Early twentieth century America is shaped by World War I , the effects of industrial growth, and a beginning of a new age in literature. Despite movements for progressive reforms like the prohibition of alcohol and the movement for women’s suffrage women’s rights were still limited by traditional gender roles. Women are a “detached portion” of their husbands and expected to submit to his every demand. As result of women being viewed as flighty and emotionally unstable, men must take the dominant role and every decision made in the family is approved by them. Moreover, the purpose of a woman’s life is to maintain a household and birth and care for her
After all the devastation brought about by the Great Depression and World War II, Americans desired and sought for a return to normalcy during the 1950s. With men away at war and women pursuing jobs, the rate of divorce skyrocketed as families were being split apart. Juvenile delinquency rose in great numbers due to the lack of parental supervision during wartime. This evoked fear in the American people that the survival of the “traditional American family” was in jeopardy. Thousands of women were pushed out of the workforce and back into their homes as returning soldiers resumed their positions on the job. Suburban housing flourished as the notion to conform spread across the country. The 1950s was a period of conventionality, when both men and women practiced strict gender roles and complied with society’s expectations in attempts to recreate the “American Dream”. The concept of the “Ideal Woman” created a well-defined picture to women of what they were supposed to emulate as their proper gender role in society. A woman was told her primary interest was everything but herself. She was expected to cook, clean, take care of the kids, and be a loving wife who waits for her husband to come home in order to adhere to his needs. Taking time to care for herself was never in the picture. The idea of conformity trapped these women in suffocating boxes that allowed no room to breathe. The pressure put on women to be the core of the entire family while keeping her husband happy was
Although immigrant women play a big role in America’s society and economy, they have been constantly mistreated and looked down upon throughout history. Not only do they face the burden of the stratifications that their gender entails but they also struggle to adopt the American culture and norms. America was viewed as the land of opportunities and economic prosperity, a perspective that draws in many immigrant women who were willing to leave their families and possessions to come to this foreign country in hopes of a better life. In America, they faced many challenges as they not only had to work long hours but also took care of their families and do housework as well. They struggled to make a standard living out of low wage jobs and assimilating into America’s society. Today, the treatment of immigrant women has improved greatly as they have stood together and fought for their rights. Immigrant women have built communities and held strikes for better pay and treatment. Although America has made great strides in improving treatment of immigrant women, there is still social injustice. Immigrant women have come a long way from the first time they entered America until now, but their stories are often left untold and omitted from American history.
Many women of the early 1900’s wanted to be treated fairly and equally to their male counterparts. For a long time, it was not even socially acceptable for a woman to work. As a woman’s job in society started involving be part of the work force, many
Women did not have an easy life during the American Colonial period. Before a woman reached 25 years of age, she was expected to be married with at least one child. Most, if not all, domestic tasks were performed by women, and most domestic goods and food were prepared and created by women. Women performed these tasks without having any legal acknowledgment. Although women had to endure many hardships, their legal and personal lives were becoming less restricted, although the change was occurring at a snail’s pace.
The article From the Russian Pale to Labor Organizing in New York City written by Annelise Orleck reveals how the working class immigrant community played a significant role in influencing women’s labor movements in the early twentieth century. Orleck maintains that as a result of their background, Jewish women had an experience in America different from most women. She posits that since they did not subscribe to the Victorian ideal of a traditional women’s role, Jewish immigrant women were able to form networks which transcended class, ethnicity, and even gender. Orleck’s book is a significant contribution to
Through Women’s Eyes by Ellen Carol DuBois and Lynn Dumenil addresses American History from 1865 until present day. The third edition of this textbook includes visual and primary sources over several centuries. I used this textbook in a history course, “Women in the United States, 1890 – Present;” I found the textbook to be engaging, helpful, and useful throughout the course. The way in which in the information was presented allowed me to learn, assess, and analyze the difficulties women faced.
In “The Semplica-Girl Diaries”, George Saunders makes an important statement about the role of materialism in the American Dream, and how this materialism may not be the key to happiness many believe it to be. Saunders tells of a middle class family that strives to meet the standards of their peers and find a happier life. The father, who acts as the narrator, believes that acquiring and spending money on material objects, specifically the Semplica Girls, will improve the family’s life by improving how the family’s financial situation appears to others. The father’s primary values are that wealth and social standing are crucial to attaining the good life, and he believes the purchase of the Semplica Girls will fulfill these values. However, it is clear from the family’s ultimate situation and the disapproval of the mother’s successful father, that the narrator’s beliefs are misguided and potentially damaging to the family.
