussion of what counts as oppression and, in particular,
         her argument that there are oppressors and that their woes,
         whatever they may be, do not constitute oppression.
   • The cage image is important because it gets us out of the "Yes, but"
     argument, as in:
       – Woman: "Women are oppressed because they make less than
       – Defensive man: "Yes, but they could change jobs if they wanted
         more money."
       – Woman: "Unfortunately, they only get hired for 'women's jobs',
         which get paid less."
       – Defensive man: "Yes, but they could still bargain for more."
       – Woman: "If they bargain for more, they are seen as a bitch."
       – Defensive man: "Yes, but that's only true of women who already
         have a chip on their shoulder."
      Modern Literature
• What Frye points out is that oppression is a systemic
  issue. Oppression doesn't come because people face this or that
  specific barrier; oppression comes because people are in a cage
  with no escape, something that can only be seen by stepping back
  and looking at the whole picture, all the multiple barriers together,
  not the individual wires of the cage. The wires don't make the
  cage; their systematic arrangement does.
• This does not mean simply that "oppressed people face a lot of
  obstacles". They do, but Frye's cage image is meant to
  communicate that these obstacles are systematically arranged so
  that no escape is possible (or likely, anyway), not matter how great
  the effort. True, the simple number of obstacles is a barrier, but let's
  suppose that an oppressed simply decided that s/he was going to
  work extra hard to overcome them. S/he might then get hit with the
  criticism that s/he was "too driven" or "had no sense of humor", etc
      Modern Literature
• Another implication of this way of thinking is that we need to
  be concerned with the average treatment of people in a
  group, not with individual exceptions — what is called the
  "lottery mentality" that sees the one winner and doesn't see all
  the losers.
• In Frye's discussion of what constitutes oppression, whose
  pain counts as "oppression―, she is trying to distinguish clearly
  between the oppressed and the oppressor, not letting her
  point get clouded by people who claim that oppressors are
  oppressed as well. "Get a grip," she says in effect to
  oppressors. "You're oppressing me. Don't confuse the
      Modern Literature
• The difficulty of Frye's position is that it does not help conceptualize
  very easily the difficulties that these supposed oppressors
  experience, so it is hard to see on what grounds the oppressed and
  the oppressors can talk to each other. Certainly "Quit oppressing
  me!" is the beginning of a conversation, but it isn't the end. This is
  particularly true if the "oppressor" is caught within a system where
  s/he doesn't have any good choices either. It doesn't help to call
  h/her an oppressor and ignore the general system in which s/he is
  trapped as well.
• This is especially apparent when we see the problem of two
  oppressed groups at war with each other. For example, the landless
  movement in Brazil (the MST) started when a group of landless
  people were thrown out of an Indian area where they were trying to
  settle. Who is the oppressor here? The landless, who need
  land? The Indians, who want to preserve their own?
          Modern Literature
• One way of reconciling Frye's perspective and
  that of other liberation theorists is to think of
  Frye's perspective as regarding tactics and the
  other perspective as regarding an overall
  strategic vision. Overall, one can't afford to
  dismiss anyone's oppression; each person is
  important, and each person wants h/her
  particular difficulties recognized. Nevertheless
  one can still argue that we need to take on the
  worst oppressions first.