Most slaves throughout history were men. But according to feminists, a small period of time in China where female slaves were preferred over men is part of a pattern of sexism and oppression against women.

September 26, 2020

This is just a small rant about feminists gatekeeping what counts as "sexism" or "oppression".

I was talking to someone in the men's rights sub who said that for most of China's history, only women could be slaves. And if you do a bit of digging, you'll find that this is a common feminist talking point that gets repeated to emphasize how women were uniquely oppressed in history.

What probably won't surprise anyone is that this is completely false. It's based on a small period of Chinese history where female slaves were preferred over male slaves. There was even a slave trade in SE Asia where SE Asian women (along with a lesser number of men) were sold to Chinese slavers.

And it was apparently a pretty big problem. Big enough, anyway, for the practice to be outlawed in many places throughout China.

To quote Wikipedia:

The primary source of slaves was southern tribes, and young slave girls were the most desired. Although various officials such as Kong Kui, the governor of Guangdong, banned the practice, the trade continued.[18] Other peoples sold to Chinese included Turk, Persian and Korean women, who were sought after by the wealthy.[19][17]

This all occurred between the years 618 and 907 AD.

Which of course means that it's not true that "only women could be slaves in China". In fact during the Han dynasty, male slaves were usually castrated which was used as proof for their status as a slave. So if we're looking for "victimization points" against men, I think you can find quite a bit just in China.

Here's the thing though: most slaves throughout history have been men.

During the African slave trade, more than 70% of people taken out of Africa were men.

And this appears to have been true throughout most of history. During WWII, the Nazis had 2 million female slaves and over 10 million male slaves. Many were prisoners of war, which was a common source of slaves throughout history. The Russians enslaved millions of men during WWII, many of whom they didn't even return after the war. And there's evidence of this kind of slavery going all the way back to Ancient Egypt.

In some languages, the word for slave only has a male form of the word, or ultimately derives from the male version of an older word because most slaves were assumed to be men (see The Privileged Sex for a source about this).

So where are these gender ideologues when it comes to the African slave trade, or slavery in general? Why is this not seen as a gendered crime or "oppression of men"? After all, you were oppressed because of your gender. Which is something feminists try to emphasize when it comes to the treatment of women in history.

It also wasn't always men who were responsible for this. Many wealthy women owned slaves, including male slaves. Queen Elizabeth had millions of slaves (African and Indian) working for her across the British empire. She also played an important role in the transatlantic slave trade. Which potentially makes her one of the biggest slavers in all of history. And therefore ticks another box that feminists use to try and gatekeep things like this; it wasn't men oppressing men.

I'm not trying to play the victimization olympics. This type of stuff just bothers me for some reason. I don't know if you want to call it a double standard or what. In this case feminists have set the bar pretty low for their gendered interpretation of oppression in China. And yet this exact same thing on a much larger scale and throughout all of history doesn't "count" in their eyes as oppression against men.

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Title Most slaves throughout history were men. But according to feminists, a small period of time in China where female slaves were preferred over men is part of a pattern of sexism and oppression against women.
Author Oncefa2
Upvotes 130
Comments 16
Date September 26, 2020 12:37 AM UTC (1 year ago)
Subreddit /r/LeftWingMaleAdvocates
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