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Sexism History In The USA And Feminism As A Way To Overcome It

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It has always been agreed upon that America, as a nation was founded, civilized and industrialized upon many degraded institutes. Some great examples include: racism, slavery, discrimination, hate crimes, fragmentation, and much more. One of the main practices that I feel is very prevalent today but not understood to its entire depth, is sexism. Sexism can be defined as prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, based on sex or gender; mainly against women in our society. This act has been present in America since the very beginning, thus it is overlooked in modern society; what is worst is that we fail to acknowledge that it is all around us.

Within the text, Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Class: The Sociology of Group Conflict and Change by Joseph F. Healey, there is a lengthy and accurate analysis of these topics and their presence or role in the world today. The text contains an index of terms used throughout it, from which one a specific term stood out to me. A dominant group is defined according to the text as “the group that benefits from and, typically tries to sustain minority-group subordination” (Healey). The term directly beneath that one is double bind, listed to describe “a situation in which negative consequences ensue regardless of the choice that is made” (Healey). It is reasonable to characterize males as the dominant group when it comes to the oppression of women. A simple look at the fact that women are treated to appear, act and remain second to a man or inferior to a husband rightly makes this label precise. The few women that are infuriated by this assumed standard and make it their mission to abolish it are often labeled as “radical feminist.” This term is commonly used with ignorance as well as with a negative connotation by both men and women who are content with their position. Thus, there are always those women who know they are being discriminated against but refuse to speak up. Those women are stuck in a double bind. This very bind has been around for years and still is today. For example, shaping the work force and labor to be sexually divided, women having the more inferior positions of course. Healey calls this, pink-collar occupations, “those that have been predominantly held by women” (Healey). If feminism is criminalized and the reality of America’s history is dismissed, this issue will prevail into many more generations of females. In order to decrease the likelihood of that, it is vital that people are educated, and that this has been happening since colonization.

When the colonization of America comes to mind, no one tends to think about the role of women during that time. Women were only expected to get married and be a wife, then a mother. However, at the same time, they received little to no education. Today, we would require a woman to seek knowledge on how to properly carry, deliver and nurse a child, especially if it is her first; not to mention other wifely duties, such as, cooking, sewing, weaving and keeping the house in order. Considering this stereotype is maintained today, some may find this type of role to be reasonable. But what’s not realized is the assumptions beneath it. Women were expected to stay in the house because they were not believed to be smart enough or capable of work outside of that area. This type of mentality has kept America’s social structure intact for extended periods of time.

Ironically, while women were considered unknowledgeable about anything outside the house, education and the opportunity to gain it, was shielded away from them. This only goes to show that the sexist institutions today were all clearly planned and well thought out. Another institute in America built based on sexism were voting rights. Yes, of course, this issue is taught as an issue of race, but why not gender first. Why is it not realized that women did not have voice, let alone hear each other’s until relatively recently in history? It wasn’t until the Enlightenment Era that women built up the courage to stand up for their rights and were given the opportunity to speak aloud and to one another. During this period, women began to read and write to each other about their role and inferiority. One of the most famous pieces of literature regarding that issue was The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedman. She voiced that women were being force into the second-class position which was dominated by men. She wasn’t wrong, and more and more women began to realize it.

Men began to realize it too. Thus, they came up with an ideology that men and women belonged in two separate spheres. The sphere for women was to be dedicated only to the home and children. This false statement had brainwashed many women and kept them stagnant for numerous years. Even as society was becoming more industrialized and modernized, efforts to keep women in their sphere were made. Shopping malls and diners being one of the most popular; which were placed near neighborhoods and were advertised for women to get out the house and as a great way for them to remain occupied when the children went to school. Shopping malls were an agent into sexism, aided its overall mission to keep women inferior to men. This type behavior continues today as you see three to four, nail and hair salons, jewelry stores and female apparel department store to every barber shop or hardware store.

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It is not hard to see every aid or example of sexism in modern society, if you look closely. It is not hidden or even shamed. If anything, it is heightened and praised as every woman is forced to receive about 80 cents to a man’s dollar or be neglected to chance to secure a political position. Jim Tankersley, a journalist for the NYTIMES published an article titled, “How Sexism Follows Women from the Cradle to the Workplace,” which definitely targeted all the different struggles that those aspects of sexism entail. Great points were brought up about the various factors such as choosing to work long hours and taking longer shifts that women fail to take advantage on. (Workplace)

Women are still shunned by society for participating or believing in pregnancy prevention or abortion. This an issue that will continue to be prevalent; especially today; all because of the sexist foundation that America was rooted from. These are the issues that were always present but always pushed aside in history. From the Hull House by Jane Adams to National Organization for Women (N.O.W), women have learned to steal their voice back and today in 2019 America continues to silence it to maintain a male dominance.

American actress, model, comedian, director and television host Tracee Ellis Ross held a Ted Talk entitled, “The Power of a Woman’s Fury”. In her 10-minute talk she recalls an event in which a friend of hers were infuriated at the physical disrespect she encountered at a post office by a male. At the scene Tracee describes her finds to have been physically moved out of the man’s way or path, instead of staying “excuse me”. This simple event carried an underlying meaning of just how comfortable men are now with their position that they feel they have the unspoken right to help themselves to a woman’s body. Ms. Ellis goes on to encourage women to stand up for themselves and to embrace the furry they feel when things like such occur. It is common that women are told they are overreacting or catastrophizing the situation. (TED) But as their rights, body and existence is either neglected or suppressed, they have every right to b e perplexed as well as act on it.

That is the solution to sexism in America for 2019 and so forth. Women need to unite and demand their position to equal to men. Many movements and events have been held for just that, but the problem is that after these events are over no one speaks but the women making less than her male coworker who is less qualified. Or the woman physically violated due to her space in a man’s path. The female at high school sent home because her clothing is distracting for the boys. (School) These are just a few of everyday events or adversity that females face. Sally Thomas, a journalist for World of Education website, wrote a great article titled “Sexism is a problem in every school. Now we must take action,” which did a great job covering this topic of school.

From this point forward feminism should be gloried, as its actual meaning is focused toward reducing gender stratification and achieve equality between genders. It is a mindset and lifestyle to fight for what is right for women. Sexism is real and present as ever in 2019 as it has been forever. Feminism is a choice between remaining stationary and stopping a foundation of America that is still prevailing today.

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Sexism History In The USA And Feminism As A Way To Overcome It. (2021, August 24). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 24, 2023, from
“Sexism History In The USA And Feminism As A Way To Overcome It.” Edubirdie, 24 Aug. 2021,
Sexism History In The USA And Feminism As A Way To Overcome It. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Sept. 2023].
Sexism History In The USA And Feminism As A Way To Overcome It [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Aug 24 [cited 2023 Sept 24]. Available from:
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