23 July 2015
The Gender Racial War
America was created from war. America has continuously fought for and against other countries. One of the things this country has a tough time dealing with is the war at home. Our nation has continued to fight the war on racism. Whether that is color barrier, ethnicity or gender racism, it is something this country has worked so hard to fix. The nineteenth century was full of various American philosophers and writers who spoke on gender heavily. Some of these writers who shined light on this particular topic were known as Transcendentalists. Transcendentalists were “ministers who rejected the view of the philosopher John Locke that the mind was merely passive receptor of sense impressions”(Emerson 212) In other words they were a group of people who shared and accepted ideas not as religious beliefs but as a way of understanding life. Margaret Fuller was an American journalist and women’s rights advocate who was also heavily associated with the transcendentalist movement. One of her famous publishings, The Great Lawsuit, consisted of her not only challenging conventional gender roles in the nineteenth century but to also make sure light was being shed on the subject and that it was not a subject that was being swept under the rug. To help her get these points across in her writing she uses a unique approach by incorporating the transcendentalist beliefs she began to preach. The points she focuses most on in The Great Lawsuit have to do mainly with how women were not given the same opportunities men had. She also puts focus on the idea that some men actually did give women the same gender roles men had.
One of the important things to note about Margaret Fuller was her full involvement in women’s rights and advocating for equality for women. Her contemporaries were somewhat skeptical on her for speaking on subjects such as gender roles and inequality. Margaret Fuller’s The Great Lawsuit covered these issues in particular to make sure the public or her audience were informed of the things this nation could not quite get a grasp on to fix. Fuller was aware of the unfairness women were shown. She expresses in The Great Lawsuit that “As men become aware that all men have not had their fair chance, they are inclined to say that no women have had their fair chance” (Fuller 747) Fuller is reiterating that it would not hurt for men to be aware that women have not had their fair chance at life like men so choosily have. She wants it to be known to everyone that this idea is an issue and that by having everyone aware that it is will call for change. She emphasizes a bit on men beginning to understand that gender roles should become broader for women. Fuller says, “Many men are considering whether women are capable of being and having more than they are and have, and whether, if they are, it will be best to consent to improvement in their condition” (Fuller 750) Here Fuller makes it known that some men are finally coming around to the idea that women need to be able to have more so that the conditions for both are improved. This idea that if men allow women to exceed the restrictions put on them they can improve the lives of the husband and family as well as her own. Fuller writes this in a way to where it does not look as if women are asking for it, more like as if men are finally coming around to it by themselves. There were men in the nineteenth century however who had this belief that the male gender would always be above the female gender. She writes, “But early I perceived that men never, in any extreme or despair, wished to be women. Where they admired any woman they were inclined to speak of her as above her sex” (Fuller 754) She is explaining that this is how women were always treated in this time period. Treated as if women were completely inferior to men. This was the train of thought for men in the nineteenth century; this was not some sort