Everyone has experienced oppression at least one time in their life, but there are also people in the world that may feel they have the luxury to have anything and everything they want, whether it is to get the job they want, have an education, start a family, etc. and be able to do all these things without even having to worry about being faced with any boundaries, obstacles or judgment from others. However, this particular group of people does not represent the majority. Some of these people may just be oblivious and blinded by their privileges, and may not even realize it because it has never been brought to their attention, or may have never been surrounded by or had to associate with a diverse group who are faced with the challenges of oppression in their everyday life. It is a sad reality that while we would like to believe that by now everyone has equal opportunity, it is simply not the case.
Oppression is a combination of power and prejudice working together, and what that results in maintenance and control over the marginalized groups. It causes our society to label what is normal and considered a privilege, while at the same time revealing the identity of the disadvantaged.
There are so many forms of oppression that it difficult for one to say that they have not experienced or witnessed it some way at a time in their life. It is unfortunate a lot of people fail to think beyond this and just accept that this is the way it always has been and will be. The 3 dimensions of oppression that I will be focusing on are, sexism, ageism and ethnocentrism.
Sexism has been a known issue for as long as I can remember. The way I have seen and experienced sexism has always been in regards to the domestic role society has placed on women and some of those ideas have been passed on to the younger generation. Today, more and more women are becoming educated, which leads to full-time careers but that has not changed the notion for some people that women should be the primary care provider, have the chores done and dinner made by the end of the day. Women are expected to do it all; be the working woman and a full-time mother. I have seen some of my friends having to deal with this struggle. They feel as though they are not living up to this standard and feel guilty if they require extra help around the house or with their children because they feel like they are being judged by family or friends. This can place tremendous stress on a woman, which can eventually affect them at work, where others may interpret that she is not capable to do her job. Women have been fighting to prove that they are just as qualified, if not more than men for years and the moment they show some form of distress they are generalized that "it is because she is a women", especially if they are working in a male dominated work environment.
In regards to the younger generation I have heard many "young men" state that when looking for their ideal mate she must be what society has deemed as beautiful, someone who can keep a house clean and can cook.
I find all this very ignorant and frustrating. Women have always and continue to have so much pressure placed on them based on what society feels a woman should be doing and are so quickly judged if they are anything outside of that norm.
I previously worked for a homecare company where I saw some examples of ageism. I worked as a caregiver for some time before becoming the staff coordinator, where I was always in constant communication with the elderly clients and their families. For myself, it was a huge eye opener. I was amazed at how independent, funny, intelligent, etc. they all were. There were some clients that were well into their 90's and were nothing like the stereotype our society generalizes the elderly as being. I remember