Reading Assignment – Assignment Example

Reading Assignment The three excerpts chosen for this reading assignment are all very clear ments of basic feminist ideas, promoting equality between men and women in marriage, work and religion. The first speaker, Sarah Grimké, describes aspects of contemporary society like “the folly and wickedness of fashionable life.” She also uses the examples of teaching and tailoring, where women are active just as much as men, but where they receive much less money. The approach taken here is that social forces must be changed to allow women to become equal with men.
The speech by Elizabeth Cady Stanton uses similar arguments but is much more focused on politics. This speaker makes a clever parallel with the American constitution and then she argues very logically that these rights should be applied to women as well as men. The speaker recommends that feminists should use the existing political and publicity structures, such as State and National legislature, the pulpit and the press. This shows a very good grasp of formal processes and a well thought out tactical campaign. The feminism of this speaker is more like activism, and the tone is very assertive which can be seen in words like “we insist”, and “Resolved”.
Sojourner Truth’s speech has one basic message, and that is that oppression of women is the same as the oppression of slaves, and both must be stopped. She speaks in very simple sentences, since she does not have the benefit of much education or much influence in polite society. Her feminism is based on her authority as an older women with many years of experience as a slave, as a free person and as a woman. She uses simple statements of fact and images from the fields and from the kitchen to make her point in crystal clear and simple terms. It could be said that she appeals simply to natural justice. Her humility and her strength make her message memorable in a non-intellectual but very powerful way.