Reading: “Rules for Peasant Life in Japan-1619” In the “Rules for Peasant Life in Japan-1619,” the society is ruled by an authoritarian leader. Social inequality existed, wherein strong social and class differences among people were identified and reinforced through laws. Peasants were considered as people from “lowly origin” (Kanetaugu, 306). They were also expected to earn for their families, to pay their taxes, and to contribute to other public obligations. The ruling body was malevolent, because when peasants could not pay their taxes, they take away the peasants’ wives.
The ruling class also indicated that they may do whatever they wish with these women, a clear sign of threat to the peasants. The ruling party even included that the elite can rape these women, and yet the peasants would be the ones, who would suffer because of tarnished images. In 1916 Japan, there was no gender quality, because women, who were found to have extramarital affairs, were immediately exiled, even when the proof was merely because they had excessive amount of tea reserves. At the same time, women were mandated to take care of their men and their basic needs, the whole day, as if they were slaves to their men.
For instance, daughters and wives were required to “sew and weave China-grass” clothing for their men (Kanetaugu, 305). Wives and daughters should also serve their male family members and massage their feet afterwards. They must do the bidding of their male family members. Hence, this is a society remarked by authoritarian leadership, social inequality, and gender inequality. Reading: “The Declaration of the Rights of Women by Olympe de Gouges, 1791. ” Olympe de Gouges (1791) describes a gender-equal social climate. It is a climate that allowed women to freely express their opinions and to fill public positions.
It is also a climate that made women responsible for their errors. De Gouges is not asking for women to be exempted from the law. Instead, she states in Article VII: “No woman is an exemption…Women, like men, obey this rigorous law” (de Gouges, 416). For her, women are also strong enough to be held accountable for their mistakes. She also depicts a benign ruler, who will protect and advance equal rights and treatment for men and women. She also believes that sovereignty depends on the people, and on its most basic foundation, the “union of woman and man,” or in other words, the family (de Gouges, 416).
This indicates libertarian views, wherein the voice of the people reigns supreme. de Gouges also demands public transparency of taxes and activities in Articles XIII and IX. Finally, de Gouges depicts a world, wherein men and women are equal in every regard. For her, women should not be given preferential treatment because of their gender, and at the same time, they must enjoy the same rights and opportunities for growth as men. Hence, the state must ensure that men and women both possess the rights to liberty, security, property, and protection from oppression.
Reading: “Program for Cuba by Fidel Castro- 1956. ” Fidel Cuba espouses a social climate that is based on socialism. Through socialism, the oppressed sectors that he identified- the unemployed, farm laborers, industrial workers, small farm workers, underpaid teachers and professionals, and small businesspeople- would be given the full right to change or abolish the Constitution, and free themselves from traditional social, political, and economic obstacles, through following the Five Revolutionary Laws.
The ruling body is benign to the underprivileged sectors, whom Castro felt had been used by the politicians and companies to make profits out of their lives. The benign ruler also confiscates lands for large landowners to be distributed to all “planters, non-quota planters, lesses, share-croppers, and squatters who hold parcels of five caballerias of land or less” (Castro, 556). This ruler also ensures that workers are handsomely paid for their services, by having the right to share 30% of the profits of companies.
The Fourth Revolutionary Law also provides fifty-percent share for laborers involved in sugar production. Hence, Castro aims to change the ownership of and access to the forces of production, so that the poor can improve the quality of their lives. Women were not particularly mentioned in this reading. Still, Castro also did not differentiate women from male workers and professionals. It is inferred that Castro also envisioned equality of the sexes, wherein men and women can finally have the resources that they need, in order to feel like real human beings, who can genuinely pursue self-development.
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