As I read the various selections from our text, I’m noticing that some of the feminists have very different views on the true equality of the sexes. In the mid-nineteenth century, Elizabeth Cady Stanton insisted that women were equal to men, that every social and legal right afforded to men should also be afforded to women. In her “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions,” she states her beliefs pretty clearly: “Resolved, That woman is man’s equal–was intended to be so by the Creator, and the highest good of the race demands that she should be recognized as such” (61). While all of her resolutions declare in one way or another how women should be seen as equals to men, it is this one statement about the Creator’s true intentions that stands out to me most. Stanton takes a very bold stance in asserting that she is tapped into what God intended when he created man and woman. While Stanton mainly focuses on the equality of the sexes in the social and legal spheres, Sojourner Truth goes one step further by insisting that she–and other women–are equal to men in the workforce. Truth claims that she is as strong as any man, that she can work as hard as any man. Because of her ability to rival any man in the workplace, she expresses her belief that women should earn as much as any man, that men shouldn’t have a problem giving woman her “pint full” (64). Toward the end of her speech, Truth warns men to be on the lookout because “woman is coming on him, and he is surely between a hawk and a buzzard” (64). Toward the end of the nineteenth century, Anna Julia Cooper had a different take on equality of the sexes. She touches on the differences between masculine  influence and feminine influence. She even proposes that “there is a feminine as well as a masculine side to truth; that these are related not as inferior and superior, not as better and worse, not as weaker and stronger, but as complements–complements in one necessary and symmetric whole” (119). The way I read her statements, I think she’s saying that men and women aren’t exactly equal, that they each bring specific qualities to the “social table,” and that, although women are deserving of equal rights, it is not because they possess the skills and characteristics of men, but simply because they are necessary participants in society and family. Cooper believes that men contribute to society and family in one way, while women contribute in another, based on the inherent qualities that are granted to each specific gender. She supports her theory by saying that children need both masculine and feminine influence in their lives. Her closing statement implies that women–like men–have a voice, a gendered specific voice, and “the world needs to hear her voice” (121). After I read these selections and started to make connections between the contrasting views of these feminists, I began to think about how these nineteenth and early twentieth century beliefs would apply to modern society. Do most people–women specifically–believe that the sexes are truly equal, that any job a man can do, a woman can do just as well; that child-rearing can be done just as well by a man as it can by a woman; that women are just as intelligent and academically capable as any man? Or do we believe that men are a certain way and women are a certain way, and although we should all get equal rights and equal pay and equal protection under the law, that we should at least acknowledge that each gender is born with certain personality inclinations, and that’s a good thing, something we should appreciate and not try to dispute? I’m not really sure what I believe 100% on this subject. I look around me in our society and see that, yes, most women seem to possess certain feminine characteristics, just as most men possess masculine ones; but are these qualities innate or are they instilled in us by social constructs? And in the grand scheme of things, does it really even matter…?

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