Most people think that feminism started sometime around the nineteen sixties when women started burning their bras and stopped shaving their legs for a while. In fact, feminism has been around for centuries! Don't be fooled by the stereotype of the “militant feminist. " Feminists have worked within their societies for hundreds of years to promote equal rights for both genders! Here are a few of history's most famous feminists:
Abigail Adams: Abigail was one of the first women to speak out against slavery in the late eighteenth century. She also worked to better life for women, long before the abolitionist movement had begun to gain popularity.
Susan B. Anthony: There is a reason Susan has earned her own coin. Susan worked to emancipate slaves during the Civil War and she formed the Women's Loyal League, who worked to support the policies of Abraham Lincoln. She was one of the first women to vote in the United States and was arrested and tried at court for doing so (she was the only woman in her group to actually go to trial).
Elizabeth Blackwell: She was the first female doctor in the United States and her college admission was done as a joke-which she answered by graduating at the top of her class in 1849. She opened her own clinic after the hospitals in America refused to employ her.
Amelia Jenks Bloomer: started the first newspaper to be edited by women in the late nineteenth century. Defended women's right to wear pantaloons ("bloomers").
Carrie Chapman Catt: Helped women gain the right to vote in 1920. Worked for decades to make this happen and founded the National League of Women Voters.
Betty Friedan: Betty helped found the National Organization for Women and is most famous for her book The Feminine Mystique. She also helped to co-found the First Women's Bank and the International Feminist Congress.
Sojourner Truth: Sojourner was born as a slave and was originally named Isabella Van Wagner. She was the first African American to be victorious in a slander case against Caucasian Americans. She is best known for her “Ain't I a Woman" speech that she delivered at the Women's Convention in 1851.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Elizabeth worked closely with Susan B. Anthony on the Women's Loyal National League and helped found the National Woman Suffrage Association and wrote The Woman's Bible. She also helped to organize the first women's rights convention with Lucretia Mott and at that convention helped to author the Declaration of Sentiments.
Thanks to stereotypes, many people see feminism as something that angry women like to scream about. While there are certainly plenty of extreme feminists, the ideology behind the feminist movement is simply that the female genitalia do not render a human inferior to a human with male genitalia. Women have worked for centuries to have the same rights and opportunities as men-this is the heart of the feminist movement: equality under the law. Feminism is not about keeping men down, it is about promoting women and their right to equality.
For more information on feminism, visit http://www.feministmicroblog.com and http://www.femalemicroblog.com