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Blog Post 09/21 – Kayla O’Connell

In chapter 5 of PHUS, Zinn outlines the sad truth behind the oppression of women throughout the history of the United States. Zinn explains that “Women were expected to be subject to their husbands in all things” and were exploited and oppressed in basically all aspects of their lives. Men placed unrealistic expectations on women’s lives and told women to be passive. Men were expected to sin, but women were not. As a result of this oppression, women were able to create a sense of solidarity amongst each other and formed strong bonds. 

After reading this chapter I definitely felt a sense of discomfort. It’s so sad to think that women actually had to live in these conditions. They were not given the respect nor the opportunities that they deserved. As a woman, I often find myself taking advantage of the rights that women in history fought so hard to obtain. Although there has been improvement in the fight for equality for women, gender roles are still extremely prominent in society today. Women have faced new challenges in establishing themselves in the workforce and still being responsible for the majority of the work in their households. How long will it take to change the perceptions of gender roles? Will the roles ever truly balance out or be reversed?


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  1. Isabela Keetley Isabela Keetley

    I agree that this chapter also left me with feelings of discomfort. What stuck out to me was the idea that men could sin and women could not . Along with this, Zinn wrote how women were like guardian angels for the men in their life, their goal was to make them happy, their life easy, and warn them of danger. Along with this, Zinn outlined what a woman’s daily life looked like, which included any different tasks. A woman’s day was hard and long, especially when on top of all of her chores and caring for the children, she also had to ensure her husbands comfort and happiness.

  2. Madeline Orr Madeline Orr

    I agree that I often find myself taking advantage of so the opportunities women have now that used to be thought of as completely radical ideas. I was taken aback by the fact that the Church developed a set of ideas in order to keep women in their place. Men were threatened by the idea of women having any sort of power and they wanted to keep women at home. I felt a sense of pride when reading how women were able to form bonds and solidarity amongst each other to fight the oppression.

  3. Michael Childress Michael Childress

    Your last question reminded me of earlier in the semester when we were talking about biases and influences. With so many differences throughout history between the opportunities for men compared to women, I think it is going to take time to create complete equality in the sense that all biases are removed or washed away. First, I think we are on the right track of trying to eliminate the systematic inequalities in our society, and I think that once this is done (or improved to a significant degree), we will start to see women and men receiving equal opportunities, and then our biases will be reformed and shifted. It is a cycle to make this change effectively, but I do think we are on the right track.

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