I have no doubt Eleanor Roosevelt was an amazing woman, but I can’t agree with her most famous quote “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Yes they can.
They create a climate where women are never good enough. We have to remind ourselves everyday that, in the words of Naomi Wolf, “we as women are trained to see ourselves as cheap imitations of fashion photographs, rather than seeing fashion photographs as cheap imitations of women.”
Add into this the constant harassment that results from being female, rape, the wage gap and the very language we use. Intellectually I know that women are not inferior to men, but there is a hell of a lot of emotional baggage that I have to deal with to really believe it.
This holds true for LGBT folk, people of colour and all the oppressed groups I can think of. We grew up in a world that seems bent on making us feel inferior and it takes real action on the part of the oppressed to deconstruct and refute that.
(And don’t even get me started on the “equal but different” crap that could be renamed as “we think you’re better at inferiority than we are, and we’re better at being dicks, so we’re just gonna call that equal.”)