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19th and 20th Century Feminism Culture

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 1399 words Published: 8th Sep 2017

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All throughout history women have been degraded and suppressed for not being a man. Starting in the roman days, women had to be reliant on the men and only them. Their husband was in control of them and what they did and if they weren’t married, they were under their fathers control. For instance, women were unable to teach due to the fact it gave them too much authority and leadership (Mountjoy 14). It was expected in the nineteenth century society that men were able to go to work and be able to socialize with others, while women were expected to watch the kids and make dinner. Throughout the 19th to the 20th century, women, as a group, fought for equality and the right to vote. They also wanted to have more laws about rape and abortion. Especially since sometimes in trials, men never get enough time in prison while women don’t get enough closure. In the nineteenth century women right became more accounted for once they realized how males had much more choices than females. (Sailus).

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Literature was a major way that women’s feelings and thoughts towards men were brought up. From then on women became more educated on the topic and women were able to grasp how they needed greater equality. This is when women’s right activist started to share their opinions and used their voice as a way to connect with others. For example, in 1972 Mary Wollstonecraft published a book called, “A Vindication on the Rights of Women”. In this book she promoted the idea of sexual equality. Wollstonecraft inspired many others girl to become feminist. Feminist are people who believe in sexual equality, they could be women or men. Usually feminist are women mostly though. Some of the key feminist of the women’s right movement are Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady (Mountjoy 46).

Susan B. Anthony was one of the most famous woman involved in the women’s right movement because she helped add the nineteenth amendment in the U.S constitution in August,26, 1920. The nineteenth amendment allowed any sex to have the right to vote without being denied by the United States or by any state. This amendment symbolled victory for women for the most part, but still things needed to be done (DeLuzio 93). Elizabeth Cady was another social activist that had a huge contribution to creating equal rights for women. She helped create the first women’s right convention that was held in Seneca Fall, New York, in 1848. Cady also created the declaration of sentiments to inspire for women’s suffrage (Mountjoy 42).

Sociological perspective is a viewing of the behavior of groups in a systematic way (Thomas 4). Feminist can be looked at from a sociological perspective since you can look behind a common thought about this and see the hidden meaning. For example, people thought Feminist were stuck up girls who just wanted to be dramatic but when looked deeper into it, it is about women who want equality and to have the same rights as men. With this social perspective, it allowed more people to care about the topic and want to join into being a feminist. Sociological imagination is the ability to see the connection between the larger world and our personal lives (Thomas 5). Feminist can be seen by sociological imagination because in society women are thought to be not as smart and are less able to get jobs than men. This can be connected to someone’s personal life because every day a girl can say in school most teachers expect the boys to do better in a math test than a girl. This affected the world by people being able to relate to these situations and understanding how women felt.

In chapter two we learn about ethnocentrism, which is the tendency to view one’s own group or culture as superior to others (Thomas 35). The feminist in the nineteenth century demonstrate this by seeming more important than African Americans. During the nineteenth and twentieth century African Americans weren’t treated with respect and were thought of less than Caucasian people. Women acted as if they needed their rights more than African Americans, when in reality African Americans were treated worse. Although African Americans were having trouble, African American women still joined the feminist movement and protested equality with them (DeLuzio 29). Feminist also demonstrate ethnocentrism by making them seem better than men. With all of these protest, conventions and books being created, it made women seem as if men were horrible and didn’t do anything for them. The power women were able to gain through this movement, allowed others to see how much better women were and that they weren’t getting credited and awarded. When women were acknowledged they were able to gain more freedom and rights, which changed the world (DeLuzio 133).

A counterculture is a group that rejects the values, norms, and practices of the larger society and replace them with their own cultural pattern (Thomas 39). Feminist in the nineteenth century and twentieth century represent a counterculture because they reject norms and values of society. The group rejects the shared rules of conduct by taking actions in a situation and being the leader, when the usual norm was to lay back and let the men do everything (Mountjoy 14). For example, Carrie Chapman Catt took leadership into her own hands and created League Women voters, this promoted social welfare bills, protected legislative for women and eliminated discriminatory laws (DeLuzio 134).Feminist reject values by believing women sticking up for themselves were a good thing and letting men have more rights than them were bad. Back then, women sticking up for themselves was unusual and unheard of and wouldn’t be taken seriously. For instance, creating confrontation and fighting back was thought as not lady like but in the counterculture women saying things back was thought as empowering and heroic (Sailus). When Pauli Murray decided to speak up and use her voice to talk about how she was denied from Harvard University for being a girl, it expanded the meaning of freedom and justice for women but also surprised the world because most African American women wouldn’t talk about that (DeLuzio 194).

Cultural relativism is the belief that a group or culture should be judged by their own standards and not by others. Feminist behaved in the manner because of cultural relativism. They are justified because they were just looking to have rights and make people see gender relations. If they were judged by other standards, people would think that it was strange and stupid to expect equality. In a male dominated society, especially in different countries, they would look at this counterculture and be surprised. For instance, the Arapesh women were always given husband at a young age and then given at home jobs. Since this was the Arapesh tradition, people in America would judge Feminist because they want to have gender equality (Thomas 32). This is why cultural relativism is a good thing because women in the United States were able to earn equality without having to worry about being compared to other cultures.

In my own opinion, I agree with my counterculture’s philosophy. I agree mostly because I am a female and I think women should have the same rights as men. I disagree on how useless women were treated back then. For example, when I learned women were never able to do certain careers because of men being worried women would be given leadership. I am actually very thankful for this group. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to vote or get the education I am able to obtain now. I would have to stay at home and deal with cooking and taking care of kids. This counterculture allowed me to aspire to go into the engineering field because I realized I could do it, although most men overpopulate the engineering field.

Work Cited

DeLuzio, Crista. Women’s Rights . ABC-CLIO, 2010.

Mountjoy, Shane. The Women’s Right Movement. New York City: Infobase Publishing, 2008.

Sailus, Christopher. Study.com. n.d. 9 March 2017.

Thomas, W. LaVerbe. Holt Sociology. Holt,Rineheart and Winston, 2003. textbook.


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