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In the Five Faces of Oppression model, Young presents powerlessness as oppression through being forced to follow orders without being a part of making the decisions. This works on two levels. Actual orders, for example in the workplace. And indirect order, in the form of social norms and expectations. Young portray social norms as created for and by middle class white men, at the exclusion of the lower class, people of color, and women.

In the categorism model, powerlessness is split into the two facets called Denial of Agency and Voice Appropriation.

See also Power relations.