Oppression In 12 Years A Slave

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Most people recognize the hardships that women and African Americans have both faced throughout United States history, but how does the oppression of these two groups intersect? Thesis: The treatment of men under slavery was wrought with hardships due to a brutally taxing workload and physical abuse, while the treatment of women was even more brutal due to the same tough workload and abuse, as well as treatment as below their male counterparts, expectations of bearing children and raising a family, and sexual assault and objectification from their masters.
The primary struggle of male slaves was to keep up with physical labor expectations, and they were valued primarily for their ability to do so. In the film 12 Years a Slave, one slave, Eliza, tells Solomon (the main character) that, despite their master’s kind actions, Solomon is “no more than prized livestock” in his eyes. If a farmer bought a cow, he would want to make the money back that it had cost him and then some to make sure that his purchase
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In 12 Years a Slave, Patsy, having been sexually assaulted, implores Solomon to “Do what I ain’t got the strength to do myself”. She was so distraught over the crimes her master had committed against her that she begged her friend to take her own life (the emotional strain was so great that she could not bring herself to do this). Patsy saw death as a better alternative to enduring habitual sexual assault from her master. Harriet Jacobs recounts that “If God has bestowed beauty upon her [a female slave], it will prove her greatest curse. That which commands admiration in the white woman only hastens the degradation of the female slave”. Female slaves were so often violated by their masters that their beauty would only further such treatment from their masters. As a woman under slavery, rape was almost unavoidable, making for a uniquely difficult

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