Week of November 16-20 (women's rights)
Week of November 16-20 (women's rights) HIST 2020
Popular in Survey of United States History Since 1877
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This 27 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kendall Mansfield on Friday November 20, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 2020 at Auburn University taught by Jennifer E. Brooks in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 46 views. For similar materials see Survey of United States History Since 1877 in History at Auburn University.
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Date Created: 11/20/15
Domestic Front: Historical Context: the social movement of second wave feminism/women’s movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s Not a movement that originates during this time: - Part of the civil rights movement: many of the same political and civil issues that effected African Americans affected women in the same ways - Females of color had it twice as hard Origins of US: women pushing to be included in the civil political body being formed as a nation - Abigail Adams: helped husband John Adams write about what women’s role would be - Spinning Cloth: encouragement of women to make their own thread and cloth so they did not have to rely on the British for those things - Citizen Roles: women become responsible for educating their children under republican values - They did not get the vote: always organizing these issues throughout the history of the US New phase: new phase starts in the 1960’s First wave: pivotal events in 1848 in New York women suffragists organized a convention (Susan B Anthony) talking about the right to vote and civil equality Declaration of Sentiments: read almost verbatim to the Declaration of Independence - Beginning of modern women’s movement 1865/1866: A lot of women that were organizing middle and upper class white women some African American women were pushing for women’s rights were also part of the abolitionist movement Issue of Women’s Suffrage: put on the backburner for other issues in the US – use energy for abolition - If slavery is abolished: African Americans will be given civil equality and women will be included - 14 , 15th, and 16 Amendments: more momentum for women to organize themselves No federal focus on Women since 1920 Gender-based discrimination permeated American society, economy, politics, and culture Not all Women’s issues are the same: Middle class and working class women would have different issues Ethnic diversity: - Between wthtes - Early 18 century difference in identities at play Industrial Revolution: diversification of occupations and more women working in public occupations over time Important wars in 20 Century: ability of women to work in formerly male jobs lends to more political significance as a citizen Main accomplishment of WWI: - Women’s right to vote 19 Amendment in 1920 - When women get the vote there is a mix of identity – no unified women’s votes Political impact of women: is diffused because of their other identities - Issues of equality do not really change - Leave workforce either willingly or unwillingly when men return from WWI - Return to women’s work from a high paying job to something like a maid, cook, or teacher WWII: Even bigger increases of women moving into male occupations and more stay in the workforce when the men return - By law the men’s job status is protected either your same job or one close to what it was - Women shift out of the workforce into gender-typed occupations Numbers: in WWII the number of women workers doesn’t decline like it did after WWI - More married women working after WWII Contradiction: - Encountering more discrimination and inequality in wages and treatment at work - More face to face with gender discrimination - Popular culture is saying women should stay at home Not reality: shifting towards dual income families – ideal in popular culture is different Movement about Women and Inequality in the 1960’s and 1970’s when they gained the Vote in 1920 In 1960 when JFK took office it was still an issue on the backburner and no legislation had been in-acted towards women since 1920 - Popular language: had no sexist terms in 1960 and before - Ms. (product of second wave feminism – Ms. Magazine) Had not been used before it was either Miss or Mrs. – defined by either being married or unmarried - No rape crisis shelters, no women’s studies, no domestic violence programs - More than 10,000 women died due to back alley illegal abortions - All changed by 1975 shorter period of time for a significant number of achievements (15 years) o Building on the precedent of the Civil rights movement Roots of Change: Demographics by/in 1960’s: - Birthrate declining, and fewer children o 1900: married by 22 and would have 3-4 kids § Many women had more children than that o Life expectancy: 60 -62 years of age § Most adult life was spent rearing children o 1960: marrying around 22 and would have 1-2 kids § Birthrate declined after the baby boom § Peak of postwar baby boom: 25 births per thousand women, then 21 o Life expectancy: was moved up to 80 § More adult years not rearing children at home • 40 years of adult life spent not raising children • Accounts for the rise of women in the workforce • No such thing as public subsidized child care o Comes from the great society and feminist movement § Either family helped out with taking care of the kids or the women stayed out of the workforce Increase in female workers: more women entered the workforce due to WWI and WWII Increase in # of college-educated women: - 1960: women were 30% of the public education and became the majority like it is today Increase in rates of divorce: - Instability of marriage; steadily increased since - Now its over ½ of marriages end in divorce o 1900: 8 out of every 100 marriages would end in divorce o 1980: 52 out of 100 marriages would end in divorce - Marriage was no longer assumed to be the pivotal event in a woman’s life - When there are not laws that protect women - Ever-Married Women: women who were married and their status of that marriage effects their status in one way or another for the rest of their live - Hard to track in a census: either women are single or married o Results in: structural gender discrimination Increase in # of female-headed households in poverty: - No laws that protect alimony or Child support payments - A man could divorce his wife with no legal obligation to support his family before second wave feminism Economic well being of Men vs. Women: - Homeward bound author said that: o Men: got divorced and their financial well being