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Civil Rights for Women and Oral Histories by Meredith Tracey

The first reading for this week was a chapter in a larger text, called Sisters in the Struggle by Bettye Collier-Thomas and V.P. Franklin. The second chapter of this text focuses mainly on the double-edged sword that African American women were faced with in the middle 1900s. This time period hosted high racial tension, and also an incredible amount of inequality for women. Organizations like the National Council of Negro Women, aka the NCNW, fought for justice during these trying times. One of the actions the NCNW took that was truly admirable, was hosting voter registration campaigns. Although a nonpartisan organization, women like Mary Mcleod Bethune recognized and shared the importance of teaching women how to register to and vote. On page 36, she is quoted saying, “In all my talks throughout the nation I have urged women to set up block organizations to instruct women on how to register and vote.”

It is then pointed out that a prediction in The Washington Afro-American was accurate; “if a large number of women are enlisted through this action, the NCNW could indirectly contribute to a Truman victory.” (Collier-Thomas, Franklin 36). Actively pursuing a higher rate of women voters was just one action the organization took in its attempts to change the world for women, more specifically African American women. It is notable enough for me to talk about because I believe it is important to acknowledge that women still face inequality on a much lower scale, and an even further point; African American and Latina women are faced with inequalities in comparison to white women. The work of the NCNW was crucial in the history of African American women, and this chapter reflected the hardships that they worked so hard to change for the women to come after them. Although things are not as extreme in current times, there are similarities in the civil rights issues that they were dealing with and the ones we continue to face today.

The second reading for this week, Mexican Women on Strike in 1933: The Structure of Memory by Devra Anne Weber, demonstrates the way oral history and memory change through time, and how important it is to recognize this when studying/sharing history. History is complicated, because human beings are complicated; two people could experience the same situation, and interpret it in two completely different ways. This leaves a lot of room for confusion when studying historical events through solely oral history. Weber does an excellent job at pointing out how important those “personal narratives” are, but the overall theme in the text is to take them with a grain of salt. In the example of the strike in 1933, Weber points out that most of the story was centered around food- or rather, the lack thereof. She also discusses the inconsistencies in factual information that came from speaking with women who were there, like Mrs. Valdez. Overall, I find oral histories extremely fascinating because you get to know the feelings of someone who lived through an event you weren’t there for. However, it is clear there are issues with using only oral histories to come to a conclusion about a story.

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“Immigration of Asian Women in the Past and Present” by Emily Wilson

Judy Yung’s “Unbound Feet:  From China to San Francisco’s Chinatown” tells three very different stories of women immigrating from China to the Bay Area in the early twentieth century.  She focuses on three different young women. The first, Wong Ah-So, who was promised a husband and instead forced into prostitution, which was very common in Chinatown at the time due to the gender imbalance amongst Chinese immigrants at the time.  The second, Law Shee Low, is also promised a husband, and receives him. Together they work hard to provide for their eight children in a one room tenement, with no interaction outside of San Francisco’s Chinatown. The third, Jane Kwong Lee arrived on her own, but with the support of her family, who are part of China’s upper class.  They help support her as she continues her education, until she receives her doctorate. There is not much these three women have in common, besides being from China and having a common dream- that moving to America will give them a better life.  

Young women and men from the Chinese Presbyterian Church in San Francisco.

It has been almost a hundred years since these three young women immigrated to the United States, but not much has changed.  The US government is still attacking immigration legislation that specifically affects immigrants from Asia. Instead of the Chinese Exclusion Acts, President Trump is cutting down on “chain migration”, severely limiting the amount of family reunification visas that are permitted.  This type of visa is the number one way Asian immigrants enter the United States. This specifically affects Asian women, as they are less likely to receive working visas as Asian men are.  

Wong Ah-So’s story is particularly common today, with four percent of the women being brought into the country for human trafficking purposes, whether for sexual or forced labor purposes, being from Asia.  This is significant as only a little over five percent of America’s population identify as Asian.  These young women, often under the age of eighteen, are promised better opportunities for work, making higher wages to send back home to their families, along with better educational opportunities.  Like Wong Ah-So, who was rescued from prostitution by the Presbyterian Mission Home, a quick Google search shows that a large amount of anti-human trafficking organizations are faith-based, often different Christian faiths.  

