Significant changes had come and are still coming in the role and image of women in the 20th and 21st century United States of America. The feminist movement is on the rise and getting prominent in politics. The purpose of this analytical piece is to look at the condition of women’s rights during the 20th and 21stera through the arguments presented by Alice Stone Blackwell. Blackwell was a feminist activist and a writer who addressed anti-women’s-suffrage arguments in a volume published in 1917.
The fundamental question that Blackwell answered was why women should vote. The concept was newly emerging at the time, with many still opposed to it. Alice argued that under the law women were the same as men. And since the society claimed to be diplomatic and a republic rather than a monarchy then they should allow women to vote too. She insisted those women should have a voice in deciding who makes the laws for them as they were expected to obey those laws alongside men. A vote is “an expression of an opinion,” and everyone should have the right to voice their opinion.
One argument posed at the time was that if women voted then chivalry would end. The next one was that females are too emotional and cannot be trusted with matters of politics. The response to this was that sentiment is important in a political context. Men who do not feel tend to be heartless and inconsiderate of others. Such men are more often than not lacking in their ethical and moral standards.
It was also believed during that time that men and women are entirely different. Their characters and role in society are starkly apart. So if women voted, they would turn like men and lose their sex, their identity. Alexis argued that a country such as America, which was one of the founding nations of Democracy, should give suffrage to women. And acknowledge them as equal to men.
However, people also argued that suffrage rights meant that women would start looking for ways of increasing their influence further in the matters of the state. They would neglect their domestic duties and responsibility. Ultimately, they wouldn’t want to become homebound and domestic. This destroys the family system in America that was getting followed until then.
American politics in the 20th century was becoming milder than in the preceding years when the politicians were more rigid on their conservative mindsets. Some setbacks had also taken place internationally, and the economy of the country was going down. During this, the liberal mindset started to really foster and grow in the minds of others too.
Another reason for this social progression towards liberalism was the industrialization and capitalism wave in America. With technological innovation, standards of living increased, women had more time on their hands and wanted to work professionally.
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