increased by 40% o Women: got divorced and their financial well being decreased by 75% Loosening restrictions of the 1960s: - Thought of as the sexual revolution because there is nothing to do away with structural inequalities - Do not have child care centers: if there is no family to help out the women would have to pay for it and there are no laws forcing the ex-husband to pay child support - Leaves women without a way to get a job: women did not think about the chance of divorce and thought they would be a stay at home mom Massive gender discrimination: limited occupations where employers would hire women Women: held jobs in the service sectors in restaurants stores, as maids - Paid a lot less than the jobs that were given to men – a lot of the time were part time work JFK: in 1960 he is elected to office - 1961: JFK’s first domestic efforts establishes his place on the status of women Catalysts: - Kennedy Commission of Women: 1961 o Lead by Eleanor Roosevelt o Draws national attention to the issue and sets of state commission that creates a network of women in public life that are talking about these issues - Non Conformity: not popular o Always the problem of being seen as crazy or a communist seen as questioning the American Way of Life/ Capitalism - The Feminist Mystique: 1963 o Betty Friedan: college educated women who went to Brown an Ivy-League school § Gets married and pulls out of having a professional career and lives the suburban ideal and was an activist – discovers that being a white middle-class women in suburbia is not enjoyable and writes about her experiences in the 1950’s and early 1960’s § Expresses dissatisfaction with her life – published in good housekeeping § Book gives voice to feelings of discontent isolation of women who do not conform to the suburban ideal well – significant number of women who identify § “The problem that has no name” § When she publishes this she gets letters from women all over the US telling her they feel the same – one women said she felt desperate and felt as though she had no identity Central text and many women are introduced to modern feminism: - Book clubs start to form - Mechanism of consciousness raising: way into the feminist movement for a lot of them (sororities may have come from this) Limits to Legislative reform: lack of enforcement Legislation is passed: in 1964 – civil rights act and equal pay act - Congressmen add women to the civil rights act to derail the act and it surprisingly passes - Not implemented rapidly – have trouble with enforcement Gender rights issues and civil rights: delay in action Disappointment in CRM Anti War Movement: - A lot of activists in the Civil Rights Movement were women - Discovered in these movements that women could put their lives on the line - The leadership at the local state and national level were men o The duties they were assigned were disappointing to them and were viewed as women- type duties Two paths of modern feminism: - NOW: o Formed in 1966 o National Organization for Women – civil rights organization § 25% of members are men o Civil rights focus: civil and political inequality is the focus o Dedicates itself to bring women into mainstream society and have equal rights and opportunities as men o Still around and is the largest Feminist organization o Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan important and influential members o 1848-1865: same reaction and issues of gender inequality are not as important as racial issues o Stokely Carmichael: president of SNCC § When women raise an issue about gender he says: “the best place for women is on their back” § They should be here to service the male activists o Women get education from these movements: how to organize, network, civil disobedience o People with experience who start to work together and move to form their own group dedicated to gender issues - Liberationists: o Transforming society and culture o Focused on broader more comprehensive issues in society § Transform the way we live together o Popular media is the image of liberationists o More public protests and rally that were more provocative: § Bra burners: like anti war burning cards § Protest at beauty pageants § Captures more public attention Two streams converging in early 1970’s: – converge into one movement Sometimes they come together sometimes they are in conflict Hollitz Chapter 12 - Gender, Ideology, and Historical Change: Explaining the Women’s Movement: Civil Rights Movement: - Had moved north by the mid-1960’s Phyllis McGinely: - Best selling poet - Won a Pulitzer Prize - Exposed growing doubts by 1965 that women could only find happiness at home Betty Friedan: - “The college-educated woman who seeks fulfillment in domesticity will never find it” - Time Magazine: described her attitude as “tinged with envy” - Asserted that education and employment outside of the home were the solutions for the unhappiness and lack of self-esteem most women experienced - President of NOW - “It’s not a movement, it’s a state of mind” What gave rise to a women’s movement that caught most American’s off guard in the 1960’s? Setting: Women’s Liberation Movement: the name given to the protest by 1970 - Had little appeal for many black, Hispanic, and working class women, whose equality was seen in economic or racial terms, instead of being part of the gender problem - Also known as: o Women’s Rights Movement o Feminist Protest o Women’s Movement - The failure to pin a name to the movement during the 1960’s and 1970’s reveals something about it: o It was a movement in the loosest sense possible Influences that Affected the Analysis of the Gender Problem: - Social class - Education - Occupation - Marital status - Sexual orientation o Newsweek: in 1970 described it as “ a very loose designation for a multiplicity of small groups led by a multiplicity of women” o Participants might agree that women were subject to sexism and sexual discrimination and because of this were unable to enjoy full equality in American society National Organization for Women: - Led by president Betty Friedan - Made up of professional women who faced discrimination in the job market and felt bridled by traditional attitudes concerning women’s domestic duties - Denied hostility towards men - Called for: an equal partnership of the sexes and pressed to end sexual discrimination through such measures as the Equal Rights Amendment - Late-1960’s: Now was challenged with different analyses of women’s oppression and alternative responses to it o Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement and Anti-War movements, New Left political organizations, and radical feminists