Saturday, June 27, 2009

First Wave Feminism

One strategy or tactic of the First Wave was to use hunger strikes to obtain the vote for women or more support. I actually think that this would be more effective today because of the prohibition of force-feeding by the Declaration of Tokyo. Prior to this declaration – and during the first wave of feminism – women who went on hunger strikes could be force-fed to provide nourishment. Now, however, they cannot. This might allow for women to get their point across especially considering policy-makers would only have the option to appease their requests instead of force-feeding them.

I think that racism and classism definitely still divide feminist movements somewhat today. I think women who are uneducated still have their views and opinions looked down upon because they do not have a certain level of education to provide support for their ideas, which is absurd. I also think that there are too many white women in high-level positions in the feminist movement, still. There should be more African-American women, Latin-American women, Asian-American women, etc, in leadership positions within the feminist movement.

I think suffragists could have dealt with the issue of Black suffrage in a more positive way by just attempting to get both forms of suffrage ratified around the same time. The suffragists of the first wave of feminism made it seem as if one was ratified the other would never be and vice-versa, but if they were fighting for the same things then both would have definitely been ratified. In fact, it might have even proven helpful if they used examples of the ratification of one of the suffrage movements to stimulate the ratification of the other. The suffragists could have pointed out the hypocrisy of ratifying one and not the other.

I think, in order to be a successful activist in the first wave you had to be extremely charismatic and present the qualities of a leader. You can’t start a movement if you don’t step up to the plate and charm people into following you. Also, you would have to have a high level of determination and endurance. These women were all arrested and abused for decades and yet they still persevered.

I think that many young people aren’t on the radar about suffrage today because many times in history courses and what not, women’s suffrage is ‘lightly skimmed over’ unless women’s studies courses are taught at middle and high school levels, a lot of young people don’t even learn about all of these struggles unless they enroll in a course in college, and even then they have the option of whether or not to take this course.

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