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The Women’s Movement And Female Writers

2215 words - 9 pages

   The role of women writers and women in society has changed drastically over the last two centuries. The women’s movement and female writers have worked hand in hand to pursue equality for women and to move their issues to the forefront of the nation. Writers such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sarah Moore Grimké, Angelina Grimké Weld, Harriet Jacobs, and Sojourner Truth help bring to light the sensitive problems that need to be addressed in the women’s rights movement. Angelina Grimké Weld, in her Appeal to the Christian Women of the South, says, "It is through the tongue, the pen, and the press, that truth is principally propogated" (1948). Weld is well aware of the power and influence that the writer has over her audience. The female writers certainly had a substantial influence because they encouraged a movement that is still being fought for today.

The typical 19th century woman served many roles, but her roles were limited to domestic ones. The majority were wives, mothers, caregivers, and housekeepers. Women were considered to be property and were limited in their rights as individuals. As a result of their limited roles, many women began to feel cheated, thus a voice began to emerge among women writers bringing to the attention of the public the discontent that women felt. At the forefront of the women’s movement was Elizabeth Cady Stanton who voices her feelings well in Eighty Years and More: Reminiscences:

The general discontent I felt with woman’s portion as wife, mother, housekeeper, physician, and spiritual guide, the chaotic conditions into which everything fell without her constant supervision, and the wearied, anxious look of the majority of women impressed me with a strong feeling that some active measures should be taken to remedy the wrongs of society in general, and of women in particular. (2033)

Stanton defends her position in the famous "Declaration of Sentiments". Stanton writes her Declaration as a response to the inequality in the "Declaration of Independence. Her Declaration contains wording such as, "all men and women are created equal" (Stanton 2035). She continues in the Declaration to list the rights that have been denied women by men. Stanton’s purpose is to make both men and women realize the injustices that are being done to women as humans.

In addition to her writing, Stanton brings the women’s rights issue to light with a Woman’s Rights Convention. Stanton’s convention draws negative attention from male writers across the country, "All the journals from Maine to Texas seemed to strive with each other to see which could make our movement appear the most ridiculous" (Stanton 2034). This proves that as Stanton was working to bring women’s rights to the forefront, men were working just as hard to tear down the movement. Unfortunately at this point in time, male writers were predominant and could voice their opinions with more acceptance than women.

Men were not the only gender that opposed the...

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