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A Unique Feminist of her Time

Fannie Lou Hamer was born to a family of 20 children. She was the youngest of all her siblings. As the youngest, she was supposed to receive most of the attention from her parents, however, because of the circumstance of life that she was brought up to, she learned to forget that idea and face reality as life offers it to her. Being born to a family of slaves, Fannie Lou had to sacrifice personal happiness to support her family’s needs and take on grown up responsibilities at an early age.

(Asch, 2005, 77) Likely, her life situation ever since she was born gave her the idea that the treatment they are receiving as a family from their masters is actually not justifiable by any reasons at all. It could be noted that her thoughts of freedom has led her to becoming one of the most sought after feminists of her time. (Asch, 2005, 78) Her idealisms and thoughts about the freedom that women as well as black Americans should have way from slavery has actually stood strongly against the oppressive ways by which her people and her gender had been treated through the years.

(Lee, 1999, 76) Her Idealisms on Change and Liberation Due to attending to several movements of liberation during her time, she realized that fear of the white men actually moved her to lessen the chances of gaining freedom from their supposed masters. Fear, as she believed is a matter of hindrance to the drams that she primarily had for herself and her people. Understandably, this leads her to becoming more persuasive and aggressive with her aim of dealing with her dreams of freedom for her people. She started her movement with the use of songs.

Christian hymns that were supposed to increase the inspiration of her people to continuously hold on to the hope that they could still believe in to with regards the freedom that they all deserve to have. She started her liberation movement and decided to be stationed in Mississippi. However, although she has also been stationed in Mississippi, she started traveling towards the south. (Mills, 1995, 88) Unfortunately though, her aggressiveness towards liberalization brought her to being imprisoned in jail for false charging. It was believed that she was imprisoned by white policemen in fear of her growing influence in the society.

While in jail, she along with her colleagues were beaten savagely to death in an aim of stopping their movements towards liberalism and freedom from slavery. After being released, she had to recover so much both from physical and emotional trauma. However, although she was afflicted through injuries, her idealisms towards freedom and liberalization never stopped. This particular living thought within Fannie Lou’s system actually pushed her to reactivate her motivation towards the movement that she has started and was elected as Vice Chair of the Freedom Democrats Party in 1964.

In her speech, she mentioned that the democracy of the American government should actually open their doors to giving way to the different idealisms suggested by the democrats’ party. It is this or if not, she would question the integrity of the government. Due to this particular speech, President Johnson actually ordered an immediate press conference in an aim of regaining his reputation and the administration’s status in the American society in contrast with what the speech of Hamer actually alleged the government with.

As a result, in 1968, there had been an equal status of both White and Black American officers that are seated as delegate of the different states of the country. This established the peak status of her active movement towards the application of liberalization within the political system of the American government. Her movement towards liberalization has inspired many other liberalists to become more aggressive with what they wanted to happen. How has this affected the situation of several fundamentalists today? The Developments on Feminism and Fundamentalism

THE drive for women’s liberation has not been without its costs, particularly to the family unit. Women who heeded the call to escape the “slavery” of the family unit have contributed to a soaring divorce rate, which in some lands is as high as 50 percent of all new marriages. Adding to the strain is the increasing number of mothers who are joining the full-time work force, only to find themselves struggling under the load of two jobs—one at work and one at home. A U. S. study found that while in 1960 one quarter of the wives with children were in the labor force, by 1986 the figure was more than half.

“But while most mothers hold jobs, adjustments at home have not been made,” one report noted. “They continue to do the majority of housework and day-care facilities for their children are often inadequate or prohibitively costly. ” (Asch, 2005, 67) Feminists say that to be truly free a woman must have complete control over her own body, including the right to terminate unwanted pregnancies. This desire for ‘reproductive equality’ with men has contributed to the growing number of abortions—an estimated 55 million worldwide each year. Even the Bible has not escaped the feminists’ wrath.

“Trust in God. She will provide,” say the feminists, deriding the Bible as sexist in its depiction of a “male” God. “Some [feminists] . . . accuse the Bible of still being the most powerful weapon to keep women in ‘their place’ and would question whether anything so used can be the word of God,” reported The United Church Observer of Canada. (asch, 2005, 98) Some churches have bowed to pressure from feminist members to adopt “inclusive” language in their worship, replacing male terms for God with names such as Sustainer and Nurturer.