Law Shee Low’s story is also seen today.  Women from all over the world are starting to become mail-order brides, a wife that can be ordered online, in attempt to gain access to the United States.  The main reason for a woman to become a mail order bride is to raise her socioeconomic status. The largest percent of mail-order brides come from Asia, mostly the Philippines.  Forty percent of these women are under the age of twenty-five.  Fortunately, there are also a lot of women like Jane Kwong Lee, who leave Asia to further their education in America.  Temple University has a large population of Asian women here from China, but they are also being supported by their upper class families back home, and that is not an option for a lot of women.  

San Francisco’s Chinatown today.  Chinatowns are still important resources for Asian immigrants across the US.

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History of Cosmetics, Markets and Today by Emily Kiehn

In one of this week’s reading, “Making Faces:The Cosmetics Industry and the Cultural Construction of Gender,” author Kathy Peiss discusses the dynamics of the makeup industry in the late 19th and early 20th century.  Peiss chose to use sources like makeup and commercial advertisements to support her argument. This was an important part of her paper because like in figure 20.2, the advertisement shows African American women powdering their faces which supports her claim that the makeup industry has a decent amount of bias (Peiss, 349).She reinforces this assertion throughout the writing by discussing the market and commercialization of the cosmetics company. This idea of a biased market really intrigued me because it is essentially the same thing a century later. The cosmetics industry is for the most part still really unequal between representation of white women and anyone else of a different complexion.  Peiss says that black women had even more monetary constraints than any other poor white woman, yet the market for makeup for colored women still emerged (351). This launched a niche for black women to work in the black cosmetics industry. Though this was important and a huge stride for black women to enter into the marketplace, there was still a disparity between white and black consumers with representation.  Peiss claims that most advertisements targeting black women were to make kinky hair straighter or smoother and to lighten dark complexions (353).

While most advertisements and marketing for white women appealed to the desire to look like celebrities, marketing towards black women appealed to the societal push to look like white women.  This type of marketing of cosmetics can be seen even today as well with celebrity endorsements and cosmetic brands. Influencers like Kylie Jenner and Rihanna have made cosmetic lines and push for the desire to be like and look like them.  Even though some brands have a various shade range for different complexions, they still require a certain economic status in order to purchase them. Much like in the early 20th century, this excludes black women and women of color because they had very limited excess money to spend on cosmetics.  Many of the points that Peiss makes in her piece about race, class, and gender within the cosmetics industry still holds true today. For example, the disparity between white women and black women’s access to purchasing makeup is still accurate. Statistically white women have more money and in turn more excess money to spend on cosmetics while black women do not have equal representation in the colors and shade range offered as well as less money on average to spend on makeup.  Additionally, makeup in the 19th and 20th century showed status, which still holds true today with designer and upscale makeup brands which require a decent amount of money and has a fanbase surrounding it. While the makeup industry has made huge strides like integrating more women into the business realm, being more inclusive with shade ranges for more skin tones, and having a variety of prices from drugstore to upscale, there is still a long way for it to go in order for there to be equal access and opportunities.

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Marriage Equality by Eleanor Kerr

In “What, Another Female Husband?”: The Prehistory of Same-Sex Marriage in America, Rachel Hope Cleves works to “challenge the popular assumption of same-sex marriage as a modern innovation” and subsequently contests the notion that marriage is, and always has been, an institution between men and women (1055)[1]. Such notions are reflected in her analysis of ‘Modern Subcultures’ in which she looks at the emergence of the very first gay subcultures, facilitated by urbanization, in the United States. At the turn of the century, this large-scale urbanization offered new liberties in terms of sexuality and identity in urban centres such as New York, which created prime conditions for  same-sex marriages in that it expanded the world of wedding practices to incorporate, as Cleves states, “carnivalesque elements with genuine expressions of desire” (1076).

However, Cleves also notes that it wasn’t until the 20th century that these queer subcultures became fully established, a flourishment with which came the increased demand for public acceptance which made is difficult to dismiss the idea of same-sex marriage as impossible. Therefore, this period not only saw increasing marriages between men, but also saw New York City become solidified as the first and primary gay and lesbian subculture in America. It is no surprise therefore that one of the biggest turning points in the LGBT social movement, the Stonewall Riots, also took place in New York City, during which rioters themselves shouted “we have the right to marry too!.”.