dismissed NOW’s efforts to end the sexual discrimination through political action and thought of them as inefficient o Pointed out that gaining equality in the workplace, political arena, media, and everywhere else in the “public” wasn’t enough o If there was not equality in the “private” sector of domestic relations – they thought that women would be expected to “do it all” - Radical feminists: o Viewed NOW’s legislative solutions as “too narrow” and thought that with them women couldn’t be truly liberated without radically reconstructing society o Some said equality could only be achieved by rejecting capitalism o Most radical feminists rather than advancing economic radicalism advanced cultural radicalism o Emphasized the oppressive nature of a male-dominated society and the need to view all relations between men and women in political terms o Moderate Feminists: § Egalitarian ethic: advocated the liberation of women from an ideology od domesticity o Radical Feminists: § Liberation ethic: guided by the ideal of gender equality Both radical and moderate feminists opposed sexism - Kate Millett and Susan Brownmiller: argued that women could liberate themselves through communal living arrangements and ending women’s function as child bearers - Radicalesbians: insisted that the problem was in heterosexual relations - Mid-1970’s: thousands of feminist groups raising numerous issues supported by both sides, including - o Legal abortion o Domestic violence o Women’s health o Child care - 1975: the state of mind that Friedan spoke of had influenced public consciousness - The awareness of women’s issue was raised by articles and books written by: o Kate Millett o Gloria Steinem o Robin Morgan - Feminism had gained legitimacy – but not in the radical sense of eliminating gender equality - Late-1970’s: o Law and court decisions embodied many demands of the women’s movement § Women had succeeded in changing their status as a group and were changing the lives of countless men and women Investigation: Feminist Revolt of the 1960’s and 1970’s: majority of leaders and participants were middle class women - Like the earlier women’s suffrage movement that gained the right to vote this second wave of the movement rebelled against an ideology at the same time that it was divided by ideology - Arose a time of wide-spread unrest just like the previous Pre-Civil War movement had This chapter will examine: - What led many women to become involved in the women’s movement that was seeking legal equality as well as equal treatment in the workplace - Some women became feminists that were seeking to completely redefine the meaning of gender Secondary Sources: Cold War Ideology and the Rise of Feminism (1988) – Elaine Tyler May: - Cold War Politics and the ideology and public policies that it created were crucial in the shaping of postwar family life as well as gender roles - The ideology of the Cold War ad the Domestic Revival shared a common thread: security, which resulted in the two reinforcing each other - Power political consensus: supported cold war policies abroad and anti communism at home fueled conformity to the suburban household ideal - Domestic ideology: encouraged private solutions to social problems and further weakened the potential of challenges to the Cold War Consensus - Personal adaptation personalized this era - Post-war Domesticity never fully delivered or kept its promises – Baby boomers abandoned the containment ethos when they came of age to take action - Young female adults in the 1960’s were challenged by the cold war imperatives as well as the domestic ideology that came with it – but they forged new paths to fulfill the dreams their parents had not been able to reach o Friedan urged them to break away from the domestic confines they were in and to go back to school, pursue careers, and revive the vision of female independence that was so alive before WWII o Friedan’s book – The Feminine Mystique in a way finally admitted that “the emperor had no clothes and soon a large support group joined in the effort § In response to the book many women started to write to Friedan – most of the writers were children of activist parents who had fought for equal rights earlier in the century o The book also sparked readers to comment on the domesticity and Cold War politics, as well as the connection between men and women’s fates o One woman believed that political activism was the only way to bring women out of their “cozy little cocoons in America”, but she knew that challenges to women’s roles would be seen as un- American. § She said that “women needed to make determined efforts to free themselves… they make expect hostility from conservative elements politically as well as from their fellow timid sisters and timid men. She isn’t advocating that women become Communist sympathizers, but was expecting that progressive women would be so labeled” o Many women who wrote to Friedan were women who were able to respond to her call to self-realization through education and careers, those who were affluent and in some cases had husbands that provided them with money to do these things that would give them self-fulfillment o Other women were troubled by Friedan’s book – they saw it as ok to have ambitions but it was another thing to work out of necessity, face sex-segregated job markets, and do household jobs as well. o It was expressed by one woman that “the false emphasis that is placed on the entire matter of women fulfilling themselves through a career. o The vast majority of workingwomen do not have careers. They have jobs, just like men. They work for their money to buy things that their families need, and if they are lucky they enjoy their job and are able to find satisfaction in doing them. But it is hard to hold a commercial job, raise a family and keep a house” - Domestic containment was not going to die a fast or natural death – it was very clearly doomed from its internal contradictions - In the early 1960’s: it was not evident that a unique era in history was coming to an end – there were signs that the postwar consensus was beginning to crack, but they were barely noticeable and no more evident than they were in the 1950’s - Oral contraceptives became available for the first time in 1960 o Later on “the Pill” would be blamed for the sexual revolution - Women Strike for Peace: on November 1, 1961 50,000 American housewives walked out of their jobs and homes in protest – they were among the first postwar middle-class white people to organize against the social and political status quo o Several leaders of the strike were part of a small group of feminists that had worked on behalf of