We say America is the land of the free and brave, but can we really be free when we do not have equal rights for one another? One of the first founding ladies of the United States must have been Abigail Adams which on the 31st of March of 1776 told John Adams to “Remember the Ladies.” Her goal was to remember that women had a huge impact in the lives of men and would work with them together so to take them into consideration.
An important thing to remember about this date is that it was taking place at about the same time as the birth of the nation. Going on, in the preamble to the Constitution of 1787, the new republic undertook to ‘ensure for ourselves and our descendants the benefits of Liberty.’ However, some groups were left out of this statement of principles, for example, women.
Even though woman play such an important part in our everyday life, we do not value them for everything they have given us, we take women for granted and tend to accept the things they do for us as a grain of salt.
In high scoring cultures, there seems to be relatively little role overlap; men are supposed to provide for their families, be the head of the family and do manly tasks while women are to be a stay at home mom who tends the house and nothing more than that. Equality now takes a greater impact on society than it ever has and we have feminist like Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz to thank for that.
The awakening of the First Feminist Wave is found in the evangelical campaigns against alcohol and slavery, at the beginning of the 19th century. These movements were open to women’s participation.
As a result of this protagonism, the first abolitionist women’s association emerged in 1832, since white women identified with the special vulnerability of slaves. Many people would refer to feminism or feminist women as extremists or lesbians who hate and want to kill all men because they say they are physically or emotionally frustrated, they also dare to say that feminism is the same as machismo but on the contrary, they want to destabilize the good coexistence in society, totally wrong questions. The woman in the nineteenth century served only for domestic work, as for women it was very hard to do jobs and be able to make a career because it was believed that women did not have the necessary strength as men. Towards the end of the 19th century Women abandoned their dreams of becoming mothers and wives, to become workers and professionals, struggling to break the chains that subjected them to a humiliating life.
This was the first case of where women began to take up higher roles other than housewife. It was only at the end of the 19th century and after the First World War, that women began to join university education and to participate with their work in certain specific areas. During WWI there were 33,000 women that served as nurses and support staff officially in the military and it was recorded that more than 400 nurses died in the line of duty. As discussed during lecture, the Second World War produced a new industrial revolution with the appearance of the assembly line and series production and the emergence of large factories of armaments, aircraft and war material. These factories give rise to the massive manufacture of household appliances after the war. The place of men, assimilated to the armed forces, was occupied by women, and due to the circumstances their new role in the factories was socially accepted.
During WWII more women participated in the aid and helped making the weapons for the army. Helping out gave women the pride of being there with the men and keeping strong the USA, which is why many Rosie the Riveter posters were hung with the caption, “We can Do it!” The Second World War was without a doubt the greatest tragedy of humanity in the 20th century and changed the destinies of hundreds of millions of men and women. Everyone suffered no less than the men, yet the war also implemented many obstacles in their lives: mothers, wives, daughters and sisters of those who left the front were forced not only to do their routine tasks -something almost impossible to achieve-, but to face face to face with the horror of the war, already with a rifle in its hands or giving support in the battlefield. Societies from all over the world looked forward to the outbreak of World War II with enthusiasm and fear, but ready to face Nazism.
During the Second World War, Rosie the Riveter became a national icon for both men and women alike. Men appreciated her (a symbol for women) for being strong and helping out making the guns bombs and most importantly having their backs in their homeland. This poster was representing the women who worked in factories and shipyards these women produced munitions and war supplies. The women began taking entirely new jobs which were to replace the male workers who had been recruited to join the military. Rosie the Riveter is now shown to be a symbol of American feminism and women’s economic power. Both Britain and Australia also had women that also represented the power and pride they had for their country and the men that were fighting for them. A female icon would help everyone out from the veterans themselves to the people who stay back. We can make the comparison to the veterans that fought for us during these wars to heros.
Superheros have taken up a large part of our young imaginations, with the goal to teach us about how even without noticing there is someone looking after you. As we go back in time we are able to see how a womens role in society not only differed from household to household but from people to people. In the example of Puritan women, as studied in class, we were able to see that for this given time (16th and 17th century) women had almost as much power as men, it was actually very common to see women doing the same work as men in Puritan Society. Puritans believed in hard work and labor which is why men would grow crops and tend livestock and woman would also be part of this lifestyle and would also tend the house duties and teach their children about and how to read the bible.
In the Wampanoag tribe, women also had the role to prepare food and maintain a proper household while men would again provide for their families. Also, in the Wampanoag culture, both women and men could hold the position of sachem. Sachem was the position of chief of the tribe, or leader. And it was even said that in the absence of a suitable male heir, it was not uncommon among the Wampanoag for a woman to hold this position. More recently, towards the 50s, women began to play a much bigger role in American life. The Miss America Pageant became very popularized during the 50s and grew to have as much of an impact on American lifestyle as the superbowl. The reason for why the Miss America Pageant began was to keep tourists around for a few more weeks at the Atlantic City Boardwalk.
This Pageant also helped women grow visibly in American Culture and through the years helped us as individuals see that women are as smart if not smarter than men. Winning the title of Miss America granted you with the privilege to be set for life. Things you could get out of being Miss America were such as popularity, college scholarships confidence, and even the position of being a role model. The competition is now diverse and shows the talent every individual who participates has, whereas before it would just sexualize women. The contest would use body image and skin color to determine who was the best and represented American Values, there was a very limited window for opportunity. And the pressure to conform was very high as every girl was very similar to one another. In 1921 the first Miss America Pageant, was won by 15 year old Margaret Gorman.
A very young female winning such a powerful title. All in all, there is no doubt that women have played an important role in our everyday lives that have helped us get to where we are today. From the Colonial times and women having power over the tribe or Puritan women sharing the same work as men, equality is something they sought to get and have slowly been achieving it. Just as in the movie Baby Face, “using your power as a woman to move up in society” is what would get you to where you wanted to be. Climbing the social ladder the only way that was possible till that point in time. Through the use of The Miss America Pageant or Rosie the Riveter we as men have come to acknowledge how in fact women are the structure of the society we live in today.