History: Women's Movement

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If Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott were able to attend the abolitionist conference in 1840 would the women’s movement never begin? The answer is no. Women were craving for a change in their lives; this was just a catalyst for one specific movement. Seneca Falls in any shape or form would occur as the growing anticipation for change in the public sphere. The American People Reader includes primary resources like the popular magazine, “Godey’s Lady’s Book” which showcases domestic ideology through the lens of men. On the other hand, the novel The Bonds of Womanhood by Nancy Cott demonstrates the grasp the private sphere held on women. Although women like Stanton and Mott were on the brink of revolutionizing America, many of their counterparts, however, were unconvinced of creating any real change. These women had homes, money and control over what would be taught to the children. Middle-class women were unwilling to reject domestic ideology for fear of losing the control already granted to them: the private sphere and the mold in which their lives were already set. Granted the fight for rights could result in suffrage and equality, in terms of privileges, middle-class women were already doing well. Before domestic ideology there was the household family economy, which prevented women from having any real say. After the division, which created the two separate spheres the public and private. Here, in the private sphere women were able to not only have a say, but an executive command. Household work and the children were under their jurisdiction. Having an influence over how the children were raised and what they would learn shaped future citizens. This was a huge opportunity for women because it could act as an outlet for t... ... middle of paper ... ...he shackles of the private sphere. Women would be able to voice their opinions in more than just the right way to clean a house or discipline a child. Important as these pieces are, there is more to life like self-investment. Women did not fully embrace the feminist movement due to the combination of fear, male dominance and investment. Society’s placement of important on male’s views overshadowed women’s voices. As a result, many were afraid to step out of the designated zone given to them. Busy keeping in the boundary zones, women forgot about their selves and fell into the selflessness mother called for and invested fully in the family. Stanton and Mott were prominent forces in leading a women’s revolution, but it must be said that like abolitionist these women were not the majority. Works Cited The Bonds of Woman Hood, Nancy Cott Godey's Lady's Book, Majewski
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