The first reading is “Cult of True Womanhood” by Jeanne Boydston. This is an essay about a PBS documentary, “Not for Ourselves Alone”.
I started reading it and got to this part: “Anthony offers an especially striking example of the paradoxes of the “cult of true womanhood.” Like many other nineteenth-century women (before the Civil War, but especially after it) Susan B. Anthony did not marry, did not have children, did not stay home, traveled constantly, and was self-supporting through most of her life. Ironically, the closest Anthony came to the domestic ideal was when she took over Stanton’s household work to free Stanton to write and think for the movement.”
Which made me wonder if they were living in a same-sex relationship. This sidetracked me enough to go look it up. I found “Lesbians and Social Justice” by Victoria A. Brownworth. This says that “historians differ on whether Anthony was a lesbian”. Well, that figures. Historians love to differ on that sort of thing. Interesting that the first article didn’t even suggest it though.
Back to the first article. Hey, shout-out to Lowell, MA. I know where that is. :)
Boydston is (or was) a history prof at U of Wisconsin – Madison. I was looking at that school. In no small part because Madison is awesome.
I guess I don’t have much more to say about this piece. It’s basically saying there was a myth of domestic bliss, but women were out there writing and being politically active or active in the community, or working, like, jobs.
The second reading is “Human Rights Not Founded on Sex” by Angelina Grimke. This is a letter to Catherine Beecher written?/published? in 1837. Now, I have no idea who Grimke or Beecher are, so I’m going into this pretty cold.
To sum it up, she’s saying that women are equal to men and not designed by God to be lower than men. And she’s very concerned with moral rights and responsibilities because of it. And we see how it all goes back to Eve. If Genesis didn’t say she was created /after/ Adam and from his rib, would all of Western history after that bit was codified be different?
“then I contend that woman has just as much right to sit in solemn counsel in Conventions, Conferences, Associations and General Assemblies, as man—just as much right to it upon the throne of England, or in the Presidential chair of the United States.”
Alas, nearly two hundred years later and we haven’t gotten there yet. Though I hope before we actually reach 200 years!!
“The fallacious doc-trine of male and female virtues has well nigh ruined all that is morally great and lovely in his character: he has been quite as deep a sufferer by it as woman, though mostly in different respects and by other processes.”
I just point this bit out as showing that yea, it’s not women versus men, it’s everyone versus the patriarchy. The system. And this apparently isn’t a new idea!
Okay, the next reading isn’t available online. I’ve requested it through ILL. I might get it Monday, but probably not until I’m back from WisCon. I may skip ahead.