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Gender and the Automobile in the United States - Term Paper Example

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This essay looks at the introduction of the automobile in a historical perspective and explores the contradictory roles of the automobiles in women’s emancipation. The essay concludes with an overview of the findings explored with respect to the automobile as a marker of American identity …
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Gender and the Automobile in the United States
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Download file to see previous pages What did the introduction of automobiles in the United States do for the status of women? How did car makers perceive women during the period of American history? Emerging at roughly the same time, how did the women’s emancipation movement and the budding car industry reinforce or oppose one another? This essay will look at the introduction of the automobile in historical perspective and will explore the contradictory roles of the automobile industry in leading as well as stifling women’s emancipation. This essay will then conclude with an overview of the findings explored with respect to the automobile as a marker of American identity and the roles that cars have played in the creation of American modernity.
By providing unlimited mobility to individuals, the automobile has given freedom to people in a variety of ways. When the personal automobile was still a new concept during the 1920s, young men and women in the United States considered automobiles to be an important status symbol. During this period it was also fashionable for young men to pick up their dates and drive them to the dance/prom or whatever event they had planned for their evening. Traditionally good manners and proper decorum dictated that the young American male when picking up his date for the first time, would visit the home of his female companion and introduce himself to her parents. That was considered the “proper thing to do”. The automobile changed everything. In fact, the personal automobile ushered in a new culture in which traditional styles and manner were gradually replaced. Instead of greeting her parents and seeking her father’s approval before the date, young men with cars would simply wait outside and honk their horn, waiting for their female companions to emerge from the home. This angered parents but provided young adults with a new sense of freedom and independence.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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