The thought of freedom seldom enters the mind of an American woman today. Currently women can vote, hold office, ascertain any profession (if she so desires), and even run for the presidency! Women have far outstepped the boundaries of obedient housewife, they have discarded the restraints of domestic duties and strived for a greater goal, a common objective - to be equal to, or greater than, their virile counterpart. In a world where the gender role is becoming increasingly less defined, where men become “mannies” or assume the position of “househusband,” it is easy to overlook the past. One simply forgets the plights of her ancestors, when embracing the copious liberties available to the modern woman.
However, while embracing the often axiomatic freedoms of today, women everywhere should take time to acknowledge the struggles of previous generations. If one were to delve into the history of early American society, they would surely discover a male-dominated nation where women were expected to tend to their kitchen rather than share the responsibility of high government. During this time, a woman was considered the property of her husband, and was to remain compliant and silent. Nevertheless, two brilliant writers, Lydia Marie Child and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, resolved to confront and address the oppression afflicting America’s women. Although these two women have different styles of writing, they both advocate similar contentions.
Lydia Marie Child’s approach to the matter of women’s rights is eloquent; she addresses her perception of the matter while maintaining a calm, incisive disposition. Even when she is obviously distraught, she manages to maintain composure. The fact that she cites many other works in her letter suggests that she is intelligent and well-read, delivering a credible and enjoyable piece.
In contrast, Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s method of protest in “The Seneca Falls Declaration (1848)” is much more abrasive. She compiles an extensive catalog of discriminations which is counterbalanced with a shrewd list of resolutions. She demands equality and introduces a course of action: “In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and National legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf” (Seneca 499). She elicits the assistance of others in aiding her cause, a commendable strategy.
While their techniques differ, both women focus on various corresponding concepts. Each woman expresses a mutual concern for the ignorance of other women. As Child puts it, when discoursing the male gaze: “women in general do not feel this kind of flattery to be an insult, I readily admit; for, in the first place, they do not perceive the gross chattel-principle of which it is the utterance; moreover,...