The Gibson Girl – And Second Wave Feminism


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The Gibson Girl – And Second Wave Feminism

  2. 2. <ul><li>Influenced society in the early 1900’s, much like Barbie influenced America of the late 1900’s. </li></ul><ul><li>-Paved the way for women to do things they had never done before pre 1900. </li></ul><ul><li>Portrayed women as strong individuals who could play sports while maintaining feminine dress and hair. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Was a pen and ink drawing created by Charles Dana Gibson in the late 1890’s. </li></ul><ul><li>Was described as every women’s ideal – and every man’s dream. </li></ul><ul><li>She was “taller than the other women currently seen in the pages of magazines. Infinitely more spirited and independent, yet altogether feminine. </li></ul><ul><li>Had a stiff shirtwaist, hair pulled up with a big plumed hat. A flowing skirt was hiked up in the back with just a hint of a bustle. Though well mannered, she always appeared to have a bit of mischief in her smirk/smile. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>She would smile with a smirk, but never laugh. </li></ul><ul><li>This showed confidence and swagger, but never a loss of control. </li></ul><ul><li>-combined the spirit of the perfect woman with the new spunk/spirit of modern American youth of the early 1900’s. </li></ul>
  5. 7. <ul><li>The Gibson Girl ended with the gradual changes brought about by WWI and WWII – and the need for “strong” and independent/masculine women to be at home, able to take care of the hard world. </li></ul><ul><li>Women started to become more independent; as men fought overseas, women were “waking up” back at home (exposure to a life free of male rule was curing ignorance/making them less naïve). </li></ul>
  6. 8. <ul><li>1960s – 1980 (appx) </li></ul><ul><li>1 st wave feminism focused on overturning legal obstacles (voting rights/ property rights). </li></ul><ul><li>2 nd wave targeted the overturning of a wide range of issues: </li></ul><ul><li>Unofficial inequalities, sexuality, family, the workplace, and reproductive rights. </li></ul>
  7. 9. <ul><li>2 nd wave feminism really kicked in due to WWII post war America. </li></ul><ul><li>-a time period of major economic growth – as well as a baby boom. </li></ul><ul><li>Suburbia grew like crazy across America </li></ul><ul><li>Capitalism and middle class America was flourishing (the average family gains power) </li></ul>
  8. 10. <ul><li>Men were returning to the US after war and trying to reestablish a culture of female subservience. </li></ul><ul><li>Women had woken up, had gained strength and power – that they always had had. </li></ul><ul><li>TV – tried to keep women down with tv shows like Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver – shows that stressed the role of male dominance in the family – and the conformity of women to stay at home and raise children/families. </li></ul>
  9. 11. <ul><li>The Feminine Mystique </li></ul><ul><li>A book written in 1963 by Betty Friedan (about the same time as president JFK releasing a government report stressing that women were being treated VERY unequally when compared to men) </li></ul><ul><li>Unveils a set of unspoken “truths” about women; women pay attention. </li></ul>
  10. 12. <ul><li>Legal Action as a result of both the book and the gov’t report: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>-Equal Pay Act of 1963. National Organization of Women (NOW). Full Affirmative Action rights to women. Title IX (women’s athletics), Women’s Educational Equity Act, Title X – health and family planning, The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (1978) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The illegalization of marital rape </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-More power to women regarding divorce. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 13. <ul><li>Friedan sent a questionnaire to women in her 1942 graduating class at Smith College. </li></ul><ul><li>Most women indicated a general unease with their lives. </li></ul><ul><li>Determined/theorized that women are victims of a false belief system that requires them to find identity and meaning in their lives through their husbands and children. </li></ul><ul><li>Stresses that women lose their identity through their families. </li></ul>
  12. 14. <ul><li>Freidan urges that men returning home from war turned to their wives for mothering. </li></ul><ul><li>Men want women to take care of them and the kids after war, but technology was also increasing/advancing – so house work was becoming easier and easier. </li></ul><ul><li>Women were feeling stupid/useless… felt as if “an 8 year old could do the housework.” </li></ul>
  13. 15. <ul><li>Regrets the growth of suburbs. </li></ul><ul><li>Hates the recent (1945-1960) propaganda that encouraged women to conform to male expectations (commercials/ tv shows/ music, etc…) </li></ul><ul><li>Cites the Kinsey reports to note the frustration of women with the system (homosexuality/ female pride and power – and the right to “orgasm”; intelligence and individuality leads to a better sex life. In essence, the stronger the woman, the better she can feel [both sexually and mentally – as a person]) </li></ul>