American women today Essay
It was in the nineties when women began realizing their rights and started demanding them. They conducted certain movements for this purpose. The lives of American women underwent dramatic changes after the Second World War. During and after the Second World War women had attained a certain level of independency as they worked in factories and offices standing side by side with men, this brought them income of their own and hence they refused to be oppressed any more. Many women had started working due to the war, and when it ended they ought to leave work and return to their households.
There were several women; who belonged to professional and middle classes and were uneasy with their inferior position in society. Betty Friedan wrote ‘The Feminine Mystique’ in which she represented the views of the generation of middle class, bored housewives who were bored of their routine house-wife lives and longed for something more their husband, their children and their home. She explained this problem of women as the ‘problem, which has no name’; with it alone.
The women of the nineties were used to doing everyday chores like making beds, shopping for groceries, matching slipcover material, eating peanut butter sandwiches with her children but still they could not express their innate desire for something more to add to their lives. The reason why this desire lay suppressed for such a long time was that these women lacked the courage to express it. The women of America suffered from uneasiness and a sense of dissatisfaction. This suppression resulted in the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s, which brought about a revolutionary change in the lives of women.
By the late 1960’s they concluded on the fact that men could not be participants of the solution to women’s oppression. This separated group of feminists, who were also known as radical feminists, claimed for a separate movement whose independent cause would be ‘women’s liberation’. These women’s libbers were soon labeled as ‘bra-burners’ (Schneir, 1994). During the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s, women got hold of the chance to fight for their own rights through the already ongoing revolutionary climate.
The women’s liberation movement of the 60s and 70s initiated the second ‘wave’ of the movement. Here these women who were fighting for their rights were named as ‘Women libbers’. These women libbers gained the knowledge and tactics of protesting from civil rights activists. The reason that women started to think that men should not be a part of the liberation movement of women was the hostile treatment faced by women who participated directly in the civil rights movement in the form of extreme sexism. Hence they decided to fight against the men as well.
Although the women’s liberation movement was similar in nature in many aspects to the civil rights movement, but this feminist movement of women libbers did not include minority women. Later, in the 70s and 80s the women of color raised their voices so as to be included in the feminist movement as several of them had to face the tyranny and cruelty due to race and class discrimination and gender as well (Women’s Rights- Women’s liberation leaders follow black liberation leaders). This feminist movement of the women libbers was also knows as the ‘the Women’s Movement’ and ‘Women’s Liberation’.
It dealt and brought to light serious issues such as Reproductive rights, which included abortion, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, sexual harassment and sexual violence. The Feminist Movement of the women libbers has greatly influenced the different aspects of the lives of American women such as: -The suffering of women due to domestic, racial, class or gender issues -More opportunities of work for women at equal wages to that of men; this fact is also denoted by the statement ‘equal pay for equal work’ -The right to instigate divorce and ‘no fault’ divorce
-The right of women for being able to take independent decisions of matters such as pregnancy and obtaining contraceptives and safe abortion As a result of the feminist movement of the women libbers the western society has today transformed into a society that approves of feminist principles. Today, in America there is a very rare chance that the rights of women are questioned in relation to voting or choosing their spouse or to own land (Feminist movement). The impact of the movement of women libbers of 1960s on the lives of American women today
The feminist movement impacted and changed the lives of American woman today. Today the rights and favors enjoyed by American women did not exist years back. It was the result of the feminist movements of the women libbers, which has enabled them to enjoy freedom of choice in almost every aspect of their lives. The feminist movements in America had two waves. The second wave initiated in the 1960s when women realized that it had become essential to change all aspects of their lives and personality and the society. The women who participated in the liberation movement of 1960 were called women libbers.
This movement comprised mostly of women in large numbers. They raised their voices against the unjust attitude of the society towards women. They highlighted the unfair practices of the society and strongly opposed the concept of a male dominant society. The women libbers demanded equal rights and benefits for women in all aspects of life. This movement of women’s liberation in the 1960s was written off as bra-burning, men-hating women’s libbers (CRUEL AND USUAL PUNISHMENT). The attitude of the women libbers has initiated a change in different aspects of the lives of American women such as:
-Relationships The attitude of women libbers has created an impact on the nature of heterosexual relationships of American women. Although the impact of the attitude of women libbers has been somewhat positive on such relationships but there have been some negative effects as well. In the case of some of these relationships, the power and autonomy has switched from the male gender to the female. Due to this shift in power between the genders, men and women both had to face and adopt certain new situations, which sometimes resulted in a causing perplexity regarding role and identity.
This shift in power has also opened a gateway to new horizons and opportunities for women but women also had to face the consequence of living up to the ‘superwoman’ personality who is able to maintain the perfect balance between a career and family. Regarding the family issue, socialist feminists hold the lack of state-provided childcare facilities responsible for it. In today’s society, the male is held responsible for the matters of the family as much as the female. The male has equal responsibilities towards the family, other than just earning the livelihood.
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