women’s rights during the 1940’s and 1950’s o Within a year the group grew to have several hundred thousand members - Anticommunists were worried that the strike signaled the “pro-reds” had moved in on their mothers and were using them for their own purposes. o The FBI kept the group under close surveillance since its start in 1961 - A year later Women Strike for Peace was called before the Un-American Activities Committee – where the women carried the banner of motherhood into politics - In 1961 JFK established the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and appointed Eleanor Roosevelt as the chair - In the 3 years following the creation of this commission Congress passed the: o Equal Pay Act o Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as race, color, religion and national origin o In addition the US and the Soviet Union signed the first treaty banning the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons - During this time the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) gained thousands of members in different chapters across the country o The SDS was inspired largely by the civil rights movement o Out of this student movement came the antiwar movement and new feminism - By the late 1960’s there were hundreds of thousands of young activists that were mobilizing against gender assumptions and cold war policies - The attack on domestic containment and cold war ideology found expression in pop culture o The Feminine Mystique o Stanley Kubrick’s film: Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb – a satire that showed the madness of the cold war with American’s unresolved sexual neuroses § Some found the film offensive and un-American, critics as well as audiences were mostly wildly enthusiastic - By the end of the 1960’s the feminist movement had pushed well beyond Friedan’s call for self-realization and into a full-fledged assault on sexism in all its forms - The new feminists demanded to have access to professional occupations and skilled jobs, protested low wages, and worked for equal pay - There were many consciousness-raising groups that formed all over the US that: o Challenged gender division of labor in the home o Railed against the sexual double standard - In 1970: there was a survey of women entering an open-admission, tuition free public university o Most saw their future role as “married career woman with children” § A huge change from when the majority of women saw their future as a homemaker in the 1950’s - All women still experienced inequalities at work and at home o Although, political activism did open up new opportunities for women to be able to achieve autonomy that was not available for their mothers § Who were constrained by tremendous cultural and economic pressures to conform to domestic containment – gave up their personal independence and ambitions - Many women abandoned security and material comfort to follow a path that brought them face to face with hardship and pervasive discrimination o Their mothers had paid a price for security and independence while their daughters paid a price for autonomy and independence § In both cases their options were limited due to the lack of equality for women - Political goals were partially achieved: in the 1960’s the “silent majority” rose up against the noisy, youthful minority and in 1968 Nixon was elected as president and kept the Cold War Ideology remained a powerful force in national politics o Even though it had suffered a serious blow by the horrible war in Vietnam - The New Right emerged in the 1970’s and 1980’s by no accident during the wake of feminism the sexual revolution, and the peace movement of the 1960’s - The New Right: powerful political force with the dual aims of reviving the cold war and reassuring the ideology of domesticity o Gained strength by requiring militance in foreign policy, opposing the Equal Rights Act and condemning student radicalism, the counterculture, feminism, and the sexual revolution - Gender, family, and national politics are still intertwined in the ongoing saga of postwar cultural change Women’s Liberation and Sixties Radicalism (2002)– Alice Echols: - September 7, 1968: 100 women’s liberation activists went to Atlantic City to protest the Miss America Pageant – saying that its promotion of physical attractiveness as the primary measure of women’s worth was wrong o They tried to convince the crowd of the tyranny of beauty was only one of the many ways that women’s bodies were colonized o They also said that the women were appraised and judged like animals at a county fair - They refused to speak to male reporters which challenged the sexual division in the workforce and forced the newspaper editors who wanted to cover the stories to send in their female reporters to cover the “hard” news instead of having them work on society pieces - The protestors set up a “Freedom Trash Can” o The protestors were yelled at, harassed, and called names like “man-haters” and “commies” § One man even went as far as to say it would be better if they put themselves in the trash can instead of the shoes, bras, and other things they put inside the trash can o They planned to burn the trash can and its contents, but were not able due to a city ordinance that prohibited bonfires on the boardwalk o Although no bras were burned on the boardwalk the image of bra burning is an important symbol of the women’s movement o In the trash can they put “various instruments of torture” § High heels § Bras § Girdles § Hair curlers § False eyelashes § Typing books § Magazines like Cosmopolitan, Playboy, and Ladies Home Journal - The women’s liberation was becoming almost as popular as the antiwar movement - Even though they suffered verbal abuse the women’s liberationists felt a joy as they began to mobilize on their own and described the movement as “an ecstasy of discussion” - Robin Morgan: claimed that the Miss America protest announced their existence to the world - The Miss America protest achieved the status of a movement both to its participants and to the media o It was an important moment of the 1960’s - Women’s discontent during the 1960’s was caused by a broad range of things: o Most notably the large number of women having to join the paid labor force due to the need for a second income to buy things that required higher incomes - like: § Homes and cars § Refrigerators and washing machines § Telephones and multiple TVs § Providing a college education for children - By 1960 30.5% of all wives worked for wages - The growing labor force participation of women also reflected larger structural shifts in the US economy - The growing labor force participation