I thought this chapter, “The Intimately Oppressed” was fascinating for many reasons. I knew it was going to be about women during early history, however I also knew that this specific book would tell the history in a very unique way, which it most certainly did. The first sentence, “It is possible, reading standard histories, to forget half the population of the country” had me contemplating the enormity of that concept and eager to keep reading the chapter.
I definitely learned more about women in early history from this chapter than all of my history classes combined. Never before has there been this much writing devoted to just women in a single history textbook, usually it is just a few paragraphs here and there, not wanting to distract the reader too much from the more important battles and significant dates. I couldn’t believe that I was learning about some of these concepts for the first time, such as the counterpart to the Boston Tea party, the “coffee party”. But it does make sense why I only knew a little about certain women and feminist groups, because tying back to the idea of history being written about the victors, the victors were their husbands, so only the women with famous husbands had their names recorded in history. Therefore this in-depth take on the unsung heroes no one has really heard about was quite refreshing and appreciated.
I also really enjoyed how the author implemented excerpts from not only the less appreciated women during this time to get their perspectives, but also from books and novels written by men, to condemn and criticize their astonishing writings. One such writing that stuck out to me was by Edmund Burke in his Reflections of the Revolution in France, who said “a woman is but an animal, and an animal not of the highest order”(111).