Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Follow Up to Tira's Post

I found Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions” to be a very interesting piece.  First of all, I found it both creative and smart of Stanton to re-create a document based on the Declaration of Independence.  The Declaration of Independence relates specifically to Americans and exemplifies a document of social and political change.  It was therefore useful of Stanton to recognize this and draft another document based on the same style. 

Within the document I was impressed with the strong words used to describe women rights.  Stanton relates being a women to being in slavery, as men are depicted as masters while women are deprived of rights and clearly subordinate.  Furthermore, she uses the phrase “absolute tyranny” to emphasize the strength and power that men held at the time over women.  This strong vocabulary may have been radical but it definitely makes her points clear.  I believe that part of her intense description and rhetoric simply helps in persuading other women that action is necessary.  For instance, Stanton describes men saying that “He has endeavored, in every way that he could, to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.”  This sentence alone provides a deeply upsetting view of the state of women in general.  Furthermore, it is interesting that Stanton clearly blames the issue of women inequality on men.  Her extreme ideas for the time period clearly demonstrate that she found the need for great change, an overthrow of traditional roles, rather than slight amendments.

It also caught my attention that in “Two Speeches”, Sojourner Truth associates being female to being a slave.  I think that it is especially telling that a former slave for forty years is now relating being female to her feeling of oppression in slavery.  Simply being a certain sex has led her to feel so inferior that she could even relate it to her likely terrible experiences of slavery.  Clearly, she feels that being a woman at that time was awful and conditions needed to change.

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