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Jeffrey Sprung Blog Post 9/21

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.

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4 Comments

  1. Henry Groves Henry Groves

    The relationship between women and household responsibilities was surprising to me as well when reading this chapter. You mention that women in the 20th century and before were told to stay at home and take care of the kids as their “job” has carried over into the 21st century.

  2. Mohamad Kassem Mohamad Kassem

    I agree with you and I felt the same (horrified and disgusted) while reading the chapter as the treatment of women during those times was completely inhumane. They were seen as property or just sex objects; such treatment perhaps resulted in what we see nowadays of gender inequality as there are certain expectations of women to perform jobs to be able to fit into society and to be seen as equal to men which creates social issues like, misogyny and sexism.

  3. Maggie Otradovec Maggie Otradovec

    It is crazy to think about how women were viewed, and continue to be viewed (though, to an arguably lesser extent), in history. While all women were not necessarily enslaved like the Africans brought over to America, they suffered their own kind of oppression.

  4. Pierce Kaliner Pierce Kaliner

    I also found it interesting and horrifying how wives were essentially treated as slaves by the men. And, the remnants of that mistreatment are unfortunately still seen today, as many are still relegated to housework even though they may not want to be.

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