First Wave Feminism Essay

Topics: Women's suffrage, Feminism, Elizabeth Cady Stanton Pages: 4 (1528 words) Published: November 13, 2014
First Wave Feminism
In today’s world, women are still living in a male dominant society where even when we get married, we vow to love, honor, and obey our husband. Even today we are still fighting for many rights for women, including: equal pay, the right for abortion, the end of rape, the right for contraceptives, and many other important rights that men have ( or do not need to worry about). “The movement to end sexism, sexist exploitations, and oppression . . .” (Hooks 37) is known as feminism. Today people would call us feminist, but during the 19th and 20th century that term did not exist. These women and men were known as suffragettes or suffragists. The suffragettes who fought beginning in 1848, with Seneca Falls, all the way to 1920, when women achieved the right to vote, were labeled First Wave Feminist. Two key elements of the First Wave in U.S. Feminism were how different races and class divisions affected the feminist movement (Shaw & Lee).

The movement of feminism was brought about by many: men, women, upper class women, African American men, and the divisions just keep going. Yet all these people believe in the same thing, so why cant they all stand together and profess it. If only it was that simple. Race was a key element of the first wave of U.S. feminism. Presented in the Documentary “Not for Ourselves Alone” viewed in class, a famous African American is introduced. He is a great African American male journalist who supported the movement for women’s suffrage and his name is Frederick Douglass. In the documentary Frederick Douglass stands and speaks at the Seneca Falls Convention supporting Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s’ petition for women’s right to vote. Without Frederick Douglass’ speech the vote may not have pass. This is an essence in one of the most vital situations of feminist history that show that race played a major role in feminism (Burns).

Even though there are moments when we believe races can all be treated equally, Katja Von...


Cited: Hooks, Bell. “Feminist Politics, Where We Stand.” Women’s Voices Feminist Visions, Classical
and Contemporary Readings. 6th Ed. Ed. Susan M. Shaw and Janet Lee. New York:
McGraw-Hill Education, 2015, 37-39. Print.
Iron Jawed Angels. Dir. Katja Von Garnier. Perf. Hilary Swank, Frances O’Connor, Julia
Ormond, Patrick Dempsey. HBO Video, 2004. DVD.
Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony. Dir. Ken
Burns. Perf. PBS, 1999. Film.
Shaw, Susan M., and Janet Lee. Women’s Voices Feminist Visions, Classical and Contemporary Readings. 6th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015. Print.
Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States; The Intimately Oppressed. Retrieved
from http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/zinnint6.html
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