The Politics of Reality

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Politics of Reality
Author Marilyn Frye
Series Feminist theory
Publisher Crossing Press
Publication date
Pages 176 pp
ISBN 978-0-89594-099-5
OCLC 9323470

The Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory is a 1983 collection of feminist essays by philosopher Marilyn Frye. Some of these essays, developed through speeches and lectures she gave, have been quoted and reprinted often, and the book has been described as a "classic" of feminist theory.[1][2]


Frye outlines several key concepts and fundamental issues for feminist theory. In the first essay, "Oppression", she explains a structural vision of oppression:

Oppression is a system of interrelated barriers and forces which reduce, immobilize and mold people who belong to a certain group, and effect their subordination to another group (individually to individuals of the other group, and as a group, to that group).

She uses the analogy of a bird cage to explain why many people do not see oppression:

If you look very closely at just one wire in the cage, you cannot see the other wires. If your conception of what is before you is determined by this myopic focus, you could look at that one wire, up and down the length of it, and be unable to see why a bird would not just fly around the wire any time it wanted to go somewhere ... It is only when you step back, stop looking at the wires one by one, microscopically, and take a macroscopic view of the whole cage, that you can see why the bird does not go anywhere; and then you will see it in a moment.

The second essay, "Sexism", clearly illustrates sexism as a specific form of oppression.


  1. ^ Ann Cudd, "Frye, Marilyn (1941- )", Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Thomson Gale, 2006)  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  2. ^ United States: Marilyn Frye receives Phi Beta Kappa Romanell Award., off our backs, April 1, 2006  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).