Here are responses from two of them:
This reading was very interesting to me. I have never imagined what my life could be like now had the women’s movement not happened. Right now I would be at a “girl college” trying to get an education, probably studying to become a teacher or something of that sort. The majority of people around me would be white and because I am a girl, I would have a curfew. If I found a man in college to marry I probably would not pursue a career, I would just become a housewife. If I did decide to pursue teaching, not only would I be making a lot less money than the average man, but I could also get fired simply for being pregnant. Sex was taboo back then and they did not want children knowing that women were involved in it. Although one would think that the children would know or eventually learn that they came out of their mother’s tummies.
Women were not able to stick up for themselves the way they can now. There was no such thing as sexual harassment, so their bosses could get away with basically treating them however they please. It was hard for a single woman to find an apartment to live in because landlords did not want to rent to them. If a woman were to go into a restaurant without a man with them they would most likely not be served.
Back then it was about looks, not brains. I am so grateful I was not alive during this time. I did not realize this affected every little aspect of a woman’s life. Women were not taken seriously and were just expected to be happy and pretty at all times. Its as if they were not even treated as real, respectable people. Life without feminism would be 100% different. I am appreciative of all the feminist women who have gone before me. Because of the impact they have made, I can be taken seriously as a hard working and independent woman.
Reading through this excerpt is like getting a splash of cold water in the face. There you are minding your own business, when all of a sudden, this author wants you to stop what you’re doing and face the facts. She tells us that if we aren’t counting our blessings, then we haven’t been paying attention. By taking us back to the 1970’s, we are able to see a dramatic difference and, therefore, validate the work feminists have done in our country.
Listing the disappointing mistreatment and oppression of women in that time period, the author gives us a taste of how many struggles women have overcome. A stand-out sentence pointed out the complete lack of classes in prestigious universities that focused on minorities (including women). The author specifically said that the lack of such areas of studies “implies that they are not worth studying.” I felt that one of her main points was that the omission of minority focus was oppression.
Having no female rabbis or cantors during the 70’s was something that caught my attention. I’ve often wondered about how a female perspective could shape a Sunday service. Somehow, I brain went to another dark place from there; women in the media. It’s very apparent that women have had to claw their way to be in modern media the way that they are today. However, one of the things that is most irritating to me is the way that women are still represented in advertisements. Every time I see a commercial for a cleaning product, I practically beg my television screen not to show me a housewife. Is it so much to ask that I see men represented in cleaning commercials? It’s not like women are the only ones who have to buy sponges in North America.
Aside from my rant about cleaning advertisements, there were many other connections that I could make between this excerpt and the real world. I can remember my single mother venturing out into the job market to sell insurance. She was pregnant, but she pretended to just be overweight. Mom told me, “I can’t let the interviewer know that I’m pregnant, they don’t want to give me time off, so I’ve got to be careful.” It felt wrong to me that she was being punished like that. She even felt like she had to wear a fake engagement ring so that when people asked her questions about her pregnancy outside of the office, they wouldn’t judge her. Although, women don’t have to sign a “baby contract” anymore, I think there’s still some red tape there; an unspoken agreement that an employer won’t be “tricked.”
By the end of this piece I felt cynical and angry. I had so many questions to be answered. The image of women in the 70’s was of an incompetent trophy. She couldn’t even be trusted with her own health. Surgeons would know what was best for them, so they just did whatever they wanted to their patients. With the acceptance of women marrying older men, it painted a picture of someone that needed to be protected from their own sexuality, weakness, and incompetence.
~ Danika Padin