was facilitated by the growing number of women graduating from college and the introduction of the birth control pill in 1960 - Ideas about women’s role in society were conventional throughout the 1950’s and early 1960’s and were held there by the ideology of domesticity - Women had to endure the low value jobs they were given, low pay and the double burden of having a job and taking care of a home and family - Some women felt the contradiction between the realities of paid work and higher education on the other hand, and the still pervasive ideology of domesticity which had become irreconcilable - Without the opposition the women’s movement may not have been as effective or even developed for social change at all - The Women’s liberationists shared the new leftist’s and black radicals rejection of liberalism and as a consequence often went to great lengths to distinguish themselves from the liberal feminists of NOW o NOW was formed in 1966 to push the federal gov’t to enforce the 1964 Civil Rights Act outlawing sex discrimination and the prohibition of employment discrimination o NOW was integrationist and had an access oriented approach that the liberationists felt ignored the racial and class inequalities that were the very foundation of the “mainstream” that NOW was trying to integrate o Robin Morgan: stated that NOW was essentially an organization that wants reforms in the second-class citizenship of women § This is how NOW differs drastically from the Liberationists - Shulamith Firestone: said it had the political stance as “untenable even in terms of immediate political gains” and that it was “more of a leftover of the old feminism rather than a model of the new” - The radicalism of the 1960’s was compelling because it promised to transform the lives of many women - Jerry Rubin: said that politics is how you live your life, not who you vote for - Overtime one’s self-presentation, marital status, and sexual preference frequently came to determine one’s standings or ranking in the movement o There was at one point a limit of how many married women could be in a group in a New York radical group - Consciousness-raising: was extremely successful in exposing the insidiousness of sexism and in the engendering a sense of identity and solidarity among the largely white, middle-class women who participated in “c-r groups” - The world today: while its not a feminist utopia it is a far different, in many aspects a much fairer, world than what was confronted in 1967 Primary Sources: The Problem that has No Name (1963) – Betty Friedan: - This primary source is almost verbatim copied from the Declaration of Independence o Gives a clear vision of what the NOW members wish to gain through the Women’s Movement Civil Rights and the Rise of Feminism (1987) – Mary King: - A list of 7 times that men were superior to women in the workforce o “ Assumptions of male superiority are as widespread and deep rooted and every much as crippling to the woman as assumptions of white supremacy are to the Negro” NOW’s Statement of Purpose (1966): - “ We, men and women who hereby constitute ourselves as the National Organization for Women, believe that the time has come for a new movement toward true equality for all women in America, and toward a fully equal partnership of the sexes, as part of the world-wide revolution of human rights now taking place within and beyond our national borders” - “NOW is dedicated to the proposition that women first and foremost are human beings, who, like all other people in our society, must have the chance to develop their fullest human potential. We believe that women can achieve such equality only by accepting to the full challenges and responsibilities they share with all other people in our society, as part of the decision-making mainstream of American political, economic, and social life” - “We organize to initiate or support action, nationally or in any part of this nation, by individuals or organizations, to break through the silken curtain of prejudice and discrimination against women in government, industry, the professions, the churches, the political parties, the judiciary, the labor unions, in education, science, medicine, law, religion and every other field of importance in American society” - “We believe that the power of the American law, and the protection guaranteed by the US constitution to the civil rights of all individuals, must be effectively applied and enforced to isolate and remove patterns of sex discrimination, to ensure equality of opportunity in employment and education, and equality of civil and political rights and responsibilities on behalf of women, as well as for Negroes and other deprived groups” - “We do not accept the token appointment of a few women to high-level positions in government and industry as a substitute for the serious continuing effort to recruit and advance women according to their individual abilities” - “We believe that this nation has a capacity at least as great as other nations, to innovate new social institutions which will enable women to enjoy true equality of opportunity and responsibility in society, without conflict with their responsibilities as mothers and homemakers” - “We reject the current assumptions that a man must carry the sole burden of supporting himself, his wife, and a family, and that a woman is automatically entitled to lifelong support by a man upon her marriage, or that marriage, home and family are primarily woman’s world and responsibility – hers, to dominate, his to support.” Redstockings Manifesto (1969): I. Women are finally uniting to achieve liberation from male supremacy after centuries of individual, as well as preliminary oppression a. The Redstocking Manifesto is dedicated to building unity and winning freedom for women. II. Women are under total oppression that affects every aspect of their lives – they are exploited as breeders, sexual objects, domestic servants, cheap labor and overall considered inferior beings. The behavior expected of them is enforced by the threat of violence. It has taken so long for them to realize the immense suffering going on throughout the nation concerning the political conditions they are in. It came to be known that the conflicts between men and women were political issues and needed to be solved collectively. III. Women identify their oppressors as men because male supremacy is the oldest, most basic form of domination. From Male supremacy stem all other forms of exploitation – racism, capitalism, imperialism and many more. Men dominate women and a few men dominate the rest. All the power structures throughout history are controlled by