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Chapter 6 of PHOUS was quite interesting for me to read as a man, as I have never understood, or put thought into the difficulty and suffering that women endured through history, and even in modern-day life. Women are neglected in history. Similarly to how we have talked about the middle and lower classes in the upbringing of our country, very few women are talked about in history books even though they made up nearly half of the population, and raised and parented the men that are idolized in history books today.

As expected, Zinn did a good job telling the untold and undisclosed truths of history, and the first sentence is enough to understand the point of view that his text is coming from, “It is possible, reading standard histories, to forget half the population of the country.” Throughout this reading, I believe that I obtained more knowledge about women’s role in our country’s past than I did throughout my entire studies of history in prior schooling. In previous years, history classes focus on important male figures, significant battle dates, and outcomes of wars; never before have I encountered a piece of literature with such an intense focus on women, and it was quite enlightening. While it is wrong that women are neglected in history, it contributes to the narrative that we have deeply discussed in this class that states “history is about the victors.” Usually, the victors have been males, and there female counterparts (wives) are left in the shadows but may have played a significant role in their husband’s success. Typically, if women were ever discussed in history, it was the women who were wed to a prominent male figure that was discussed, but this chapter talked about the “less prominent” women, which was new.

Finally, it was interesting to see Zinn’s use of foreign novels as a contributor to the narrative of the oppression of women during these times. There were occasions when a piece of literature written by a man was incorporated into the text to signify the maltreatment and poor perception that women faced in historical times, and I believe that made the text all the more significant and meaningful, to see how men wrote about women, and to see how wrong that was.


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  1. Sofia Adams Sofia Adams

    I agree with you that it is shocking that someone half of the population seems to be consistently overlooked in history. The accomplishments and role of women are either dismissed or given to/overshadowed by her husband. I question why now in modern day America we still seem to overlook women’s role in history? Why don’t we learn about what Zinn is disclosing throughout our middle or even high school historical studies?

  2. Michael Childress Michael Childress

    I think you did a great job of highlighting the fact that women were neglected, silenced, and mistreated in early America. In reading Zinn, this idea that women were not capable of contributing to society was a story told time after time in order to keep women in their place. I think this came out of an ego issue from white men, as deep down I know they knew the power that women possessed, but did not want to see them take their jobs. For example, when women began working spinners in the Industrial revolution, they were treated as slaves. However, this machine united women under their common oppression and gave them the power that, coincidentally, the men employing them were trying to prevent. Furthermore, women were doing so much to allow men to do their jobs with less stress, for example, they took care of the house, made food, cared for children, and far more so that men could do what they were expected to do, yet the women received no credit or appreciation, for debatably harder, more challenging work.

  3. Thomas Bennett Thomas Bennett

    It was interesting to read about how the first female authors were predominantly from the upper class and as such their works merely talked about the greatness of women of their own class. Similarly, history went on to idolize the rich wives of promenant male figures, but slander lower class women for similar actions as in the case of Martha Washington visiting George Washington.

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