Handbas In Real Life

June 6, 2009
By Connie Hong BRONZE, Champaign, Illinois
Connie Hong BRONZE, Champaign, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

fem•i•nism [fémmə nìzzəm] n belief in women's rights: belief in the need to secure rights and opportunities for women equal to those of men, or a commitment to securing these.

Imagine that you are a female, walking into a voting booth on Election Day voting for the next commander in chief and you are denied that right because of your gender. Sounds insane, in fact today that would be unconstitutional for one to do because of the Nineteenth Amendment allowing women’s suffrage. Until nearly a hundred years ago, that was the case for most women and races, they couldn’t be allowed a simple right because of the way they were born. Fortunately, there were people out there who were willing to do something to change this horrific reality. Those people were women and can all be described as feminists, valiant, fearless, and daring. Shirley Chisholm, Betty Friedan, Susan B Anthony, and Eleanor Roosevelt all have something in common besides that they are all women, they wanted change.

Shirley Anita St. Hill on November 30, 1924, but now better known as Shirley Chisholm, Chisholm is the first black woman elected into Congress as a Representative. She got her Bachelor Degree at Brooklyn College in 1946 ad then her Masters Degree in child education at the ever prestigious Columbia University (AfricanAmericans.com). Chisholm ran for a Representative of New York as a Democrat and was into office in 1968. She served on a number of committees and was pushing for more funding in day-care centers. In 1972 Chisholm became the first African American woman to run for president but lost the Democrat Nominee spot. She did though get an incredible 10% of the democratic votes. President Bill Clinton asked for her to become the Ambassador of Jamaica but due to her heath, she had to decline. Chisholm’s well lived life came to an end on January 1, 2005 near Daytona Beach, Florida. She said that she wanted to be remembered as a woman who helped people gain their rights, not as the first African Congresswoman or the first to run for president.

Chisholm’s accomplishments are superior for her times. She did after all become the first African American woman to be elected into Congress and also the first to run for presidency. With her experience, it opened new paths for people such as Hillary Clinton to have the nerves and guts to run for president today.

Born Betty Naomi Goldstein on February 4, 1921, Goldstein is today better known as Betty Friedan. She was an ever famous feminist always fighting for women’s rights. Friedan was accepted by the leading women’s colleges: Smith, Vassar, Wellesley, and Radcliff and chose Smith. She wrote the book The Feminine Mystique which became a controversial bestseller and made the list of Ten Most Harmful Books of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Friedan helped organize the National Women's Political Caucus. In 1966, Friedan became President of the National Organization for Women which she helped him along with Susan B Anthony and twenty six other women. In 1975, the American Humanist Association named her “Humanist of the Year” (Davies). Unlike other feminist, Friedan never lashed out against men. Friedan also campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment and helped the elder gain their rights when she became an elder. Friedan’s life came to an end on February 4, 2006; she was 85 years old.

I see Betty Friedan as the woman who stood up for what she believed in not matter what other people told her. The Feminine Mystique was controversial but many women felt that way about society. Some women thought that getting an education would be very masculine and with all of that education they will think more intellectually instead of using creativity. I liked how Friedan was outspoken and refused for people to bring her down. I would like to become a person who is not afraid to speak her mind (most of the time) and stand up for the rights that I believe in. I would like to become a person who is not afraid to speak her mind (most of the time) and stand up for the rights that I believe in.

On the silver one dollar coin is women’s rights activist Susan B Anthony. She was born on February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts. Anthony was a strong believer in not only women’s rights but also civil rights for both men and women of all races. In 1872 Anthony, three of her sisters, and other women were arrested for voting (The Susan B Anthony House). Later, she started a petition gathering 100,000 names from 26 states. Congress mocked her when she presented the signatures. In 1904, Anthony helped with the finding of the International Women’s Suffrage Alliance. She appeared before Congress from 1869-1906 to ask for a suffrage amendment. Not only did Anthony fight for women’s rights, she was also an abolitionist campaigning for the Fourteen and Fifteenth Amendment and wanted to reform women’s dress. Anthony died on March 13, 1906 in her home in Rochester, New York. Finally in 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment was passed allowing woman to vote. The Nineteenth Amendments is also known as the Susan B Anthony Amendment in honor of Anthony. Today, women all over the world are able to vote thanks to Anthony. In four years, I will be able to do something back in Anthony’s time thought to be impossible, vote. I, and every other citizen of the United States, will have the opportunity to have a world in the government, all thanks to Susan B Anthony.

Perhaps the most well-known woman’s rights activist is Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, also known as just Eleanor Roosevelt. She was married of Franklin D Roosevelt, her fifth cousin once removed. Roosevelt pushed for expanded roles for women including wartime activities. She was the first woman to do many things including to speak in front of a national convention, to write a syndicated column, to earn money as a lecturer, and to hold regular press conferences. As first Lady, she broke the stereotypical First Lady role. Believe it or not, Roosevelt wasn’t even interested in women’s suffrage until Franklin expressed an interest in it! She then joined the League of Women Voters in 1920. After she left the White House, Roosevelt continued to fight for women’s rights say that women must "become more conscious of themselves as women and of their ability to function as a group. At the same time they must try to wipe from men's consciousness the need to consider them as a group or as women in their everyday activities, especially as workers in industry or the professions." (The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers) Roosevelt died Strangely enough, some historians argue that Roosevelt is not a feminist because she was against the Equal Rights Amendment and the National Woman's Party even though Roosevelt has been quoted saying, “I became more of a feminist than I ever imagined.” (The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers)

Personally, I do consider Roosevelt a feminist because even if Roosevelt was against the Equal Rights Amendment, she did support numerous of other causes. Roosevelt was against the Equal Rights Amendment because some women thought that by passing the Amendment all of the hard work the women had done would have been for nothing.

Imagine about a hundred years later from 1900, you walk into a voting booth as yourself no matter what race or gender, you make your selection for the next commander in chief and walk out. No arrests, no drama, no worries of any wrong doing. Sounds more peaceful and enjoyable than just walking in and then having to walk out without having a say on America’s next leader, right? We can thank those four marvelous women that took a risk and won; these women are the first African-American Congress Woman, the feminist with a controversial bestselling book, the woman on the silver dollar coin, and the woman married to a paralyzed president who were also known as Shirley Chisholm, Betty Friedan, Susan B Anthony, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Shirley Chisholm once said, “Tremendous amounts of talent are being lost to our society just because that talent wears a skirt,” thankfully today, that statement would be false.

AfricanAmericans.com. Shirley Chisholm. 24 Feb 2009 .
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. CHISHOLM, Shirley Anita, (1924 - 2005). 24 Feb 2009 .
Britten, Loretta and Paul Mathless. People Who Shaped the Century. Alexandria:
Time-Life Books, 1999.
Cady, Barbara. Icons of the 20th Century. Woodstock: The Overlook Press, 1998.
Davies, Smith. Women Who Changed the World. London: Smith-Davies Publication Ltd., 2006.
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers. Eleanor Roosevelt and the Women's Movement. 24 Feb 2009 .
Goodwin, Doris. Eleanor Roosevelt: America’s most influential First Lady blazed paths for women and lead the battle for social justice. 24 Feb 2009 .
Sommers, Christina Hoff. Reconsiderations: Betty Friedan's 'The Feminine Mystique'. 17 Sept 2008. 25 Feb 2009 .
The Susan B Anthony House. Biography of Susan B Anthony. 23 Feb 2009 .

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This article has 1 comment.

on Jun. 17 2009 at 10:00 pm
Connie Hong BRONZE, Champaign, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
I made a mistake typing in the title, the title should actually be "Female Power"

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