Keith Peterson discussed the intricacies of revolutions in his lecture, and prompted the question of why humans want to revolt in the first place, if at all. Peterson used Latour’s theory that essentially claims being revolutionary is merely a ‘myth of modernity’. In light of Peterson’s astute commentary on these dense philosophical matters, I found that looking at the concept of revolutions through a feminist lens allows us to clearly see how revolutions are actually executed. The progress of women’s rights in the past century has demonstrated human’s capacity to overcome structural barriers which harbor prejudice and preserve the inequality in our society. I wanted to investigate the origins of such revolutionary currents, what circumstances instantiate revolutions? It seems that an underlying cause for revolutions, or a contributing causal factor, is the a presence of a deep inequality between groups, which in turn produces prejudice and misrepresentation of social groups. There is friction that arises out of the divide between groups; between the oppressed and their oppressors. This friction is a driving force, and pushes people for the need to revolt, evolve, and reshape the unjust hierarchy.
For example, if we look at the trajectory of women’s place in society, and the progress they’ve made; it was ultimately driven by the oppression they face (and still face today). John Stuart Mill wrote that women’s roles are essentially just an artificial construct; “ “What is now called the nature of women is an eminently artificial thing- the result of forced repression in some directions, unnatural stimulation in others…for the benefit and pleasure of their masters”. This oppression is the bounded nature of These thoughts emerge due to the persistent stereotypes and cultural phenomena that are shoved down girls throats starting with their pink blankets as a child, continuing through their growing their hair long, wearing dresses, playing with dolls, wearing makeup, and taking a man’s name at marriage, and possibly staying at home to raise children. The stereotypes that are ever present in society, and social media, sustain sexism in our culture and work to keep women in their place as inferior to men. The idea that women are helpless, incapable, weak, and incompetent are seen as “truly feminine” qualities. Regardless if one agrees with the validity of this statement, the idea of ‘helpless women’ is completely present and continually perpetuated through simple tasks that go unnoticed, such as opening a door for a woman. No matter how unrealistic or irrelevant a stereotype like this may seem in 2016, they sustain the barriers that are placed around women by creating unattainable ideals that keep men in the dominant position. This structural oppression makes a revolution necessary, in order to break free from the bounded social roles and hierarchies.