There’s very little new under the sun, and that goes double for things from the political world. Each week, Liberty Nation explores a contemporary political phenomenon that has deep roots in the past.
The past 100 years have seen a significant change in women’s rights and roles in society. From gaining permission to vote to running Fortune 500 companies, women have definitely forged their place in the world. Has true equality yet been reached? Or have we gone too far and damaged our hard-sought equality efforts?
Then: Suzie Homemaker and the Right to Vote
The Civil War was a time of fighting for human rights, against slavery and oppression. The women’s movement, however, began decades before that, as the gentle gender started to rebel against what society — or rather men — at the time deemed appropriate behavior. The Cult of True Womanhood, as historians refer to the prevailing social values of the 19th century, suggested that a true female was a submissive wife and mother, pious, and concerned with only home and family.
During the mid-1800s, women played a large part in many reform groups, including religious and abolitionist. It was time, therefore, for women to assume their political identities. In 1868, the 14th Amendment was ratified to extend the Constitution’s protection to all citizens; still, a citizen was defined as a “male.” In 1870, the 15th Amendment gave blacks the right to vote.
Proponents of women’s rights were outraged and continued to fight for equality, but they changed tactics. Instead of arguing that women should be seen as equal citizens, advocates said women should have the right to vote because they were different from men. Female participation at the ballot box would be enhanced by domesticity, creating a more moral “maternal commonwealth.”
On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, was ratified. In November of that year, more than eight million women voted in the elections.
Now: #MeToo – A Step Back
There’s no doubt women have changed in the 99 years since gaining the right to vote, and not just politically. The feminist movement has all but eradicated femininity from what was once considered the gentler sex. We’ve come a long way in 200 years of fighting for our rights, but have we come too far? Demanded too much?
We are moving toward a civilization of what this writer described more than 30 years ago as “unisex.” Men and women are created differently — biologically and emotionally — as documented in research and countless books on the topic. But as a society, we seem to be moving to eliminate all gender associations and recognitions. Just look at legislation in California that allows parents to mark their child’s gender as X on birth certificates, and permits adults to mark their sex as X on official documents, such as driver’s licenses. What is so wrong with being a biological male or female?
Feminist groups have strongly pushed for equal pay in the workforce, and the gender pay gap has certainly narrowed. Sexism largely has fallen to the wayside, enough that most women no longer have to endure the “get me a cup of coffee, sweetheart” remarks. Women are deeply embedded in what was once a male-dominated work world. Women are in the military — not just as nurses, but as pilots flying aircraft, soldiers fighting on the front lines, and officers commanding troops — and are running multimillion-dollar companies. We are in charge of our own lives and do not have to depend on a man to take care of us.
Yes, we have achieved much, but what have these accomplishments cost us? Men and women are equal, but perhaps so equal as to make it difficult to tell them apart. With both parents working in most households, many youngsters grow up as latch-key kids, never to enjoy the stable family environments of past generations. And then came the #MeToo movement, with its platform meant to educate but that has been blown so far out of proportion it has set women back.
While women across the nation stood up and said “me, too” about their experience of being subjected to sexism, others utilized it as a way to advance their political agenda. Suddenly men everywhere were being accused of sexual misconduct going back 30 years, at a time when calling a woman “sweetheart” or dismissing her because she happened to be female was not considered degrading. Then we seemed to forget about “innocent until proven guilty,” and too many men were forced to resign or outright fired, without a shred of evidence to back up the accusations.
This, of course, does not refer to legitimate claims of sexual harassment or more serious charges. However, when people can be accused of and persecuted for “crimes” that weren’t crimes at the time, lose their jobs, their reputations, and become social pariahs for infractions alleged to have happened decades ago, we’ve got to stop and ask ourselves: Have we come too far?
Wall Street traders have taken note of this trend of accusations without proof and condemnations without conviction. As Liberty Nation reported, “Men are sheltering in protective armor by avoiding any opportunity to be alone with a female co-worker.”
Basically, #MeToo, no matter its original intentions, has pushed women two steps backward in the workforce as men fear being accused of inappropriate behavior. Vice President Mike Pence will not dine alone with any female but his wife. Bosses warn male employees not to include women for after-work drinks or get-togethers, just to avoid any sexual misconduct accusations. So, what does this mean for women? Will women be able to climb the work ladder if they are excluded from social activities with their co-workers and peers? If men are fearful to be alone in an office with a female, how often will a woman get invited to share ideas with a male co-worker or boss?
What Have We Learned?
Everything comes at a cost. While women won the right to vote and have gained, for the most part, equality, we have lost a lot as well. We have lost the ability to fight with the “maternal” advantage that helped us get the vote in the first place. Our differences, and what we could bring to the table because of those variances, are being wiped away like cookie crumbs on a table. We’ve spent so much time demanding equality and punishing males that we’ve forgotten our uniqueness is what completes the balance.
By being offended by everything, insisting on immediate changes, calling out and punishing every little misstep, women are becoming as intolerant of men as they were to us 200 years ago.
We do not need to become men to be equal. Two apples and two bananas still equals four.
To read more from Kelli Ballard, visit our author page. At Liberty Nation, we love to hear from our readers. Comment and join the conversation!
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