Essay about Women's Oppression, Making Progression

Submitted By CourtneyLynn23
Words: 2593
Pages: 11

Women’s Oppression, Making Progression As a student attending Bemidji State University, I am required to choose between several courses over my first couple of years to fulfill these things in the curriculum called “Goal Areas.” These areas form the basis of a student’s Liberal Education credits, and are supposed to supply the student with a well-rounded educational basis for whatever career path they might decide to take. A student has the choice to choose from a list of courses that cover a wide array of topics and ideas that interest them most. Trying to fulfill these “Goal Areas” is what led me to a class called Women and Diversity: Crossing Boundaries of Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality. What originally attracted me to this specific course was the fact that I had never taken any class that sounded even remotely like it. It intrigued me, and I wanted to learn about what I did not know. After only the very first class period, I left the class with a new outlook on and new knowledge about women and gender equality. One could even say I was a bit inspired by all that women have accomplished to this day. Women’s roles in American society have greatly changed from what they were in the past, they are still changing today, and will continue to change in the future until full equality is won. Upon entering the classroom on our first day of class, I can honestly say that I had no idea what to expect. As I previously stated, I had never taken a class that sounded anything like this one. I think that entering the room with such an open mind and a blank canvas of knowledge about this subject was a good thing in my case. I had no predispositions of women’s rights, equality, or roles up to that point. What I had learned in some previous history classes in high school barely even skimmed the surface about the struggles and the countless fights women went through to achieve the things that should’ve rightfully been theirs to begin with and to gain even the littlest amount of equality. So far, this class has taught me a countless number of things and new ways of thinking about women in our society, the roles they play, and what they had to go do get to where they are. During our second class period, I had one of the biggest, if not the biggest, eye-opening experience to this day involving women’s right. The professor brought in a movie for us to watch during class called Iron Jawed Angels. The movie follows a Quaker feminist and women’s activist named Alice Paul on her journey to achieve the right to vote. She bans together with a friend from college and numerous other women to form a feminist activist organization known as the National Women’s Party to fight for women’s suffrage. They attempt to get the then current president, Woodrow Wilson’s attention by setting up meetings with him. When that doesn’t seem to be getting through to him, they take drastic measures, risking their lives. They picketed outside of the White House every day, even after the United States declared war. This led to great public disapproval, landing the protestors in jail, where they were treated very unjustly. While in jail, Alice Paul and her fellow activists were force-fed through tubes that were unwillingly shoved down their throats to end their hunger strike. When word of this treatment was released to the public, the people were outraged. Wilson was put under great pressure to end suffrage, and finally the Nineteenth Amendment was tried for the Constitution and was passed in 1919 and ratified in 1920. I think the part that impacted me the most about this movie was the time the women spent in jail. I was shocked that they were even sent there in the first place, because they didn’t break any laws while they were picketing. The authorities got so frustrated that the women wouldn’t leave that they finally had to make up an excuse to get them off of the White House’s sidewalk. They were taken in for the measly excuse of obstructing traffic and