This demand for marriage equality was seen in the subsequent decades right through to 2015 with the legalization of same sex marriage in America. However, what shifted in the decades after the Stonewall riots was that same-sex marriage became front and centre of gay politics, where during the 1970’s gay couples began lobbying for the legal right to marry. Since then, LGBTQ+ activist focused solely on establishing a nationwide campaign for same-sex marriage, which saw the institutionalization of queer activism into national organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign, signifying just how prominent the issue of same-sex marriage had become and perhaps leading some to conclude that same-sex marriage is a modern phenomenon.

However, I think this article assumes that same-sex marriage has been a goal for all LGBTQ+ people, when in reality many people within the community itself completely opposed it.  Before the 2015 decision to legalize marriage, for example, many queers critiqued marriage as a patriarchal institution which benefits only men, as something that defined gay people in relation to heteronormative values, and as an institution that only upholds and sustains dominant heteronormative assumptions and institutions. Furthermore, there are those that view marriage as a process of assimilation and normalization that disproportionately benefits those who can most easily assimilate to normative expectations, therefore reinforcing the white, male, gender-conforming, middle-class model of sexuality.

Therefore, I think it is important to consider that whilst it appeared that the entirety of the LGBTQ+ community was moving in unison towards marriage equality, in reality many queer people had alternative visions for the LGBTQ+ social movement.

 

[1] Rachel Hope Cleves, ‘ What, Another Female Husband?”: The Prehistory of Same-Sex Marriage in America’, The Journal of American History, 10 (2014), 1055-1081.

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Older Women, Family, and Oral History by Alecia Caballero

Older women hold a special place in personal histories. How many family stories have passed from a grandmother to her grandchild? These stories are often the first experience we have with family history, and are taken at face value. My grandmother is the keeper of her family history, literally – she has the only copy of the genealogy book in our immediate family. She is the person who taught my sister and I about the family history outside of New Jersey. Her retellings of the stories in the Hill book, while not always accurate, created a narrative for us of Irish Catholics who made their way to Maryland and up in the world. According to her histories, we have a family bourbon that her father sold for American Distillers after Prohibition. While it’s possible that’s true, as her father did work for American Distillers and the supposed bourbon was originally distilled by Irish Catholics in the area of Kentucky her father was from, we have little idea if it’s actually true. Whether it’s true or not, the idea of the story is that our family has a long history in America, and came from very little in Ireland to (supposedly) creating a bourbon that’s still distilled and sold today.

Devra Anne Weber’s article on the women in the 1933 cotton strike in California addresses the function of memory in the greater historical narrative. Weber’s analysis of Rosaura Valdez’s oral history of the strike accounts for both the inherent bias in oral histories and the merits of the bias they exhibit. In Mrs. Valdez’s case, her memory of the strike centered around the other women in the camp and the struggles of feeding their families, while the men were cowardly strikebreakers. While the facts may be a bit off in how gains were achieved, Mrs. Valdez’s account of the strike portrays the hunger and frustration that there were men willing to betray them. Her positioning of women in the center creates an identity for herself, her fellow strikers, and her family: they occupied an important place in labor history. Their gains, whether she and the other women contributed directly to them or not, had a lasting effect on workers. That small victory was an enormous win compared to the losses she had faced as a girl during the Mexican Revolution. This was her victory over hunger and fear, and her remembrance of herself as an active, militant striker reflects how that event shaped her personal identity.

How we remember events says as much about us as it does about what happened. Personal memory presented as history represents an interesting intersection of identity and fact that may not always be accurate, but paints an important portrait of how someone wants to be seen. We create our own legacy through oral history.

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Female Literary Association by Eleanor Kerr

In “Politics in a Box: Sarah Mapps Douglass and the Female Literary Association, 1831-1833”[1] Marie Lindhorst describes the Female Literary Association as a space where African American women “exchanged knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, and beliefs, and prepared for an increasingly public role in abolition and community circles.” [2] Such a statement is remarkable, considering that in antebellum America many of these associations, in general, remained the sphere of highly educated elites, and especially discriminated against women and people of color. Whether it be in a political or social context, women were not supposed to talk openly. That is why the Female Literary association was so meaningful, because by setting up their own parallel organizations, it became a space in which women could openly discuss political and social topics, subsequently resulting in the association being instrumental for abolitionist’s and women right movements in America.

