In the short essay “Claiming an Education” by Adrienne Rich we got the chance to feel what it is like to be an educated woman among educated men during the mid 1900s. Women were not taken seriously despite their equal ability to master the same subjects that men excelled in. She spoke of the tension between women and teachers in universities and the existing paradigms which alluded that women were not worthy of an education. Universities were created for men because society agreed that getting an education was a thing for men to do. We can connect this piece to Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. In this piece we are placed in the shoes on the younger generation of women. The little girls who were told that they weren’t allowed to climb trees because they were not boys.
People who are hungry for success will do anything to get their foot in the door. We saw this during the minstrelsy period when African Americans dressed up with the Black Face to perform racist plays to white audiences. Africans were not given the agency to put out the art that they believed desirable, so they went with the flow until they made their way up. The same goes for women. For a long time, women; white and black were not allowed to go to Universities or acquire jobs of high status. If they weren’t a housewife, they were expected to be a nanny or receptionist.
This brings me to a show that I am currently flowing called “Mad Men.” This show mainly revolves around salesmen of high status and power who use women for their body and mind. Women were constantly used for their ideas on accounts while the men took the credit. Most of them sold their bodies to move up in the business or because they feared that they would lose their jobs if they didn't. There was only one woman who was able to sit with the men because of her consistent contributions to the company. However, the promotion was more of a title than any progress. There was not much change in the way that she was treated, or paid although she did work that was equivalent to the men.
In conclusion, back in the nomadic period of hunters and gatherers it would be acceptable to view men as more superior than women. The reason why is because the slit between labor was far different. Men had to go out and hunt while women stayed home. On the other hand, today the grounds are even. Women are doing the same jobs as men, so it is only right that they demand equality.
-- works cited --
Rich, Adrienne. “Claiming an Education.” In Open Questions: Readings for Critical Thinking and Writing, edited by Chris Anderson and Lex Runciman, 608–11. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005.