The Women's Suffrage Movement: The First Wave Feminism

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The United States of America is a relatively new country that evolved exceptionally fast. Yet the common ideas of gender haven't evolved much. Namely, many historical events were accomplished by women or involved women; however, they aren't taught in high school. Most, if not all, educated individuals know these great male historical figures that influenced the US: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, and etc. Most of 'American history' is white men history, or better summarized as (his)story. But do students know Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Maria Stewart, and etc.? Maybe. How about Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Ida B. Wells, and other marginalized women? Most people don't know or never heard…show more content…
First Wave Feminism, or Liberal Feminism, is often times summarized as the Women’s Suffrage Movement, but it fight for much more than the right to vote. First Wave Feminism is better summarized as political and financial equality for women, but it also helped and fought for civil rights. Women’s suffrage was the major accomplishment from the First Wave but isn’t the movement itself. Alice Paul stated after the ratification of the 19th Amendment; “It is incredible to me that any woman should consider the fight for full equality won. It has just begun.” Alice Paul inspired Second Wave Feminism, or Radical Feminism, which started approximately 40 years after Liberal Feminism. Radical Feminism shifted the gear from political rights to social equality. Radical Feminism starts with the premise that women’s oppression is the most fundamental oppression. In particular, the movement asserts that males are always privileged in comparison to females. So Radical Feminism proposed the Equal Rights Amendment, which never passed. Moreover, it challenged the compulsory heterosexuality, a woman can only be successful in society if she is married to a man and be a good ‘housewife,’ which consolidates patriarchy. Radical Feminism challenged many social ideas from reproductive rights to workplace which inevitably led them to examine the traditional gender roles. Finally, Third Wave Feminism, or Transversal Feminism, ultimately seeks to overthrow essentialism, that there exists a single definition of man-ness and woman-ness. Instead, gender is a spectrum of
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