men and are male oriented. Men have controlled all economic, political, and cultural institutions and backed up their control by using physical force to keep women in an inferior position. All men, who in turn oppress women, enjoy the economic, sexual, and psychological benefits of male supremacy. What’s Wrong with ‘Equal Rights’ for Women (1972) – Phyllis Schlafly: - This primary source, the author views women as the most privileged class of people to ever live. The author also believe that American women have the most rights and rewards as well as the fewest duties and that their unique status is the result of a fortunate combination of circumstances. - 1. The Greatest Achievement of Women’s Rights: Women have the good fortune to live in a civilization that respects the family as the basic unit of society – which is part and parcel of American laws and customs. It is based on the fact of life – which cannot be erased by legislation or agitation. Its simple: women are able to have children and men are not. The greatest achievement of women’s rights is family. Family assures a woman the most precious and important right – the rights to keep her own baby and be supported and protected in the joy of watching her baby develop and grow. A man can search for decades for a feeling of accomplishment in his profession, while a woman can simply have a baby and feel a great sense of accomplishment – even at a young age. Women are fortunate enough to have the great legacy of the 10 commandments: “Honor your father and mother so that your days may be long.” A woman’s best social security are her children – they guarantee her benefits such as: old age, pension, unemployment compensation, worker’s compensation, and sick leave. A woman with a family has physical, financial, and emotional security that will last her for the rest of her life. - 2. The Financial Benefits of Chivalry: Women are privileged because they are the beneficiaries of a tradition of special respect for women dating back to the Christian Age of Chivalry. Good manners as well as more tangible things like money are evidence of this respect towards women. - 3. The Real Liberation of Women: American women are so well off due to the American free enterprise system that has produced remarkable inventors who have lifted the backbreaking women’s work form their shoulders. In other countries and times in history it was said that “other women have labored every waking hour – preparing food on wood burning stoves, making flour, baking bread in stone ovens, spinning yarn, making clothes, making soap. Doing the laundry by hand, heating irons, making candles for light and fires for warmth, and trying to nurse their babies through illness without medical care.” The real heroes of the liberation of women from the backbreaking work were not the women on TV but rather Thomas Edison, Elias Howe, Clarence Birdseye, and Henry Ford. Edison who invented electricity to give light to their homes and Howe who created the sewing machine, Birdseye who invented the process of freezing foods, and Ford who mass-produced cars – making them affordable for every American male or female. - 4. The Fraud of the Equal Rights Amendment: a movement for Women’s rights was suddenly everywhere and were talking about how women were afflicted and seen as inferior to men. The women’s movement leaders even went as far as to call marriage a form of slavery – saying that housework was menial and degrading and that women were discriminated against. The author wanted to set the record straight – it is the fraud of the century to claim that women are unfairly treated and downtrodden. The truth, according to her, is that American women have never had it so good – why should they lower themselves to “equal rights” when they already have a status of special privilege? The problem with the equal rights amendment is that it will make women subject to the draft as well as abolish a woman’s right to child support and alimony. Under the then present laws a man is always required to support his wife and each child he caused to be brought into the world. - 5. Women’s Libbers do NOT Speak for Us: the women’s liberation is not an honest effort to secure better jobs for women who want or need to work outside the home according to the author. Its just superficial “sweet talk” to win support for their radical “movement”. The women in the movement have the goal of making wives and mothers unhappy with their career and to make them feel like second class citizens and “abject slaves”. The libbers are promoting free sex instead of the type of slavery that is marriage, federal daycare centers instead of homes, and abortions instead of families. Why would a woman trade her special privileges and honored status for the ability to work in an office or an assembly line? The libbers according to the author do not speak for the majority of women in the US – American women do not want to be liberated from their husbands and children nor do they wish to trade in their birthright of the special privilege given to American women. The Combahee River Statement (1986): - Statement issued by a group of Black feminists that had been meeting together since 1974 that were involved in the process of defining and clarifying their politics, and at the same time doing political work within their group as well as in other progressive organizations and movements - General Statement of their Politics: they were actively committed to – struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression, and saw as their particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression were interlocking - Beginning in the late-1960’s a black feminist presence evolved most obviously in connection with the second wave of the American women’s movement - In 1973 Black feminists – mostly in New York – felt it necessary to form a separate black feminist group – the National Black Feminist Organization (NBFO) - Black feminist politics also have an obvious connection to movements in regards to Black liberation – especially those that formed in the 1960’s and 1970’s o Civil Rights Movement, Black Nationalism, and the Black Panthers - Many of the women involved in the movement’s lives were greatly changed by their ideologies, goals, and tactics used to achieve those goals o It was the experience and disillusionment within the liberation movements, as well as the experience on the periphery of the white male left that led to the need to develop a politics that was anti-racist – not like those of white women, and anti-sexist, like those of black and white men. - There was an undeniable genesis for Black feminism: the political