Modern Feminism Timeline

Created this in one of my design courses on a history of modern feminism:

Modern Feminism Timline


Sex Differences in Intrinsic Aptitude for Mathematics and Science?

This article considers 3 claims that cognitive sex differences
account for the differential representation of men
and women in high-level careers in mathematics and science:
(a) males are more focused on objects from the
beginning of life and therefore are predisposed to better
learning about mechanical systems; (b) males have a profile
of spatial and numerical abilities producing greater
aptitude for mathematics; and (c) males are more variable
in their cognitive abilities and therefore predominate at the
upper reaches of mathematical talent. Research on cognitive
development in human infants, preschool children, and
students at all levels fails to support these claims. Instead,
it provides evidence that mathematical and scientific reasoning
develop from a set of biologically based cognitive
capacities that males and females share. These capacities
lead men and women to develop equal talent for mathematics
and science.”

Excerpt from “Sex Differences in Intrinsic Aptitude for Mathematics
and Science? A critical review” by Elizabeth S. Spelke at Harvard University.

“Just a Housewife”

Book, Just a Housewife by Glenna Williams

Upon doing research for my senior thesis project regarding the roles of women as housewives and the little respect they often get in fulfilling this role, I stumbled across this book called, “Just a Housewife.”

The description of the book stated,

“Housewives constitute a large section of the population, yet they have received very little attention, let alone respect. Glenna Matthews, who herself spent many years as “just a housewife” before becoming a scholar of American history, sets out to redress this imbalance.
While the male world of work has always received the most respect, Matthews maintains that widespread reverence for the home prevailed in the nineteenth century. The early stages of industrialization made possible a strong tradition of cooking, baking, and sewing that gave women great satisfaction and a place in the world. Viewed as the center of republican virtue, the home also played an important religious role. Examining novels, letters, popular magazines, and cookbooks, Matthews seeks to depict what women had and what they have lost in modern times. She argues that the culture of professionalism in the late nineteenth century and the culture of consumption that came to fruition in the 1920s combined to kill off the “cult of domesticity.” This important, challenging book sheds new light on a central aspect of human experience: the essential task of providing a society’s nurture and daily maintenance.”

Sexism in the Traditional Marriage Ceremony

Almost every little girl dreams of her perfect wedding day. She imagines the dress, the vows, and even the guests. Weddings in movies are generally exceptional events. Plenty of flowers, bridesmaids and gorgeous (or purposefully hideous) bridesmaid dresses. Immediately after the wedding there is a wonderful reception with lots and lots of dancing and then the bride and groom are whisked away in a super-stretch limo to some enchanted getaway for the perfect honeymoon. The bride is beautiful, the groom in handsome. This is the perfect wedding that every little girl dreams of.

Unfortunately, the wedding ceremony isn’t quite as perfect as little girls dream. Much of the wedding is filled with antiquated sexist rituals that really, have no place in modern day society. In fact, many modern brides and grooms have begun to revise the ceremony to fit their beliefs and create new traditions. Here’s a look at some of the sexist elements in the traditional wedding ceremony.

Love, honor, and obey.
Only the woman says the “obey” part in the traditional ceremony. The thinking is that the man is the head of the household. With conservative Christians he is in a way, an extension of God and therefore the woman must obey him. The obvious assumption that the woman is inferior to the man is beginning to upset modern brides and many grooms. Many couples are dropping the obey part from their vows or even writing their own.

Who gives this woman?
At the beginning of the traditional wedding ceremony the priest, minister, or preacher asks “And who gives this woman to this man?” Where upon the father of the bride says “I do.” This tradition makes it seem as if the woman is property to be transferred from one superior man to another superior man. Many people are changing the phrase to “Her mother and I,” or even dropping it completely. After all, in modern day society it is the woman who chooses to get married. Her father does not choose her husband for her anymore.

Mr. and Mrs. Tom Jones.
Traditionally the woman takes the man’s last name. When they are introduced for their first dance they are introduced with the man’s name. It’s as if the woman is completely giving up her identity. Many women now choose to keep their last name, hyphenate their new a

nd old names, or even more radically… the man takes the woman’s name. Of course, this is much more complicated legally than simply signing a marriage certificate.

A dowry?
It used to be that a dowry was given by the woman’s family to the man’s family. In many third-world and very traditional countries this still takes place. There is still a remnant of this in Western society weddings as well. The bride’s family traditionally pays for the wedding. It’s as if the bride’s family is paying to get rid of her. Of course, with modern finances being what they are, who pays for what is becoming much more complicated these days.

Other sexisms…
There are many other sexisms in the traditional wedding such as the white dress signifying virginity (rarely true these days), the woman walking towards the man (doing all the work, he just waits for her), the man standing on the right (signifying the right hand of God), “you many now kiss the bride”, and many other small details. While the traditional wedding is full of sexisms, your wedding doesn’t have to be. You can make it what you want it to be. Have your best friend walk you down the aisle, write your own vows, be married by a justice of the peace… whatever.

What the traditional wedding doesn’t recognize is that moden women are strong and independent, emotionally, physically, intellectually, and financially. So, when planning your wedding, be sure that it represents you and not a woman of the 1950’s.

Link to article:

Info on Modern Day Sexism

  • On average, women still earn less money than men do for the same job.
  • Think about sports. Lots of people watch the NBA, but hardly anyone even follows the WNBA.

Not-So-Equal Pay

Women are still in the red when it comes to pay. According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics, women today, on average, are paid only 76 cents in wages for every dollar that men are paid. That represents a snail-like increase of less than a cent per year since the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, when women were paid 59 cents compared to a man’s dollar in wages. If the same pace continues, we may not achieve parity until 2042!