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History of Modern America - Book Report/Review Example

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The book, The World Split Open: How the Modern Women’s Movement Changed America is one of Ruth Rosen’s works. A feminist herself, Rosen in the book takes to review the women’s rights and freedoms movement in America, particularly starting from the 1950s…
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History of Modern America
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History of Modern America

Download file to see previous pages... Major themes of the book The main theme in Rosen’s book is that discriminatory practices were very common against women in the pre-1960s America, and that although these discriminatory practices were deeply etched in the conscience of the patriarchal society, yet the practices were propounded by institutional and structural establishments. This is to the effect that although female empowerment was not overtly displayed by men in the male-dominated society, yet institutional and structural establishments would serve as a serious impediment to the realization of an egalitarian society or the empowerment of women (Rosen, 75). To begin with, Rosen points at the media as a conduit through which the feminist movement was framed, leading to mistrust and an unhelpful reaction from the American society. Rosen discusses the extent to which newspaper advertisements designated jobs according to sex. Furthermore, Rosen blames the media for having stereotyped feminists as victims and not as reformers, and also applied divisive measures against feminism, by portraying feminism as a movement which was more centered on the white and middle class America. It is on this premise that the media invented the myth of women burning bras in order to sell newspapers. . Later on, feminists were portrayed as superwomen who wanted to do all things by themselves, perfectly; and much later on, as the cause of the rising cases of moral rot, consumer culture, family disintegration and materialism. To Rosen, these were manifestations of the evils that accompany a male-dominated media. Rosen also points out at economic practices which furthered sexual discrimination. For instance, many bars declined serving women, purely on the basis of their sex. Even in the justice department, some states refused to absorb women into jury duties. The situation is not made any better by the fact that in the pre-1960 America, women seldom served as heads of large corporations and universities. The number of women who worked as police officers and fire fighters was very negligible. In the educational sector, there were libraries (such as the Harvard’s Lamont Library) and other institutions of learning which were totally off-limits to women, on a flimsy account that female students would bring distraction upon male students, and thereby hampering male students’ academic progress. Again, there was also unfairness in political participation being meted out against women. Particularly, towards the end of the New Left, white women who participated in the Civil Rights movement got sidelined by their male companions in the Students for a Democratic Society and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In these two caucuses, women had been relegated to managing mimeographs. It is against this backdrop that these women made their manifesto in 1965 and mailed it to 40 women who were active in the Civil Rights, peace and students’ movement (Rosen, 60-62). Another theme which Rosen seeks to advance is the idea that in the 1970s, the world was split open. By the world being split open, Rosen intends to mean that the society saw the need to become all-inclusive so that women can equally participate in nation-building. This called for the need to split open, the barriers that precluded ideals such as women empowerment, with these barriers being ideological, institutional and structural. Institutional changes are evinced in the judiciary acknowledging women as having the right to exercise ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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