A Tsunami in History
I find it quite amazing how even though women were legallyallowed to vote in 1920, men still found ways to exclude as much women as possible, especially those that they truly believed did not deserve it. “Some areas used Jim Crow requirements, like poll taxes and literacy tests, specifically intended to keep poor African Americans from the voting booth.” Although these requirements did not only affect women, but also men who could not read, write, nor pay for the poll tax, they affected mostly the women because their husbands were more likely to have an education and had control over the money they worked for. Within the generation of the first wave of feminism, racism was still a big problem that I find was the reason for the separation between women of color and white women that were fighting for the same change towards gender equality, like the right to vote as men had. Rather than fighting together as a team, they fought alongside one another. In A Tsunami in History, Rowe-Finkbeiner, states that, “women still face social and economic inequalities each day; the glass ceiling has only cracked, not broken… (32).” I believe that if the women of color and white women fought together as a team, “the glass ceiling”, would have been much closer to breaking because they would have shown a togetherness that women hold, that no matter their social hierarchy, they did not fear to stand together as women and that would have been such a powerful message that they could have modeled to the men of their society. In the text, I read about that although white upper class and middle class women stood for only the changes that concerned them, and not of the issues concerning women of color and lower-income women, they both faces different struggles that were not recognized by many. We are much stronger when we stand together and I feel that a lot of women do not understand that because instead of just seeing that they were all fighting for the same cause, they saw each other through “race, class, nationality, sexual orientation (32).” Today in a lot of cases that is still the issue. In middle schools, high schools, or even colleges for example, students create social clicks in regards to their appearance, class rank, race, sexual orientation, interests, etc. I find it important that we all believe in different things, that we all have different cultures, different backgrounds, different interests, and that we were even born in different generations, etc. because like they say, “an eye for an eye, would make the whole world blind.” And without that we would of not known what feminism is. I agree, with the statement made in that text that read, “feminism is the F-word for many young women.” In high school when I first heard of what feminism was in the eyes of many of my class mates, I was never into it. A lot of my classmates that considered themselves feminists, held such hate towards men and that made me run away from anything I heard that had to do with feminism. But here I am today in a gender studies class in college in order to really understand what it means to be a feminist.
Fear of Feminism
It is a given that without the fight of the women from previous generations, we would not have much rights as women. I agree with Sue-Ellen’s point that, “we simply enjoy the rights and don't think [of] where they came from or even how they were obtained”. I think its because we were already born into having rights and so that makes us feel like they should just be handed to us. We did not have to struggle toward, for example, the right to vote, as women who had no say in the government whatsoever, or to even witness how much the women of previous generations fought for our rights. We get to watch some of their struggles through films and such but even that does not show how much work, courage, and dignity it took to fight against all the men and even some women at that, who did not believe in the movements of the women’s suffrage.
Sue-Ellen also goes on to explain that, “our youth is corrupt because of the fear to stand for feminism and the rights of women today”, yet I wonder where that fear has come from. Does it come from all the violence we have witnessed in the films of the women who fought and are still fighting for our rights today? Or is it that as women, we fear away from speaking our minds in order to not be ridiculed by society. I know that it scares me sometimes to go against what the government has set as regulations because they have so much authority, and sometimes they will act violently when large groups of people complain about what is being protested against, which can lead to matters getting out of hand. I do know some simple steps to begin with, like taking a stand, to then making valid points in order to persuade the crowds of society that what you are fighting for is for the better, no matter how long it takes. I have witnessed peers my age taking a stand and then getting discouraged to keep fighting for what they believe because others do not automatically agree. But that is not the attitude that gave us the right to vote as women today. The women were strong, powerful women, who did not even let police brutality get in their way when they were thrown in jails. Instead Alice Paul, for example, went on a hunger strike after being thrown in jail, and 30 other prisoners followed her lead, until they were all finally released. If anything, we need to learn to be just as strong, if not more. We need passion and determination in order to fight for what we believe.
Moreover, In the text, I also stumbled over a quote stating, “our culture allows women so little scope for development, for exploration, for testing the boundaries of what they can do and who they can be…” I do not agree with this quote because in the media, in our social lives, and at home etc., we are brought up to think certain ways about ourselves, but it is up to us to either accept that or disagree. There are many programs for example, that allow us as citizens to receive scholarship money. I use that as an example because before, women were not allowed an education, especially if you were a woman of color, and today we have the government helping us pay to get an education. Today, we are allowed an education just as men are, and it is up to us to run with it if we want it. If you want to become a doctor, an engineer, a police officer, get into communications, or even own your own business we are allowed to. We cannot let statistics stop us from pursuing careers that men are most likely to fulfill.