Feminism: A History Lesson

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Feminists often trace the roots of their movement back as far as they can. They want to identify with the women's movements of the past even though the term feminism is relatively recent. Let's look at the history they want to identify with.

1848 - Blaming

The Declaration of Sentiments was drafted at the Seneca Falls Convention in the United States. Every one of the 16 sentiments blames men for the problems facing women. One sentiment accuses men of usurping the Christian god.[1] Only 1/3 of the convention attendees signed the declaration.

The right for white women to vote was advocated. Full enfranchisement of white men in the US did not occur until 1860. Black men and women were not enfranchised for a century or more after that.

Early feminists in the US were tied closely to the temperance movement. The feminists sought to impose their social mores on the entire nation through the force of law. In the United States the 18th amendement

1896 - Shaming

The Women’s Rescue League in the United States championed a campaign to shame men for not marrying. When this failed there was an attempt to introduce financially penalise men for not getting married, in the form of a bachelor tax. This was all done in response to concern that women were having trouble finding husbands.

1900 - US - Vandalism

Carrie Nation and other early feminists engaged in actions of vandalism to further their aims.[2] Nation was a radical feminists who stated Men are nicotine-soaked, beer-besmirched, whiskey-greased, red-eyed devils.[3]

1903 - UK - Violence

Formation of the Women's Social and Political Union in the UK by Emmeline Pankhurst. Members of this organisation became known as Suffragettes and explicitly advocated violence to achieve their aims. This included burning down churches, and mass vandalism[4].

By 1914 suffragette violence included the wanton destruction of artwork.[5]

These women were advocating for women's sufferage before men were fully enfranchised in the UK. It is clear from this that they were not interested in working with men for universal sufferage. These were not people who believed in, or fought for, gender equality.

1914 - Shaming

Feminist women hand out white feathers for the entirety of World War I (1914-18) to shame men in to volunteering to go to war.

References

  1. http://legacy.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/senecafalls.asp
  2. http://www2.potsdam.edu/alcohol/Controversies/Biography-Carry-Nation.html
  3. http://thinkexist.com/quotation/men_are_nicotine-soaked-beer-besmirched-whiskey/201036.html
  4. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10995143/Dr-Helen-Pankhurst-The-suffragettes-were-violent-freedom-fighters.-Dont-sanitise-them.html
  5. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10995143/Dr-Helen-Pankhurst-The-suffragettes-were-violent-freedom-fighters.-Dont-sanitise-them.html