Throughout history, women have faced with a plethora of challenges that called for them to transcend society’s limitations. One of these situations was the challenges presented by the terrible living and factory conditions in New York City at the turn of the 20th century. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire took the lives of 146 immigrant women and devastated New York; and due to the theft-preventative measures of locking the doors to the factory, owner, Isaac Harris and Max Blanck led to even more lives being lost. This situation, although terrible, was not that uncommon. As these immigrant women arrived in the United States, there would be a typical and similar experience among many; one that started with the problems offered upon arrival,
Women’s history in the United States has always been represented as a struggle for rights. Wealth and status were tied to either their fathers or husbands. In the early 1900s, women were afforded the traditional roles of society. The majority of women worked in the home. If they were of the 18% young or poor women, they also worked in factories as laborers, manufacturing items for the booming industrial revolution (U.S. Department of Labor, 1980). During this time period the workplace was not in compliance with current safety standards. There was no minimum wage yet, work conditions were horrible and they worked long hours, “In 1900, the average workweek in manufacturing was 53 hours,” (Fisk, 2003). Women took “pink
Towards the end of the 1800s and into the beginning of the 1900s, the roles of women in society and in the family began to change drastically compared to what it had been in the past. Women were now allowed to own land, vote, and do more than cook and clean. Willa Cather and William Faulkner portray the roles of women in the early 1900s in their short stories, “Neighbor Rosicky” and “A Rose for Emily.” These short stories were both published around the year 1930. Because of what was happening in the US at the time, these stories are very good examples of the ways women were treated at this time.
(Schaller 592) From the poor work conditions, the immigration levels continued to grow thus feeding the endless cycle. With the new flow of immigrants, meant the rise of a younger generation who would cut ties with the older traditions. Some young working women turned against parental rules, and control. The gained their independence by keeping money for themselves to spend on clothes and go out and socialize, in ways that previous generations hadn’t. They also rejected the normal things such as arranged marriages, embracing more American ways of love. (Schaller 631) Middle class women began to embrace this style and it became known as the “New Woman.” They slowly began to move away from what was then the ideal woman, and become more athletically involved in things such as: hiking, camping, bicycling, tennis, and many other sports. (Schaller 634) Soon after they broke away from their stereotypical housewife facade, they began to raise their voices on controversial issues other than women’s rights. Jane Addams was inspired by her stay at Toynbee
With the center of production moving from households to mass-production, women in America had to alter their way of life. A great number of women followed labor opportunities to the mills, factories, and workshops. For the first time in history, large numbers of women left their homes to participate in the public world. “Mill Girls” were typically young, unmarried women who lived together in boarding houses provided by the factory for which they worked. Lucy Larcom recalls,
Two characters, Elisa Allen and Mary Teller, struggle with the idea of being accepted into the society of the 1930s. Women’s rights were not fully accepted in the 1930s, and these two characters were set in the common day view of men and women. In the 1930s, “[Society has] assigned to white women such roles as housewife, secretary, PTA chairman, and schoolteacher. Black women can now be schoolteachers, too, but they are most prominently assigned to such domestic roles as maid, cook, waitress, and babysitter” (Chisholm 123). These assigned roles have impacted women around the world, including the two characters in these short stories - “The Chrysanthemums” and “The White Quail”. Not being activists in women’s rights, these women conformed to society and lived their lives as any typical housewife in the 1930s. Their passions and choices during this time affected their way of living and relationships. The two stories reflect similarities of the women’s love for gardening and lonely marriages, but also reflect their different viewpoints on the world they live in.
Post-war America observed dramatic reformations such as the onset of idealism (1920's), hyper-patriotism (after World War I), and the subsequent modernization of the nation. The orthodox Victorian age ideals held by the Southern Belle had flamboyantly disconnected themselves from Americans as people took great pride in observing the ideals of America. Unfortunately for Dubois, she embodies the many women who were alienated and dissociated by this transition. Williams’ work offers an insight into the dissent that stems from the failure of society to bridge the gap between individuals caught in the mesh of social transitions through the lens of a woman estranged by her own; moreover, Williams relays the incumbency upon society to embrace hybridity in order to integrate individuals ensnared by societal