Formed on September 20th 1831 by African American women, The Female Literary Association proved to be instrumental, as not only did it provided a sense of community and mutual support for these women, but also enabled them to debate and educate themselves on important political and social matters. As Lindhorst describes, they often placed their writings anonymously in a box, and would then read and discuss them later. This method of peer reviewing was significant for that era, as not only was it a way to make their writing more powerful and meaningful, but also demonstrates how these women functioned as both the producers and distributors of their texts. The ultimate goal of the FLA however, was to provide a space in which the connection between intellectual grown and the political and social well beings of African American could be facilitated.

One woman who significantly helped achieve this goal was Sarah Mapps Douglass, who Lindhorst singles out for facilitating the publication of many FLA  writings in the abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, which subsequently served as beneficial platform for the FLA to openly express their commitment and activism in the antislavery movement on a public platform. Therefore, Lindhorst gives rise to an image of Sarah Mapps Douglass which highlights her understanding of the importance of the FLA’s responsibility to challenge African American women’s connection to their limited sphere. The FLA provided a setting which enabled them to challenge gender restraints and kickstart a transformation in the role of African American women, a fact which Douglas completely understood.

The FLA and its idea of ‘politics in a box’ was revolutionary for the world that these women lived in, but is it today? I’d like to believe that today politics has left that box, and that people are free and open to have their own opinions. However, I do think that organizations and associations such as the FLA are still prevalent today. For example, both the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) are in instrumental in contemporary LGBTQ+ activism, and the National Organization for Women (NOW) is still today at the forefront of promoting feminist ideals and leading societal change. Therefore, whilst the political world may have expanded beyond the box, I think that people still need the community and platform which associations like the FLA create, to have an effective political voice.

close up of hand and voting ballot

[1] Marie Lindhorst, ‘Politics in a Box: Sarah Mapps Douglass and the Female Literary Association, 1831-1833’, Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, 65 (1998), 9-39 (pp. 263-278).

[2] Marie Lindhorst, ‘Politics in a Box: Sarah Mapps Douglass and the Female Literary Association, 1831-1833’, Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, 65 (1998), 9-39 (pp. 263-278). p. 267

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Race in the Mid 19th Century by Charles Sylvester

“Politics in a Box” by Marie Lindhorst and “Enemies in Our Household” by Drew Faust are both articles that deal with the intersection of gender and race in the mid 19th century but from vastly and almost completely opposite viewpoints – that of a black female activist from the North and white female slaveholders from the South, respectively. The two sound entirely incompatible and in fact combative, and while neither reading delves into the opposite racial viewpoint from its subjects, the two are linked in ways that can only occur in a society with such a strong link between class and race.

Reading them back to back, there’s a sense of a tug and pull between these two groups and their relative societal power, or at least their perception of it. While the two pieces examine life at different points in the 19th century (Lindhorst’s article examines Sarah Mapps Douglass’ writings and activism in the 1830s while Faust takes a broad look at female slave owners during the Civil War in the 1860s) they still appear connected. Efforts by Douglass and her Literary Association were meant to “disprove prejudice and to challenge white belief in the intellectual inferiority of African Americans.”[3] This was at a time when, in large Northern cities, African Americans were creating social centers, such as libraries and schools, to better their race and achieve the same liberties and privileges that their white neighbors had.[4]

Contrast this with the image of white slaveholders that Faust depicts in her article. The African Americans these women have to interact with are not educated, are not writers, and most importantly are not free. Threads can be tied, however, to the rise of the abolitionist movement in the North, the education of African Americans in the same area, and the direct threat to the lifestyle these southern women would have enjoyed. “Enemies in Our Household” shows that these women were directly afraid of this lifestyle shift, and afraid of the freedom, and whatever came with it, of their previously enslaved black men and women. What they perceived as the diminishing of their role in society directly coincided with the amplification of the African American role in society, exemplified by women like Sarah Mapp Douglass. This fear was exacerbated by women being given the sole role of master of the plantation with the onset of the Civil War. Women left alone were fearful that any slights or missteps in their servants daily tasks were direct threats against them. “When her coffee tasted salty and her dinner rancid, she could not decide if her servants were attempting to poison her or just lodging a protest against their continued subjection.”[5]

Both articles have issues with vocalizing the plight of the enslaved peoples in the South – Faust only mentions them briefly and in the context of how white women needed to take up the slaveholder mantle, while Lindhorst focuses mainly on the free black women up North, who saw the exploitation of their fellow African Americans in the South as a cause to take up against. This deprives us of a valuable voice in this racial and class based struggle. However, together these two articles paint an interesting picture of the disproportionate racial divide in America during the mid 19th century and the subsequent reworking of this divide during the same time frame.