At the same time, the women’s movement itself has entered what feminist founding mother Betty Friedan has called “a profound paralysis. ” Feminist forces are divided on a number of fronts—the fight for equal rights under law, equal pay, more liberal abortion laws, Lesbian rights, mandatory maternity leave, and better day care, as well as a battle against pornography. Feminism is going through an identity crisis, Newsweek magazine reports. “The rigors of building careers, cultivating intimate relationships and caring for children have proved more difficult than anyone could have anticipated in the first heady days of feminism.

” In Woman on a Seesaw, author Hilary Cosell records the lament of one exasperated career woman who had tried to fill a ‘Superwoman role’: “I’m spread so thin right now, I don’t think there’s anything left of me to devote to anything else. I’m an overworked professional, an overtired mother, a fair-weather friend, and a part-time wife. Superwoman, huh? Stuporwoman is more like it. ” Women who have sacrificed opportunities for marriage and having children in order to pursue a career are often tormented by regrets.

A 38-year-old management consultant told Canada’s Chatelaine magazine: “There’s a whole generation of women like me who will go to their graves single . . . In spite of our success we lead very empty lives. ” Newsweek reported the anxiety of a 39-year-old shoe-firm vice president: “My job is exciting and gratifying but I’m haunted by the fear that I’m missing out on the most meaningful part of life by not having children. Sometimes I imagine that if I died now my tombstone would read: ‘Here lies . . . She read a lot of magazines. ’” Even leading feminists appear to be having second thoughts about the sexual morality of liberation.

Australian writer Germaine Greer, in her 1970 book The Female Eunuch, described marriage as “free labour exacted of right by an employer possessed of a contract for life, made out in his favour. ” A woman’s desire to improve her condition “might have to be buttressed by actual ‘promiscuity’ to begin with,” she suggested. While Greer was seen by many as the leading advocate of the sexual revolution, in a 1984 book she astounded feminists by endorsing chastity and condemning permissiveness. The feminist movement has left women worse off in some ways, claims U. S. author Sylvia Ann Hewlett.

By stressing independence and equality rather than striving for reforms to help working mothers, the women’s movement has done little to improve the economic positions of most women, she argues. “The vaunted independence of the liberated and divorced often turned out to mean loneliness and penury [extreme poverty]. ” One U. S. study found that in states that passed no-fault divorce laws, originally supported by feminists, divorced women and their children suffered an immediate 73-percent drop in their standard of living, while their former husbands enjoyed a 42-percent rise. Hardly an improvement for women!

In fact, the earnings of a woman in the United States still are only about 64 percent of those of a man—almost the same rate as 50 years ago. In European countries where feminists have focused on attaining better maternity leave and child-care systems, women’s earnings rose from 71 percent of men’s wages in 1970 to 81 percent ten years later. (Nelson, 2003, 99) Feminists now find themselves deeply split over one question: What really is equality? Betty Friedan points out that women are not male clones. She states: “The time has come to acknowledge that women are different from men.

There has to be a concept of equality that takes into account that women are the ones who have the babies. ” Other feminists argue that if women accept laws that give them special treatment not available to men—such as mandatory maternity leave—they are now admitting they are not equal to men, and that can open the way for discrimination. “The dilemma of contemporary feminism,” according to one scholar, is whether the differences in outlook and desires between the sexes are inherent or are the product of social conditioning. Many women are not aggressive or competitive enough for certain sales jobs, employers have stated.

“Women are socialized to be passive,” argues Jody, feminist director of a social research agency. “Part of the role as nurturer is to define yourself in relation to others and not to ask for yourself”, she explains. (Nelson, 2003, 77) Many feminists believe that only a change in the way women are conditioned by their upbringing will bring real equality of opportunity. Others argue that women can best achieve equality by recognizing they are different from men. Betty Friedan has called for a ‘second stage’ of feminism. “New feminist thinking is required if .

