Why did I not know that?
Like many people, I have been unaware of the complete history of women and their struggle(s) for rights in this country. I know we won the right to vote in 1920 but I did not know that â€śon November 2, more than right million American women voted for the first timeâ€? (Manifesta Timeline). It still shocks me that for hundreds of years women were living in this country, contributing what they were allowed to contribute but were still not seen as first-class citizens. According to the Manifesta timeline, â€śin 1860 â€“ New Yorkâ€™s Married Womanâ€™s Property Act gives wives the same right to own property that is enjoyed by their husbands, and gives women the right to joint custody of their childrenâ€?. Women were not allowed the custody of their children? How did the government think children were born? Did the father pick them up at the butcher shop?
After being in this class and reading these excerpts, I wonder why I did not know this information before. I have taken your average World History and American History courses but feminism and the movement for equal rights for women was rarely, if ever, mentioned. There was maybe a section saying how we â€śwere given the right to voteâ€? but no real description of how long women fought to get to that point. Also, I have never read much in my history books about the womenâ€™s movement in the 1960s â€“ 1970s and in some aspects that is just as important because it is closer to our generation. Did you know that because she was â€śappalled by the lack of sex toys and the number of female clients who donâ€™t have orgasms, sex therapist Joani Blank opened Good Vibrations in San Franciscoâ€? in 1977? Probably not because the people who write our history books did not want us to know that women are just as sexually curious as men and we also have needs that need to be fulfilled. The only way to get this information out there is to have different sources and people write our books. If we have the same authors, we will learn the same information and learn nothing new. Apart from books, our beliefs of womenâ€™s rights are also constructed by our public/private school system and the media. I learned about safe sex in school and how abstinence is â€śthe best choiceâ€? but I did not learn about sexual health, especially for women. Furthermore, films show men â€śpleasuring themselvesâ€? and it is usually seen as a joke and part of growing up (i.e. â€śAmerican Pieâ€? and â€śFast Times at Ridgemont Highâ€?) but for women, that topic is rarely addressed. Why?
I am very proud of the women who have come before me and I know I would not have the rights that I have today if it werenâ€™t for them. I just hope that my generation can take it another step further: improve sex education and discuss sexual health freely with our friends and future children and not have it be â€śwrongâ€?.