[1] Sarah Mapp Douglass, “7 African American Women Who Broke the Ceiling in Education,” https://www.accelify.com/accelify-blog/2016/02/25/7-african-american-women-who-broke-the-glass-ceiling-in-education/

[2] Portrait of Lizzie Neblett. Photograph. Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. http://www.cah.utexas.edu/db/dmr/image_lg.php?variable=di_00311

[3] Marie Lindhorst, “Politics in a Box: Sarah Mapps Douglass and the Female Literary Association, 1831 – 1833,” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 65, no. 3 (Summer 1988): 269.

[4] Lindhorst, 270.

[5] Drew Gilpin Faust. 1996. “Enemies in Our Household: Confederate Women and Slavery.” In Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War, 57. North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press.

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Separate Spheres by Chad Stante

Since the days of the ancient Greeks, humans have always tried to put things into categories. Putting things into categories simply helps us to understand things better. The same can be said with why humans have put themselves into categories. To be more specific, humans have categorized men and women into their own different worlds, or spheres, in order to help them understand their roles in society.  But as time progresses and the interworkings of society changes, the question that still lurks is just how useful is the idea of separate spheres? Is it time that the terms men’s sphere and women’s sphere be torn down to leave just the human sphere?

First, you have to look at how this term was coined in the first place. According to Linda Kerper, in her article entitled, “Separate Spheres, Female Worlds, Woman’s Place: The Rhetoric of Women’s History”, Alexis de Tocqueville was the first to describe the qualities that made up the women’s sphere after describing the roles and activities he saw women doing while visiting America in 1835. “The inexorable opinion of the public carefully circumscribes [her] within the narrow circle of domestic interests and duties and forbids her to step beyond it” (10). Here he is saying he observed women restricted to domestic duties and were not allowed to do anything else. As the article is also sure to mention about Tocqueville’s remarks, “In this sentence he provided the physical image (the circle) and the interpretation (that it was a limiting boundary on choices) that would continue to characterize the metaphor” (10.) Kerper continues, “The metaphor of the ‘sphere’ was the figure of speech, the trope, on which historians came to rely when they described women’s part in American culture. Exploring the traditions of historical discourse, historians found that notions of women’s sphere permeated the language; they in turn used the metaphor in their own descriptions” (10-11). In other words, once the term was coined, it was so deeply embedded in the language that historians inevitably used the term again themselves while writing on women’s history. As Kerber also points out, more than a hundred years after Tocqueville made his comments regarding the separate spheres in the mid-1800s, “Women were said to live in a distinct ‘world,’ engaged in nurturant activities, focused on children, husbands, and family dependents” (10). Hence, the term women’s sphere still exists thanks to historians, consciously or not, keeping the language going.

As we have talked about in class, the women’s sphere was actually considered to be the private sphere whereas a synonym for the men’s sphere was the public sphere.  Women as it was clearly stated already, were restricted to just domestic roles inside the house that dealt only with family, hence the term “private” sphere. Men on the other hand were expected to go out into the world and make a living to provide for their families and support them. Men would also be the only ones involved in politics since this too was another way of trying to improve the families place in society.

The roles of men and women in society in the 21st century are a lot more complex than they were in just the 20th century.  No longer can we divide the genders into different worlds. Although the idea of separate spheres once served a purpose to help us identify our roles in society, the language has not caught up with the reality in which we live in today and the term should be eliminated altogether as it no longer serves a purpose. In today’s world we need something more that shows the dynamic relationship with the overlap between men and women and hopefully the historians of the future can help us accomplish this.

 

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Gender and the Rhetoric of Society by Keely Shannon

The articles by Dubois and Dumenil, and Kerber discuss the ways women and men were divided by gender primarily in the 19th Century. Kerber focuses on the historiography of the term ‘separate spheres’ which historians use when defining the role of men and women in society throughout American history.[1] Dubois and Dumenil however, focus on the ways the concept of ‘true womanhood’ was constructed from 1800 to 1860.[2] These ideas of separate spheres for men and women, and of true womanhood are closely connected through the belief in essential roles women were expected to play in everyday life. Kerber argues that the language surrounding these ‘separate spheres’ used by historians mask a complex system of gender roles in the 19th Century. This is undoubtedly the case, however, rather than being a fault with historians alone, this seems to be product of the popular opinion that women and men have inherent differences. This has been the common belief held until very recently in history, and remains the view of many people today. It is difficult to create a nuanced view of men’s and women’s roles when the rhetoric of society involves the division of the population based on gender. Presenting arguments which support this are thus more easily accepted by later scholars, and are more likely to enter mainstream thought.

