The chapter “The Intimately Oppressed” details the immense oppression women faced throughout the history of the United States and exposes the lack of emphasis on the lives and legacies of women in our country’s history books. Zinn’s description of the unjust treatment of women throughout our history was very eye-opening and horrific to learn about.
Ever since women first arrived in the United States on the Mayflower, women have been faced with unequal treatment, which unfortunately still occurs to this day. Zinn reveals the unjust actions of male colonists towards women in Colonial America within the chapter. For example, Zinne explains that males acquired the, “absolute possession of [their] wives personal property” (107) and viewed their family “…as a patriarchal sovereignty in which [they were] both a king and priest” (108). I was disgusted to learn the way in which male colonists asserted their control over women. Unfortunately, male colonists’ behavior toward women set the precedent for the unequal treatment of women for many centuries to come. For example, in the 19th and century women were not given equal opportunity to get jobs in comparison to men and instead were typically responsible for household work and raising their families children. Zinn described this fact by claiming that women were “separate but equal” (114) as their household work was equally as important to their husbands job, but separate and different. Furthermore, women were not given the right to vote until 1919.