Previously published in Examiner
Part 1 of How language changes the way we think
Feminism recap as presented in the Montreal Women’s Issues column
As you know from reading this column faithfully, the first wave of feminism of the early 20th century was concerned with basic legal issues. They were concerned with having women recognized under the law as legal persons and not just property of their fathers or husbands. The early suffragists fought for women’s legal rights in terms of family property allocation, and they fought for the woman’s vote.
Later women such as Jane Addams were concerned with providing a sanctuary for many immigrant women.
The temperance movement actually was powerful enough that for a few years women actually got legislation to ban alcohol consumption (prohibition). These women were brave and strong and fought for women’s rights.
By the time the 1940’s came about women were proving themselves in the area of working in a man’s world. The Rosies (Rosie the riverter) showed how they could do the same work as a man and do it well. Then the postwar years came to be and women were once again chained to the home in the role of the housewife.
Betty Friedan became the champion and pioneer for the second wave of feminism, which was said to have lasted from the 1960’s through to the end of the 1970’s. Friedan focused a lot upon the role of the housewife and how this perfect model of a woman, wife, and mother, turned out to be less than satisfying for many American housewives of the time.
However, there were other issues that women were addressing in the second wave of feminism which Betty Friedan and other feminists of the era championed. The main focus was inequality among the genders. Their concern was that man was the dominant sex in society and every aspect of a woman’s life was overpowered or overshadowed by men.
To be continued
For courses on Language, Cognition and Perception in Montreal, McGill University has excellent courses and diplomas and degrees, in neuroscience, behavioural sciences, health sciences and psychology.
Department of Psychology Concordia University – Cognitive Science