This does not mean to say that these beliefs are correct. I agree with Kerber when she asserts that a nuanced view of the roles of women and men in history would benefit society today. Language has power to direct thought and behaviours, and women today are trying to dispel the myth that there are distinct roles for men and women. Women remain under pressure to be the parent to raise the children, and receive on average less pay than men in the same jobs. However, only within the last thirty years has gender as a social construction and its separation from sex been accepted, and from it has come new scholarship practices regarding gender and history. For example, examining women’s history not in isolation, but studying the history of gender as a whole, and how women and men’s roles interacted. In this way, the scholars Kerber refers to were also limited by the ideas of the times they wrote in, and used the language they knew to express these beliefs. As a result, the concept of separate spheres for men and women became an entrenched idea. Theories of gender and the language used to explain them evolve over time, and though progress may be slow, there has been improvement in how gender has been discussed and how it is regarded today. However, I expect it will be a while yet before ideas of the separation of the genders are erased from our language in history and in the present day.

[1] Linda K. Kerber, ‘Separate Spheres, Female Worlds, Women’s Place: The Rhetoric of Women’s History’, The Journal of American History, 75 (1988), 9-39 (pp. 9-39).

[2] Ellen Carol Dubois and Lynn Dumenil, Through Women’s Eyes: An American History with Documents (New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012), pp. 186-218.

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Separate Spheres of Life by Frank Sandefur

Women and men are different. At least that what the thought was in early America. During this time, as women started to seek out their own self-worth, there came a separation between them and men. This separation was not just caused by women alone. Many other factors were in play. How the economy was changing was a big factor. In both “Pedestal, Loom, and Auction Block” by Ellen Carol DuBois and Lynn Dumenil and “Separate Spheres, Female Worlds, Woman’s Place: The Rhetoric of Women’s History” by Linda Kerber the idea of the separation is really examined.

DuBois and Dumenil believe that the separation of women from men can be seen through the idea of “true womanhood.” According to DuBois and Dumenil, true womanhood came from motherhood.[1] Women were seen as more nurturing and caring than men were. Right away, we get to see the separation between the two groups. This idea was not just for women to be able to recognize what they should be doing. This idea was also set in classist thinking. In “Pedestal, Loom, and Auction Block,” the authors say how middle class women used this idea to look down and separate themselves from women who weren’t as well off.[2] However, this idea of true womanhood was greatly tested. This test came from the change to market economy in the United States. There was a great shift from people making goods in their own homes and working for themselves to going to work for someone else in a factory. There was no better evidence than the “Lowell girls,” the unmarried and mostly teenage girls who worked at a textile factory in Lowell, Massachusetts.[3] By working these girls felt like they got a little independence.

Kerber writes about many of the same ideas that DuBois and Dumenil cover. Two of the major ideas both readings discuss is the separation of spheres between men and women, and the economy and it that changed the dynamic. Women were put into the role of the domestic sphere which revolved around their home life.[4]  Kerber also writes about the Industrial Revolution and how it affected the way of life for both men and women. Women began to leave their homes to work in factories. Just as Dubois and Dumenil mentioned, middle class women used this to look down upon women, who they thought were beneath them. They used the slogan “woman’s place is in the home.”[5] They used this to say that the women going out to work in these factories were not real women. This image is a great representation of what woman’s life should be, which was domestic and all about the home.[6] 

However, one reading may be better than another. Dubois and Dumenil cover enslaved women. They made a connection that the spheres of separation, especially in the work area, were not in play for enslave women. Enslaved women, along with the men, had to plant and pick the cotton all day long.[7] As the picture indicates, enslaved women were also beaten just like enslaved men.[8] This just further proves that there was little separation of labor within among the enslaved.

Both of these readings tell us about how there were a separation of spheres between men and women. They also talk about why this separation came about and the things that were harmful towards this separation. Unfortunately, just like a lot of historical records, many records of minorities and people not in power were not the focus.

[1] DuBois and Dumenil, 188

[2] Ibid, 192

[3] Ibid, 197

[4] Kerber, 10

[5] Ibid, 12

[6] Ibid, 25

[7] DuBois and Dumenil, 211

[8] Ibid, 215

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