Even though I feel I have learned a decent amount about the history of women’s oppression, reading the chapter “The Intimately Oppressed” in Howard Zinn’s A People’s History Of The United States made me feel as if I was hearing it all again for the first time. It will never not be shocking to me that women were treated so poorly and with such disrespect. Zinn explained it as being that half the population was invisible. Reading the quote from Julia Spruill when she says, “he was not entitled to inflict permanent injury or death on his wife” (Zinn 106) was horrifying. The fact that it needed to be outlined that it was not okay to kill your own wife is scary. Also something about that quote I found off putting was the word “permanent”, making it seem that types of injuries a husband could give to a wife that weren’t “permanent” were okay.
Hearing about all of the details of women’s oppression makes me so thankful for the first female activists to stand up against this and rebel. Who knows what would have happened if there were never rebellions and protests for women’s rights. However, there are definitely still problems with gender inequality and there is still work to be done, making this history all still extremely relevant. In the last four years there have been plenty of feminists protests where women fight for their rights like wage gaps and their own bodies. I wonder if and when these (necessary) fights will ever stop. This is an issue with such deep roots, so can it truly ever be solved? Will there ever be a world where men aren’t seen as the most powerful and roles will be reversed?
On a side note, it is extremely coincidental that we are beginning to discuss gender inequality right after the passing of one of the most famous women’s equality activists, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I am sure we will be hearing much about her legacy and how her death may affect us in the future, because she was a Supreme Court Justice.