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3. Extended definition. Here you write several paragraphs/an essay to define a new or difficult term, or to rescue a word from continuous misuse. (See essay below.)

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In each of the cases of being oppressed as a woman mentioned above,Paula suffers injustice, but a crucial factor in explaining theinjustice is that Paula is a member of a particular group, viz., women(or females). This, we think, is crucial in understanding why sexism(and racism, and other -isms) are most often understood as kinds ofoppression. Oppression is injustice that, first and foremost, concernsgroups; individuals are oppressed just in case they are subjected toinjustice because of their group membership. On this view, to claimthat women as women suffer injustice is to claim that women areoppressed.

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Of course, these two understandings of being oppressed because you area woman are not incompatible; in fact they typically support oneanother. Because human actions are often best explained by theframework employed for justifying them, one's sex may play a largerole in determining how one is treated because the backgroundunderstandings for what's appropriate treatment draw invidiousdistinctions between the sexes. In other words, the causal mechanismfor sexism often passes through problematic representations of womenand gender roles.

The Definition Essay
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What makes a particular form of oppression sexist seems to be not justthat it harms women, but that someone is subject to this form ofoppression specifically because she is (or at least appears to be) awoman. Racial oppression harms women, but racial oppression (byitself) doesn't harm them because they are women, it harms thembecause they are (or appear to be) members of a particular race. Thesuggestion that sexist oppression consists in oppression to which oneis subject by virtue of being or appearing to be a woman provides usat least the beginnings of an analytical tool for distinguishingsubordinating structures that happen to affect some or even all womenfrom those that are more specifically sexist (Haslanger 2004).But problems and unclarities remain.

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An alternative, however, would be to grant that in practice unityamong feminists cannot be taken for granted, but to begin with atheoretical common-ground among feminist views that does not assumethat sexism appears in the same form or for the same reasons in allcontexts. We saw above that one promising strategy for distinguishingsexism from racism, classism, and other forms of injustice is to focuson the idea that if an individual is suffering sexist oppression, thenan important part of the explanation why she is subject to theinjustice is that she is or appears to be a woman. This includes casesin which women as a group are explicitly targeted by a policy or apractice, but also includes cases where the policy or practice affectswomen due to a history of sexism, even if they are not explicitlytargeted. For example, if women are deprived an education and so are,on the whole, illiterate. And if under these circumstances only thosewho are literate are entitled to vote. Then we can say that women as agroup are being disenfranchised and that this is a form of sexistoppression because part of the explanation of why women cannot vote isthat they are women, and women are deprived an education. Thecommonality among the cases is to be found in the role of gender inthe explanation of the injustice rather than the specific form theinjustice takes. Building on this we could unify a broad range offeminist views by seeing them as committed to the (very abstract)claims that:

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We have so far been using the term ‘oppression’ loosely tocover whatever form of wrong or injustice is at issue. Continuing withthis intentional openness in the exact nature of the wrong, thequestion still remains what it means to say that women are subjectedto injustice because they are women. To address this question, it mayhelp to consider a familiar ambiguity in the notion“because”: are we concerned here with causal explanationsor justifications? On one hand, the claim that someone is oppressedbecause she is a woman suggests that the best (causal) explanation ofthe subordination in question will make reference to her sex: e.g.,Paula is subject to sexist oppression on the job because the bestexplanation of why she makes $1.00 less an hour for doing comparablework as Paul makes reference to her sex (possibly in addition to herrace or other social classifications). On the other hand, the claimthat someone is oppressed because she is a woman suggests that therationale or basis for the oppressive structures requires that one besensitive to someone's sex in determining how they should be viewedand treated, i.e., that the justification for someone's being subjectto the structures in question depends on a representation of them assexed male or female. E.g., Paula is subject to sexist oppression onthe job because the pay scale for her job classification is justifiedwithin a framework that distinguishes and devalues women's workcompared with men's.