realization that came from the personal experiences of individual lives of Black women o Many black women – feminist and non-feminist experienced sexual oppression constantly in day to day life - The focus that was put on their oppression was embodied in the concept of identity politics - They believed that the most profound and radical politics came directly out of their identities – as opposed to working to end someone else’s oppression o Sexual politics under a patriarchy was believed to be just as pervasive in the lives of black women as class and race - It was hard to separate race from class from sexual oppression because the vast majority of women experienced them simultaneously - Major Concern: racism was beginning to be publicly addressed in the white women’s movement - Black Feminists: were painfully aware of how little effort white women were making to understand and combat racism – which required among other things that they had a more superficial comprehension of race, color, and black history and culture - Eliminating Racism: in the white women’s movement is work for white women to do, but they continued to speak to and demand accountability on the issue The Sexual Revolution and Women’s Movement: The civil rights and antiwar movements brought about important changes to the 1960’s American Society On Women and Sex (1972) – Joyce Maynard: - The Sexual Revolution: safe and increasingly available contraceptives make premarital sex possible o Changing moral standards and an increased naturalness, made it a common place - Elegant Models of Sexual Freedom: Such as Julie Christie, Catherine Deneuve made it fashionable o Old Junior High Notion of Sex: it got done to you – the girl with the purple eye shadow just let it happen o Today: all kinds of problems in technique make the issue much more complicated for an inexperienced, media-blitzed girl Our Bodies, Ourselves (1973): History of the book: - It began in a small discussion group on “women and their bodies” as part of a conference for women in Boston in the spring of 1969 o The conference was on of the first gatherings of women who were meeting with the main intention of talking to other women § For many it was the first time they had joined together with other women to think about and discuss what they could do with their lives - The Doctors Group: the original name for the group of women who all felt the frustration and anger toward certain doctors and the medical maze in general o Initially the group wanted to do something about the doctors who were condescending, paternalistic, judgmental, and non- informative § The developed a summer project to research topics that they felt were pertinent to learning about their bodies and to discuss in the group what they learned from the research and finally to write papers that would be presented in the fall course for women on: women and their bodies • As the course developed the women gained the realization that they were fully capable of collecting, understanding, and evaluating medical information o In addition to this they realized the importance of being able to open up with other women and be able to share their feelings in relation to their bodies o In the book there is even a chapter on lesbianism - From the beginning of working on the book the women felt exhilarated and energized by their new knowledge o Finding out about their bodies and its needs, starting to take control over that aspect of their lives released an energy that over flowed into their work, friendships, relationships with men and women alike, marriages, and parenthood o Learning to understand, accept, and be responsible for their physical selves, they were freed of some of the preoccupations and were able to start using their untapped energy - Their image of themselves was on a firmer base, they were able to be better friends and lovers, better people, more self-confident, more autonomous, stronger and more whole as individuals The Politics of Housework (ca. 1970) – Pat Mainardi There is a huge difference in liberated women and the Women’s Liberation - Liberated Women: o Signals all kinds of goodies, to warm the hearts of the most radical men o Brings sex without marriage, sex before marriage, cozy housekeeping arrangements, and the self-content of knowing that you are a man who wants a doormat instead of a woman - Women’s Liberation: signals housework - In Mainardi’s Case: both husband and wife had careers and had to work a few days a week to earn enough to live on – so why shouldn’t they share the housework? o `She suggested it and he agreed – she notes that most men would have been “too hip” to turn the woman down flat § She goes on to say that woman are much more brainwashed than they realize: probably from too many years of seeing women on TV in pure bliss over their perfectly shined waxed floors or having a breakdown over a dirty shirt collar - Daily Chore List for Mainardi: o Buy groceries and carrying them home to put them away o Cooking meals and washing dishes and pots o Doing the laundry o Washing floors - Participatory Democracy: begins at home – remember when implementing politics o 1. He is feeling it more than you – the man is losing leisure and the woman is gaining it – oppression is measured in the mans resistance o 2. Many American men aren’t accustomed to doing repetitive work that does not result in a lasting or important achievement o 3. It’s a traumatic experience for someone who always thought of themselves as being against exploitation or oppression of any kind to realize that in daily life he had been accepting and implementing – as well as benefitting from – this very exploitation § The oldest form of oppression in history was the oppression of 50% of the population b the other 50% - Old Commodity: Standard American Housewife – all husband, home, and kids - The New Commodity: the liberated woman who has a lot of sex and a career o A career that can fit in with the household chores such as: § Painting § Pottery § Dancing Women’s Changing Education and Employment Experience: Statistical information reveals important changes that occurred in women’s lives Sex Ratios of High School and College Graduates in the United States (1940-1990): Women per 100 men - 1940: o High School Graduates: 112 o College Graduates: 70 - 1950: o High School Graduates: 110 o College Graduates: 30 - 1960: o High School Graduates: 108 o College Graduates: 78 - 1970: o High School Graduates: 104 o College Graduates: 80 - 1980: o High School Graduates: 105 o College Graduates: 100 - 1990: o High School Graduates: 100 o College Graduates: 112 Conclusion: - Time Magazine: deemed 1975 the “Year of the