Annotation: Women ' s Suffrage and National Organization Essay

Submitted By muffins007
Words: 969
Pages: 4

Prisoner of Marriage

The history of women’s suffrage movement is sad because in the beginning, at Seneca falls, women take it by force and get off to a great start only to still be stuck in that same place for many more years to come. You can see from comparing The Seneca Falls Declaration and The National Organization for Women’s 196 Statement of Purpose, that they both talk about one huge institution that’s kept women down, Marriage. From 1848 when women get the right to vote to 1966 when the NOW declaration was proposed, women have been struggling with one common theme: That marriage was the only option for women to turn to which lead to being a prisoner. In the Seneca Falls Declaration they say getting married compares to becoming civilly dead and the NOW statement talks about how women are still expected to just be the stay at home mom and raise the children. The comparison between these two works of literature is actually quite similar. Women waited patiently for too long to be treated equal. In the Seneca Falls Declaration by Elizabeth Stanton and Susan B. Anthony it talks about how marriage is one sided and how the man controls everything and is basically her “master”. At this time in history women didn’t have many options when it came to their future. The most common choice amongst women were to get married and raise a family. The less desired choice was to stay single, which meant the women would be taxed so much by the government, she’d end up losing her property. “He has made her, morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to he husband, he becoming to all intents and purposes, her master-the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement”(57). This quote from the Seneca Falls Declaration shows how women were stripped of everything they had when they get married. Their masters (husbands) were allowed to scold and punish them whenever he so choses. Women at this time were a prisoner in their own homes. After more then one hundred years later after the Seneca Falls Declaration was proposed and women finally got the right to vote. Betty Friedan wrote the National Organization for Women’s 1966 Statement of Purpose. From reading this you see that not many things has changed when it comes to married women. In this statement by Betty she talks about how everyone expects women just to get married have kids and stay at home. No education was needed after high school, all women needed to know was how to cook, clean, and take care of the children, while also keeping their husbands happy. The worst part about this time period is that many women during this time gave up on fighting for their equality. Women at this time were content with their way of life and even criticized the NOW statement saying it was too harsh attacking marriage and raising children. In this statement Betty Friedan did write a very intense statement but coming from a woman that was married and who’s raised her own children, Betty had the absolute right to write about it. “With a life span lengthened to nearly 75 years it is no longer either necessary or possible for women to devote the greater part of their lives to child-rearing; yet child bearing and rearing which continues to be most important part of women’s lives-still is used to justify barring women from equal professional and economic participation and advance.”(113-114) This quote written by Betty is one