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The Intimately Oppressed

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While reading the sixth chapter of Howard Zinn, I could not help but notice that the central focus was on women who rebelled against the inequalities women were given post-declaration. My AP History teacher last year, Mr. Hall, used to commonly use the saying “Now ladies… Sorry to say this but until about seventy years ago, you didn’t count for much.” This is a prime example of how the women in the 17th and 18th century felt. They wanted more rights and appreciation than they were given instead of just being commended on their ability to bear children.

The women felt like they were being used as a tool that men could just use whenever they felt like it and the men treated them as a piece of property in high socially based society. In my opinion, I think this trend hit its peak during these two centuries primarily influenced by the Declaration of Independence. Nations worldwide were beginning to adopt the Declaration and its values, both men and women. Women were starting to realize that they had more to do in society than just raise a family and should have the same, or some of the same, rights as free men in America did.

For example, Amelia Bloomer was an American women’s right activist. Her husband, Dexter Bloomer, influenced and encouraged her to take action in society and write for his New York newspaper, the Seneca Falls County Courier, to help promote women’s rights and raise awareness. Her main contribution to women’s rights was the ability to dress more casually than what society had originally inferred by giving women the choice of dress to fit her comfort and usefulness. To me, Amelia is a very influential women’s activist by promoting something that could seem so small but ended up being so big. She influenced the women’s clothing reform known as the “bloomers” although she hadn’t originally came up with the idea and helped start a revolution that is still in the works today. Slowly, women are gaining the rights they deserve and it is thanks to the women who went against the status quo in the 17th and 18th century that we, the women of the world, have prospered and become who we are today: government officials, astronauts, scientists, authors, and some women have even ran for president.

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