Women sustain oppression to their gender from the beginning of the times. It is difficult to live in the society and among the people who do not take it seriously. That is why women are fighting for their rights. They want to change the world and men’s attitudes towards females. In her book “History is a Weapon. A People's History of the United States”, and, especially, in the Chapter 6, “The Intimately Oppressed”, Howard Zinn shows the history of women from the ancient times; of women who are trying their best to change attitudes towards them not only in the society, but also at homes (Zinn, 2010).
In this chapter, Zinn depicts the history in terms of women who underwent a lot of oppressions. Men did not perceive women seriously from the ancient Greek and Rome times. Female was not so strong to oppose men in antiquity, but with the development of the society, they understood that it is not fair to be treated in such a way, and women started to seek the solution for this problem. Physical characteristics of women did not scare men; in result, they could use females as servants, slaves, childbearers, sex mates, companions. Women were doing everything that men could do, for instance, took care of the whole farm by herself, and did all black work without help from the master or any male slave. Women with the black color of skin were treated more and more badly then white ones. There were some tribes where women lived on the same level as men. They were taught how to shoot and protect themselves and the tribe if there appears any danger. In the tribes of the Southwest, women were dominating, because husbands came to her home and lived there.
One of the most difficult psychological oppressions was marriage. Male depressed their wives in all ways. They captured women’s freedom. Female had to take care of the farm, house, and animals, give a birth and look after the children, and did not forget about the husband and his needs. Women did not have any free time for themselves; however, they had to be strong and attractive. Men captured women’s freedom and only after their death, they could feel a little unconstrained. One of the examples of this situation is a short story “The Story of an Hour”, written by Kate Chopin. The young woman Louise finds that her husband perished in the railroad accident. She is strong when sister tells her that. The only emotion is a few minutes weeping, and she goes into her room. She comes in, locks the door and stays alone. When Louise crossed the threshold, readers discover how rich inner world she has that is not connected with the outside world. When woman looks outside the window, she sees a wonderful and colorful world. Later, she experiences a lot of good feelings and understands that she is free. This freedom makes her become the person she missed so much – young and free. Louise feels disappointed about her husband, but the words “And yet she loved him—sometimes. Often she did not”, helps understand that she does not have any feelings to him and now is happier than ever before, because she is free (Chopin, 2012). Later, when she sees that her husband, who has come back home, is alive, she dies. Heroine cannot deal with the fact, that all her feelings and beliefs about freedom are destroyed by husbands return. To my mind, the central idea of this story is an internal conflict of the person and her desire to sense freedom in all its meanings – marriage, husband, and duties.
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The same idea appears at Zinn’s chapter. It can be felt that the author stresses on an ability to struggle for women’s own freedom and do not submit men’s influence. Women, such as Anne Hutchinson, who spoke out publicly were punished, but others should not give up, because their future depends on them (Zinn, 2010).
To conclude, it should be said that time changes, and so does the society. Women are trying to change their position in the society for a long time. Through the history, men affirm that women’s place is at home, that they should take care of children, husband, do all the homework and do not think of making some efforts to change it. Women were treated badly for hundreds of years, and, as a result, they have been trying to change it, because it was difficult to manage with everything that men wanted and the society accepted. Women should think whether they want a better future and do everything possible to it.
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