Women” - Newsweek Magazine: ran a story on the exploding field of women’s history - Most Important Consequence of the Women’s Movement: interest that was stimulated in uncovering women’s past o A person’s view of the past is shaped by the way people think about the present § As women started to think differently about their status in contemporary society they also began to think differently about their place in the past § Women were mostly excluded from history, a reflection of their subordinate position in American society • Like African Americans, women began to recapture their past when they began to fight for equality - The Women’s Movement: o Greatly stimulated the study of women’s history o Is now history itself - Women’s historians’ main goal is to bring women into the mainstream if the American past o They seek to understand how the women’s experience influenced and in turn was influenced by American society and culture o To understand the motivations of feminists, moreover, those influences can not be considered without the ideology that supports it o By making connections between the public and private sphere of family and everyday life – the women’s movement is an example of why historians must be interested in more than the activities of statesmen and generals - The Modern Women’s Movement: illustrates the importance of historian’s motivations - Although history may be written to serve the purpose of defending or attacking contemporary policies o Historians do not turn to the past merely to do so Explain the impact of economic, social, political, and cultural changes on women’s views about their status: How do the explanations of historians Elaine Tyler May and Alice Echols for the rise of the women’s movement differ? - Which one better explains its rise? - Why? - Are their explanations mutually exclusive? What do they primary sources reveal about the experiences that led many women to change their views about their status? - What did major cultural, political, and economic trends, including the civil rights and anti-war movements and sexual revolution have to do with the rise of the women’s movement? What do the sources reveal about the major goals of the women’s movement and the most important factors limiting their attainment? - How do May’s and Echols’s explanations for the limits of the women’s movement differ? May: May argues: - That the ideology of the cold war highlighted feminist issues in domestic containment and stresses of the cold war and Vietnam war made it hard to speak out about feminism - For the importance of domestic containment to the cold war and she focuses much more on feminism as a domestic household issue - Younger generation with a different reality and feminism emerges out of this o Feminism emerges as domestic containment of the cold war starts to fall apart § Challenged by antiwar movement - May tries to pin-point an exact reason and time for when feminism emerged Echols: Echols argues: - That Women’s discontent during the 1960’s was caused by a broad range of things - most notably the large number of women having to join the paid work force due to the need for a second income to buy things that required higher incomes such as cars, homes, TV, washing machines, and college tuition for their kids o NOW Purpose Statement and Our Bodies Our Selves § NOW: fight for – • Equal Employment Opportunities • Equal Pay Act • Equal Rights Amendment o Women’s liberation and liberated women: both sides supported Roe v. Wade in different ways § Liberated women: Radical Feminist • Redstockings Manifesto o Extortion of women’s bodies o Patriarchy o Roe v. Wade § Women’s liberation: wanted to equally split the women’s work between the men and women of the house • Politics of housework - Focus is on social – cultural elements of feminism such as the Miss America Pageant, Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War - Echols looks broadly and accounts for all the elements and shapes that feminism takes Can they come together? - You could use both to explain why discontent among women emerges in the 1960’s - Discontent is there, but it takes the decline of domestic containment for women to begin speaking up - Not just civil right, but social and cultural rights as well Language was an important aspect in relation to Women’s Rights: - Seen as a way to objectify women Medicine: majority of research and funding were used to benefit men - Wearing pink to raise awareness for breast cancer emerged from the Women’s movement - Try to slam capitalism by saying “ equality for medicine not for profit” Sisters of ‘77 - Shows diversity and the issues of interest of the women’s movement in the 1960’s and 1970 - November 18-21, 1977: National Women’s Conference - New wave of feminism: national organization of women The plan of action adopted at the 1977 National Women’s Conference featured 26 resolutions, or planks, on the following topics: - 1. Arts and humanities: Women should have equal opportunities in federal posts and equal access to arts grants - 2. Battered women: A national clearinghouse must be created to support local organizations helping battered women and working to prevent domestic violence. - 3. Business: More government contracts to women-owned businesses, which numbered less than one percent in 1977 - 4. Child abuse: More prevention, treatment and protective services - 5. Child Care: Care must be low cost and high quality - 6. Credit: The Equal Credit Opportunity Act must be enforced to make sure that women are no longer denied credit on the basis of gender - 7. Disabled Women: Equal access to education, training, employment, and child custody rights - 8. Education: More women in leadership positions and in textbooks. o Title IX must be enforced - 9. Elective and Appointive Office: More representation of women - 10. Employment: More job opportunities and less discrimination - 11. Equal Rights Amendment: The ERA must be ratified - 12. Health: Health insurance benefits must include family planning and other concerns relevant to women - 13. Home-makers: Must be covered under Social Security and have greater economic security, especially in the event of divorce or the death of a spouse - 14. Insurance: Eliminate practices that deny women coverage on the basis of gender - 15. International affairs: Increase the number of women in the departments of state and defense, aid women in developing nations and promote nuclear disarmament - 16. Media: More women in media jobs, especially in leadership positions - 17. Minority women: Eliminate discrimination, support affirmative action, guarantee tribal
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