Sunday, June 14, 2009

sexism was the first classism

I'm reading Friedrich Engels' The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, partly because a mention of it in Indian Givers intrigued me. Many of its examples are dated now, but the book stays relevant because of its ideas—anyone interested in the history of feminism should read it. For example, Engels writes:
In an old unpublished manuscript, written by Marx and myself in 1846, I find the words: “The first division of labor is that between man and woman for the propagation of children.” And today I can add: The first class opposition that appears in history coincides with the development of the antagonism between man and woman in monogamous marriage, and the first class oppression coincides with that of the female sex by the male.