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People whose rights are taken away by society often rebel against that society, forcing it to change so that they have their freedom. There's a huge spectrum of ways this can happen, from violent revolution to politics, from groups with only a handful of people to entire subverted nations. Jerusalem was revolted against Greek rule in the Hasmonean revolt, leading to its political independence. British colonies in North America had a revolutionary war, eventually gaining independence and becoming strong in their own right. Muslims throughout India organized politically to insure that their needs would be met when colonial rule ended, resulting in Pakistan's birth in 1947.

Only a few prerequisites seem necessary for revolution. Supplies, and weaponry if the revolution is to be violent, are easily captured from the dominant group, so they aren't a concern at least in the beginning. Leadership will arise naturally in the group, as it becomes stronger there will be people who accrue more force within it, so finding leaders isn't necessary. Even knowledge of how to properly fight can be done without, if the collective will of the revolutionaries is strong enough. It seems to me that communication is the only strong prerequisite for revolution -- people must share ideas and strategies for a successful mass movement of any kind. Just as the Haitian slave rebellion didn't start until enough slaves had escaped to form their own culture, no revolution can happen without a basis of people consistently communicating.

Women throughout history (with a few interesting exceptions) have had dramatically fewer rights than the men of their culture. They have often been oppressed in the truest sense of the word, forced to work hard and receive abuse rather than credit for it. In many societies they are virtually slaves to their husbands or fathers, with few freedoms afforded them by either. I state all of this because it begs a presumably important question: why haven't there been any revolts of women against their male overlords in history?

Let's look at this. While women are oppressed politically and socially, communication between them isn't disallowed in most, if any, cultures. That is, there are usually gatherings between women for the purposes of sewing, cooking, laundry, and in more advanced societies gaming and recreation. Hence they have the ultimate prerequisite for revolution, the ability to spread the idea of it throughout their number. Stranger still, women usually make up the slight majority of the population, since they live longer and aren't required to go and die in the occasional war. Obviously, if they were motivated to do so, they could defend themselves as a group from violence or political control.

Perhaps I'm missing something crucial, but it seems like any social group that is so thoroughly oppressed and has such a good position will work for power without hesitation. At least this is true in the context of history. I suppose that this has been happening slowly but surely over the past two hundred years of improving conditions for Western females. Still, I have to wonder why it hasn't happened all throughout history, and thus why women haven't continuously striven for power all of this time. It seems quite odd that with all their advantages (and despite the questionable disadvantages of smaller stature and less testosterone) women didn't achieve equality long ago.


Notice to those who will inevitably think I'm trolling: I am neither a feminist nor a patriarch, but simply a puzzled bystander :-)

In order to address enth's question ("Why haven't women become revolutionary if they're oppressed?"), I first had to ask "Who would women be rebelling against?" Well, men. Even disregarding emotion completely, there is a major problem with a revolution of that nature. Specifically, women and men cannot exist entirely independently of one another. At least, not for more than, say, 70 years.

Unlike other rebellions, where the revolutionaries could (at least theoretically) exist entirely without the involvement of their 'oppressors', women and men are dependent on one another for their very existences. Neither side can afford the equivalent of a bloody coup d'etat that would annihilate or alienate the other half of the human race. (There are also complicating factors such as unequal oppression of women, women who do not feel oppressed, affection and love between the sexes, etc. but those are topics for another node.)

In conclusion, I would hypothesize that a fundamental codependence could explain the relatively slow nature of change in the relationship between the sexes. For all our differences, and the inequalities that do exist in human society worldwide, women and men need each other.

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