Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I learned even more shockingly relevant and eye-opening facts about the three waves of the feminism from Ms. Ruhl's presentation.  The first wave of feminism started with the seneca falls conference in 1848, with the leaders of Stanton, Anthony, Stone, and Paul. I had known of Stanton and Anthony through US History, but Lucy Stone and Alice Paul were entirely new names to me.  Paul was certainly more radical in her efforts for suffrage, but it was Lucy Stone who I was most interested in.  To refuse to take her husband's name must have been revolutionary; but what was most amazing was that it was revolutionary in Stone's private, married life.  Everything in the 19th century was arguably based on family structure, and so to denounce one of the most basic traditions of family life was incredibly brave.  Ms. Ruhl also stressed to us the importance of looking at the origins of our country's traditions.  For example, she mentioned that taking the husband's name in marriage came from the same idea of slaves taking their owners surname.

The second wave brought about in the 60s was brought about by "Women's Libbers" who fought for job equity and reproductive freedom.  The pro-choice movement the fight for equal pay began.   The prefix "Ms." began as a way to pull attention away from whether or not women are married, an important step in equality.  Over time, it has never mattered whether or not men were married, as evidenced by the only prefix for men: "Mr."

My favorite part was the 3rd wave, as it is the most relevant to the issues that we are facing today.  We have to grapple with many issues, though not so large as basic rights to vote, that add up to a lot of conflicts women have to face.  One of the biggest problem is the general public being uncomfortable with the word "feminist." All we can do is look towards the leaders of past and present in feminism and follow their example of spreading awareness towards these issuers to the rest of the world.

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