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?