I thought all of the readings tied in together to tell a very interesting story about the history of the oppression and rebellion of women in America. While I have always been aware of the low-level status women held in earlier societies, it was alarming to have my memory refreshed on the specifics of how unequal women were treated. One thing that stuck out to me was the fact that, although situations and conditions have definitely improved, a lot of the same general themes and categories of oppression are still very prevelant in today’s society. Women’s worth is often determined based on their marriage status and whether or not they have children, evidenced by the fact that most gynecologists refuse to perform tubal ligation on women in their twenties and thirties, claiming that they could change their minds and want children in the future, or marry someone who wants children. Additionally, the problem of women being paid less than men for doing the same job still remains at large today, not to mention that America is still one of the few developed countries that does not provide women paid maternity leave. Although women have made tremendous progress in the past few centuries, it is still painfully obvious to see that a lot of these old attitudes die hard.
Despite this, I enjoyed reading about ways women rebelled against the inferior status imposed on them and found strength and solidarity through different means. One story in particular that I found interesting was the “coffee party” – the spin-off of the Boston tea party in which women forced a man overpricing coffee to give up the keys to his store so they could take all the coffee for themselves. Additionally, the story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Seneca Falls Convention reminds us that women have always been strong, perserverant, and capable, and women now have more resources than ever before to continue to fight for equality. Although it is sometimes difficult to grapple with the blatant inequalities in our society, reading the stories of strong and determined women is a great reminder of the strength we possess and the goals we can achieve.