Karl Marx’s View on Gender and Class Divisions in Society

Karl Marx View on Gender and Class Divisions in Society




Karl Marx’s View on Gender and Class Divisions in Society

Class conflict can be defined as a society subjected to a state of perpetual conflict due to fierce competition for limited resources. The idea of conflict theory holds that the only way to maintain social order is through power and domination, as opposed to consensus and conformity. Further, the idea of class conflict states that wealthy and powerful individuals play hard to maintain their status quo by all means possible, more precisely by oppressing the poor and powerless. The basic premise of class conflict holds the idea that people and groups in society play hard to maximize personal benefits. In numerous accounts, class conflict has been the brainchild of explaining various social phenomena such as wars, violence, social discrimination, injustice, poverty, among others (Andrew,1983). Conflict theory describes the vast majority of fundamental developments in the history of humans, for example, democracy and civil rights, not to mention the capitalistic quest to dominate the masses instead of social order desire.

According to the general public, class conflict is significantly rising in the United States. Only one-third of the Americans disagree with the presence of intense conflict between the poor and the rich in the United States. As such, Karl Marx was right when he stated that the gap would continue to increase into dual great hostile camps, perhaps, two great classes going head-to-head. Most Americans consider themselves as middle-class individuals. In present-day America, class divisions are based on occupation, region, and race. More importantly, “us” against “them” is somewhat a consistent agenda representing the moral middle class and morally inferior poor, respectively. The significance of the word “class conflict” in the present-day is evident in employment and wage-earning classes as an apparent antagonism. Some other interests present are termed as economic classes, though their defiance causes no outbreak. A census conducted in the United States shows that from the 24 million males engaged in industry, it turned out that 2 million are employers, 1.5 million belongs to the professional class, 6 million are farmers and tenants, 11 million are laborers, servants, and clerks, and 3.75 million are farm laborers (Gilbert, 2017). In that regard, there exists no appreciable class when it comes to farm laborers, tenants, and farmers. The professional classes are not interested or somewhat interested in their catering class.

Marxist feminism elaborates on how women are suffering from exploitation through capitalism as well as private property individual ownership. The theory holds that women’s liberation is achievable only through capitalist systems dismantling as they indicate that a significant women’s labor is uncompensated (Anthias & Yuval-Davis,1983). In the late 1960s, there were heated debates concerning the relationship between class and gender in the wake of second-wave feminism. Marxism heeds oppression and class division development in the human social evolution and wealth and production organization. Also, it concludes the oppressive societal structure evolution led to the birth of oppressive family structure. The initial abundance of agriculture led to the abundance being regarded as male wealth, on the notion that the work environment was for males and resulted in the founding of male inheritance and more profound wish lineage. Achieving that wish led to women being given long-sought monogamy and forced it into domestic servitude.

In conclusion, Karl Marx pointed out exploitation and sought answers on automatic self-regulation concerning the capitalist economy. Of course, Marx lived in a different from ours, but his thoughts can be questioned, holding any relevance to today’s contemporary society. The vision of tomorrow was predetermined by capital. During the World’s Fair, new technologies were showcased by corporations. More profound of just products, those weary economic depression and world wars prospects are offered abundance and an ideal of middle-class leisure. Perhaps, exploitation and oppression still exist in grand scales, and the system is robust and dynamic, not to mention reconcilable with democratic ideals.


Andrew, E. (1983). Class in itself and class against capital: Karl Marx and his classifiers. Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique, 577-584.

Anthias, F., & Yuval-Davis, N. (1983). Contextualizing feminism—gender, ethnic and class divisions. Feminist review, 15(1), 62-75.

Gilbert, D. L. (2017). The American class structure in an age of growing inequality. SAGE publications.

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