Thursday, June 9, 2011

The 1920s

This section of my essay was two pages long so I think I'll split it in half today. My teacher wrote "this section was really interesting" on my paper so I hope y'all like it!

iii. Masculinity vs. Femininity Part 1
         In the 1920s, women faced somewhat of an identity crises over the extent of equality they had reached with men and how to proceed with their new equality. Were they now, as equals, supoosed to blend completely with men, or proudly seperate themselves as women? This issue manifested both socially and through their appearances.

        One of the first manifestations of this struggle lay in the cause for the passing of the 19th amendment which granted women's suffrage. One of the main causes lay in the masculine work that women had done during World War One, which gained them significant respect in the male voting world (Bailey, Cohen, and Kennedy 752-3). However, years of fighting for women's suffrage had been based on emphasizing women's unique role in American society, not their ability to blend in with their male peers. Under the leadership of Carrie Chapman Catt, women had been claiming the right to vote so that their traditional, motherly values would be given sway in American politics (Bailey, Cohen, and Kennedy 625). Thus, through emphasizing their tradtitional feminine role, women finally began to gain their first voting rights (Bailey, Cohen, and Kennedy 625). World War One further emphasized the need for women's more peaceful disposition in politics becaues of the highly visible wasteful violence that men alone had caused through the war (Buckley and Fawcett 84).

       Another source of struggle was found in women's new emergence into the workplace. After working side by side with men during the war through the Red Cross, nursing, and other welfare work for the troops, men and women became more comfortable working together and women began to enter the male workplace (Miller, Nathan 254-5). This new situation was wrought with struggles between masculinity and femininty for women. For years, women had had special protection from government in the workplace under the Supreme Court rulig of Muller v. Oregon. However, in 1923, the Supreme Court reversed this ruling in Adkins v. Children's Hospital, claiming that since women could now vote, they were legal equals to men and thus deserved no special protection under the law (Bailey, Cohen, and Kennedy 799). This ruling brought up the issue of wheher women truly had become the equals of men or still had their own, separate identity from men that the government needed to recognize.
Masculinity vs. Femininity to be continued...


  1. Do you know the source for the first picture?

  2. Oooof. I do not. I'm sorry. I wrote this a long time ago. I'm pretty sure everything was just google imaged with "flappers" or something, though.