. . women are to continue advancing in man’s world, . . . and yet ‘not become like men,’” she says. (Nelson, 2003, 61) Others scorn this softening of approach and talk of taking feminism ‘back into the streets,’ picketing and marching for more liberal abortion laws and other reforms. Feminism Towards the Future Meanwhile, feminists wonder who will carry the banners of the future. “Young girls feel more threatened by it [feminism] than drawn to it,” reported The Toronto Star. Some younger women fear the independence that greater equality has brought.

“A lot of women today are saying they’ve had enough,” says French feminist Benoite Groult. “They want to be taken care of again; they want to be protected by men. ” In some countries feminists have run into stiff opposition from other women’s groups determined to counter what they see as an attack on the family and other “traditional” values. One such group in Canada, REAL Women (Realistic, Equal, Active for Life), described itself as “organized and ready for battle. ” Elsewhere the women’s movement appears to be just fading away. In West Germany, writer Peter H.

Merkl says women have abandoned feminism to a large degree. “Officially sanctioned motherhood is back in style. Women workers and employees are fleeing back into family ties . . . , while radical feminists have withdrawn into an isolated subculture. ” New scientific findings on the nature of the human brain may affect future thinking about the role of the sexes. Neurologist Richard Restak states: “Evidence indicates that many behavioral differences between men and women are based on differences in brain functioning that are biologically inherent and unlikely to be modified by cultural factors alone.

” (Mills, 1993, 76) No, women are not male clones but are made for obviously different purposes and with different desires and needs in life. Hamer’s Approach to Becoming an Activist as Related to the Present System of Feminism and Fundamentalism Obviously, as noted from the background of Hamer’s movement towards the changes that she particularly wanted to be implied within the society that she is living in and from the discussion of the different movements that are present in the society today, the activation of the human society towards change is certainly innate.

However, the matter by which the activists move towards their goal is what makes the situations different from each other. Likely, it could be observed that from being a fearful young thinker, Fannie Lou Hamer began to develop a sense of understanding with regards the need of being courageous and insisting in terms of the major goals that one actually establishes for himself. This is the same with regards the manner by which present fundamentalists develop towards the aggression of making a more improved approach on reaching their goals.

Likely though, Hamer decided to start with mildness towards becoming more insisting on the people who are capable of giving her the chance of realizing what she wants from the society that she is living in. Most importantly, she tried to approach the matter through calmness until she was forced to really act with certain courage and aggressiveness as well. Understandably though, the fundamentalists and feminists today are at some point too much aggressive and much unreasonable at times.

Loosing the real depth of the reason towards the movement is an important matter that needs consideration. Likely, it is through this that the present movements towards change result to lesser success as compared to that of the movement and activation suggested by the past group of feminists and fundamentalists like that of Hamer. Conclusion Why was Hamer’s movement successful? Primarily, her reasons of movement made her activation more successful. Obviously, her pattern for movement made her more certain of her actions.

More than personal gains, her thought of the betterment of the greater many made her approach to fundamentalism more acceptable for the society making them more aware of what she primarily wants to imply within the present systems of the community during her time. Obviously, her aim toward change directly affects a greater number of her society, making it more appreciated and a matter of concern for the people of whom she believed should be addressed for the solution of the problem.

Yes, people who want change only become successful when they pursue implying changes within the system to affect the values of the majority of the human population that they are living with. References: Asch, Chris Myers (2005). No Compromise: The Freedom Struggles of James O. Eastland and Fannie Lou Hamer. PHD Dissertation, University of North Carolina. Lee, Chana Kai (1999). For Freedom’s Sake: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer. Athens: University of Georgia Press. ISBN 0-252-06936-6 Marsh, Charles (1997). God’s Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights.

Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-02134-1 Mills, Kay (1993). This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer. New York: Dutton. Nelson, Jennifer (2003). Women of Color and the Reproductive Rights Movement. New York: NYU Press. ISBN 0814758274. Other Assigned Readings: 1) For Freedoms Sake: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer by Chana Kai Lee 2) To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans to 1880 by Robin D. G. Kelley & Earl Lewis 3) Crossing the Danger Water: Three Hundred Years of African-American Writing by Deirdre Mullane

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