Differences between gender behavior and roles have existed for centuries. Women in the United States during the 1800s to early 1900s were looked upon as housewives and caretakers, and usually stayed at home while men worked and made money. However, as time has progressed, the fight for women’s equality has constantly been changing our society’s gender roles. The path to social reconstruction and the struggle to achieve it has shown a positive result of activists’ attempts to mend the social gap. By looking at past events, both successes and failures, understanding and recognizing the path to equality will bring light upon the issues that have taken place in the United States. Key political events, demonstrations and protests, and war efforts that have occurred from 1890 to today will be highlighted.
Essentially, marriage in the 1700’s was seen merely as a means of birthing heirs and finding a way to financially support yourself, so it resulted in both men and women being devalued. It is universally known that women were often treated as inept and helpless rather than sophisticated people with autonomy and capabilities. In fact, during this time, “married women were consistently compared with minor children and the insane-- both categories of people considered incapable of caring for themselves. To marry a woman was, in one sense, to ‘adopt’ her-- or at least to adopt responsibility for all the circumstances of life with which she entered the marriage” (Teachman 39). Furthermore, when women got married, they would legally cease to exist.
During the 1930’s there was an overwhelming sense of preconceived ideas of gender roles and what place they maintained in society, men were expected to work in order to earn a living and provide for their families, while women were more likely to stay at home to look after the children and cook and clean until the man returns from work. For working class Americans and the poor, the situation was during the Great Depression and many people were out of work and had to resort to desperate measures in order to provide for their families. Contrast to the upper class of the time who went by greatly untouched by economic downfall and thus become increasingly more obliged to seek a wife in order to have a family and live what seemed to be the idea of a middle-class woman’s American dream to marry a wealthy man.
The fight against women’s oppression has gone through many challenges throughout the decades, one of the most iconic changes being the flapper era. Flappers are well known for embracing their new freedoms such as; drinking, smoking, dancing, being more sexually promiscuous, and not adhering to the expectations that their previous feminist mothers had recently laid just a decade earlier. As flappers gained and used these new freedoms and advancements, many of their conservative elders started to worry about the implications of their new carefree actions. To deal with the flapper's new behavior, the elders began describing flappers as a phase in life that was okay for young adults to go through , while still expecting them to settle down and become a wife and care for the home later in life.
The 1960s brought along important and beneficial changes to America, especially changes regarding gender roles and race relations. Even after World War II and the increasing tensions between the United States and Russia and Vietnam, America’s culture was changing faster than before. During the 1960s, gender roles changed for the better and race relations improved significantly.
Women in the 1930’s had much different lives and expectations than today. Due to the depression many people had to change their lives to support their families and that includes women. After the feminist movement of the 1920s, due to the depression, women were forced to return to their previous lives as submissive housewives although many were required to earn an income by getting a job.
From the 16th to 18th century European women experienced some level of change in their roles and attitudes towards them. Ideas women were still considered inferior to men still lingered and progress of equal rights still progressed slowly. Around the time the Enlightenment rolled around women were beginning to get involved in the workforce and taking on a new, much bigger role in society.
Many people have heard that women in the seventeenth century had little to no rights, and that would be almost correct. In Amsterdam, women had more rights than most of the women in Europe at the time, which really, was not much. An unmarried woman had more freedoms than their married counterparts, but being unmarried in this century still had downfalls. If an unmarried woman never wed or had children in her lifetime many people considered it to be a waste of her life. An unmarried woman was allowed her own property and businesses but if she was to ever marry, then the husband would assume ownership of it all. Women during this time were told to remain silent, to be seen but not heard. Women were often controlled by their fathers, brothers
In order to understand the position of women in Early Modern Europe, firstly we need to understand the society of this period. The society took place in Early Modern Europe was the patriarchy. How was the patriarchy? Patriarchy can be defined as a system which putting women in vassal position so as to put across the hierarchy and authority of men in an unquestioned way. The ideology which creates these kinds of policies largely based on how the family should be managed more precisely on how the father should manage it and how women should be, in the sixteenth century. On the other hand, these ideas were not produced in the family; although their relationships with family are reflected in the family,
The role of women in the 1920’s was to start to break free from their social cages. They were expected to be precious and helpless, but women of the “Roaring Twenties” were making dynamic changes. For example, “When passed in 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote” (Women in the 1920s in North Carolina). Although they were, by no means, completely liberated, in the 1920’s, women were beginning their escape from learned helplessness and the limitations that society enforced. F. Scott Fitzgerald demonstrated the chaos, complexity, and confusion that resulted from the inconsistency of the role that women were “supposed” to play and the role that women began to play.
Gender roles were reasserted in 1950s America postwar. Even if there was an increase in divorce rates popular culture and mythology upheld hetronormative marriage as a key to spiritual, financial and spiritual success. In the 1950s, the term “containment” referred to the foreign policy-driven containment of communism and atomic proliferation. In Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era (1988) Elaine Taylor May demonstrates a new version of containment prevalent in the domestic sphere. She gives a detailed description of the emergence of domestic containment-how it emerged and affected the lives of those who tried to conform to it, and how it unravelled in the wake of Vietnam’s era’s assault on cold war culture, when unwed mothers,
Picture it: New York, 1920, automobiles filled with flappers and Jazz music flooding the streets, a new age is here. Now this setting did not always occur in the country. The women would wear modest clothing, every daily task was done by hand, social standards were set no matter your race, and drinking became a serious problem despite your age or gender. However this all came to an end during the American’s Golden Age. The 1920s was a time in the country’s history where gender was defined, industries boomed, and political problems arose.
In “Daddy”, poet Sylvia Plath uses imagery and allusion to show her bad relationship she had with her father, how her life was miserable while she was writing the poem, and blaming her father for her status by comparing her depression to the holocaust during World War 2, thereby suggesting that her pain is greater than a world catastrophe.
During the 1890’s until today, the roles of women and their rights have severely changed. They have been inferior, submissive, and trapped by their marriage. Women have slowly evolved into individuals that have rights and can represent “feminine individuality”. The fact that they be intended to be house-caring women has changed.
Following the event of World War Two, America during the 1950s was an era of economic prosperity. Male soldiers had just returned home from war to see America “at the summit of the world”(Churchill). Many Americans were confident that the future held nothing other than peace and prosperity, so they decided to start families. However, the 1950s was also a time of radical changes. Because most of the men in the family had departed to fight in the war, women were left at home to do the housework. Even after the war, women were urged to stay at home to take care of the children. On the other hand, males would deal with financial businesses to keep their family out of poverty. These gender roles were embedded