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Herstory And Firstwave Feminism Essay

3479 words - 14 pages

The women’s right movement is an ongoing campaign to abolish inequality between the sexes on a multitude of platforms. The movement has been a prevalent part of history around the world, with origins as early as the 1500s with literature sprinkled with the mention of women having mind, reason and a voice that is equal to that of a man. This fight for women to be placed on the same level as men has seen much struggle and oppression that is still prevalent in today’s world. However, the fight for women in today’s world is labeled as feminism, which quite literally means the social, political, and economic rights of the sexes. Rebecca Lewin depicts feminism as a “model for a social state – an ...view middle of the document...

These concepts of women and gender studies are the reason women have gained the rights they have today but have also inspired many women to continue this fight for a free and equal society for all.
Sarah Grimke, an early advocate alongside her sister Angelina for both abolition and suffrage, realized how women were marginalized in society and would not stand for the roles society wanted them to play. Grimke outlines in a letter to her sister the absolute horrendous condition women have been placed in, showing why fighting for women’s rights is absolutely necessary. Grimke explains that women are placed in the “fashionable” world, meaning women are meant to get married, look pretty, and disregard any means to improve their intellect. Grimke explains that “where any mental superiority exists, a woman is generally shunned and regarded as stepping out of her ‘appropriate’ sphere”, which is what Grimke describes as the fashionable sphere. Women will only be accepted by society if they act as pretty things men use for pleasure. Grimke also dwells on the idea of marriage, and how women are supposed to see marriage as the ultimate goal of their lives, which will bring them happiness. Women perceive marriage in this way, due to what Grimke believes is training. Girls are trained “by the imperfect education which is bestowed upon them…after they leave school…the improvement of their intellectual capacities is only a secondary consideration… In most families it is considered a matter of far more consequence to call a girl off from making a pie, or a pudding, than to interrupt her whilst engaged in her studies”. Grimke shows the disparity between the sexes, calling for a revolution to bring about equality because women are not meant to be inferior, but rather a moral and intellectual counterpart to that of men. Women’s realization that they have been confined to a world of servitude brings about the first major surge of feminism, which begins a movement that spill into the world we live in today.
The first wave of the women’s rights movement was brought on by an international brigade. The movement ignited during the 1840 Antislavery Convention in London. American and English women delegates were refused to participate and even sit in the general assembly. Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton we’re dismissed at the convention. Their dismissal inspired the women to discuss the women’s movement at home. The refusal of their participation is regarded to as the “spark that lit the fire”. This desire to participate in societal matters continued through the late 1800s with the formation of anti-war and anti-nationalism coalitions. Groups such as the International Council of Women and the Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom brought together women travelers, missionaries, and writers to fight for abolitionism, socialism, peace, temperance, and equal rights. These groups allowed women to share their ideas and contribute to the society around...

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