How Changing the gender Roles of the American Women changed Art

High School ・Art ・MLA ・5 Sources

The changing gender roles of American Women affected Art. This is because the early 1800s were characterized by economic growth due to increased exploitation of resources caused by the American industrialization. Consequently, new opportunities opened up in different industries. As a patriarchal society, the man took up job roles considered energy tasking such as plowing. While women were expected to take roles that demand less energy such as home making and taking care of children. Women also engaged in small time subsistence activities such as making clothing’s for the family. Before the industrial revolution, women were primarily relegated to homemaking and reproductive roles; they were not allowed to join the higher learning institutions like universities (Foner 8-12).

With increased economic productivity as a result of the industrial growth between early to mid-1800, the subsistence economic production that women engaged in was being rendered redundant. As Walby observes, women’s role as homemakers was negatively hampered as subsistence economy started being replaced by the market economy. Household items that women made at home such as clothing were now readily and cheaply available in the market as a result of large-scale industrial production. The significance of the role of the women as homemaker and keepers thus started to shift as they seeked to redefine their roles in the new dispensation (67).

In the 1850’s, American women began to actively engage in the industrial development that was sweeping across America. Though with limited rights, when compared to men, women were allowed to work in the textile industry, with many restrictions including having to board at their workplace. As Plante urges the industrial revolution in early to mid-1800 so, many people move to urban centers to look for employment. While men had a variety of opportunities, American women had a limited choice as the society would not allow them to explore any opportunity that might have arisen (43).

The demographic shifts that characterized the American society in the 1850’s resulted in women from different parts of America interacting as they met at the factories they worked in. the interaction of women saw a rise in their agitation for their rights (Evans 35). As Plante (42) further observes, the relative economic independence as a result of getting salaries enabled them to contribute to the general wellbeing of their families. The new found economic empowerment of the American woman enabled her to complement the men as the providers of their families. According to Foner (56), the changing roles were the greatest motivators of women to start demanding for equal rights to men. Walby observes that mid-1850’s to late 1850’s was the foundation of the feminist movement. The new found power enabled women to start demanding more rights as those enjoyed by men. Women began not only to champion for equality of pay with men but also championed for political participation and access to education (102).

The period between mid and late 1800’s was characterized by the high development of women regarding their societal welfare. The changing economic circumstances in the United States led to gradual changes in their traditional role as homemakers and keepers. Hence, they increasingly became more empowered and increased their demand regarding equality. Women had been considered as only best at offering domestic labor. Their nature was presumed to be caring and loving hence their suitability for the role as home keepers. Women, initially actively participated in the art field as they offered domestic arts. According to Foner women’s role as home, keepers involved nurturing and offering decorations at home. Women further were involved in subsistence knitting for home consumption only (08).

The changing roles initiated by the industrial revolution saw many women start being involved in the arts for economic sustainability and to enhance their creativity. As Plante urges, women in large numbers were initially absorbed into the textile industry; they brought in a lot of creativity that went on to change a lot of aspects regarding textile product production in the process influencing the fashion of the day (146).

The 1860’s was characterized by a rise in women participation in literature. Due to the women’s newfound roles, some of which they with men such spies and nurses, they got an opportunity to explore different spheres of lives. The new roles enabled them to share their thoughts and champion theirs believes through literature. The literature participation ranged from the opinion in newspapers to diaries and novels (Williams 46-8).

The traditional roles of American women as homemakers increasingly changed in the 1800’s. By the mid, to late 1800 the roles had changed as a result of an industrial revolution which gave them more powers. Women not only began to compete with men for opportunities as they were both recruited to the army and other industrial opportunities such as tailors in the textile industry. Women began to participate more in arts especially through fashion and literature.

Works Cited

Evans, Richard J. The Feminists: Women's Emancipation Movements in Europe, America and Australasia 1840-1920. Routledge, 2012.

Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History: Seagull Fourth Edition. Vol. 1. WW Norton & Company, 2013.

Plante, Lauren A. "Mommy, What Did You Do in the Industrial Revolution? Meditations on the Rising Cesarean Rate."IJFAB: International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 2.1 (2009): 140-147.

Walby, Sylvia. Patriarchy at Work: Patriarchal and Capitalist Relations in Employment, 1800-1984. John Wiley & Sons, 2013.

Williams, Susan S. Reclaiming Authorship: Literary Women in America, 1850-1900. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013.

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