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blog post for 9/21

I was in shock reading Howard Zinn’s “The Intimately Oppressed.” Coming from an all-girls middle and high school, I thought that I had learned most of what there was to learn about women’s oppression but I was wrong. Although there are still some inequalities between women and men in society today it is nothing compared to what was going on in the past. Zinn compares the treatment of women and slaves to each other and this shows the level of disrespect that women had. Women and slaves were even looked at as being biologically inferior to men. This made me wonder if black men treated their wives just as bad as white men. Were white men the only ones who looked at women as property? 

Women did rebel against the discrimination they faced. On page 109 Zinn writes that John Winthrop described Anne Hutchinson as “‘a woman of a haughty and fierce carriage, of a nimble wit and active spirit, and a very voluble tongue, more bold than a man, though in understanding and judgement, inferior to many women” (Zinn, 109). Zinn uses this quote by John Winthrop to show how certain women used their voices to stand up for themselves. Women like these are the reason that we now have more rights. Anne Hutchinson ended up being banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony because she was threatening to men and society as a whole.

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4 Comments

  1. Alexander Dimedio Alexander Dimedio

    I think you have an interesting viewpoint on this matter given your prior education, and I agree with your comparison of the past to present. There is still progress to be made but there is an astronomical difference in equality from the past to present day America. I really like the questions you made about the inequality, and how black men treated women. I wonder if oppression towards black men would lead to kindness towards women that are inferior in the society.

  2. Mohamad Kassem Mohamad Kassem

    I think you brought up an amazing point in your question that I never thought about before on whether the issue of inequality was also present in the same way among black communities in the past as they were preoccupied with bigger issues like racism and enslavement. I agree that nowadays we have progressed a lot and that treatment of women is so different from what it used to be in the past especially in the West, but I still think that we are so far away from acheiving proper gender equality.

  3. Maggie Otradovec Maggie Otradovec

    Your idea of whether or not the oppression of women was race-based is interesting. I assume it would be somewhat hard to get a primary source on the matter of how black men treated women as there is an underwhelming amount of primary sources from this historical demographic in general, let alone on this specific topic. You could look into the various cultures of the Africans, but, after a few generations, specific cultural were either lost or Americanized.

  4. Kathrine Yeaw Kathrine Yeaw

    I also thought it was interesting how women were compared to slaves, and they were considered biologically inferior. I have always put all slaves in the same category of oppression, and thought they were all treated the same, yet that is clearly not true. Women slaves were treated much more horribly, which should not seem surprising, yet it is. Something that is even more surprising is how white women could be compared to slaves. Of course white women had very different lives than slaves, but they had many of the same “rights”.

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