In The Damnation of Women by W.E.B Du Bois sought to advocate not only for the rights black men but also primarily black women. In fact, W.E.B Du Bois presents the idea that black women existed not for themselves, but for men. In W.E.B Du Bois' essay, he chooses four women who he had encountered in his life. The four women were representative of a certain stereotypical problem, especially in its entirety. In the essay, W.E.B Du Bois argues that the society cannot accept a woman in the manner she is since the society tries to mesh the women into a certain mold that adheres to its needs without considering what the woman says. According to Du Bois (766), Only at the sacrifice of intelligence and the chance to do their best work can the majority of modern women bear children. This is the damnation of women. Sojourner Truth, on the other hand, was an abolitionist and feminist in the nineteenth century. As a civil rights activist, Truth always demanded not for the reduction in discrimination but no discrimination at all. It is imperative to comprehend that Sojourner Truth had escaped from slavery and thus was not able to write or read. Nonetheless, he went on to become a champion in the fight for fair treatment, and equality for both male African Americans and black women. Although Du Bois and Sojourner truth had remarkably different lives, they both made a stand regarding slavery, the struggle for independence, woman suffrage, and religion. The authors of The Damnation of Women, and Sojourner Truth, incorporate the themes of religion, feminism activism and struggle for independence.
The theme of feminism activism
Throughout the varied and rich body of feminism theory, considering the act of feminist activism, women and their rights are the central concern. With feminism, any issues that relate to the womens socio-economic standing, bodily autonomy, or political representation that challenges the secondary position that women in the society occupy is fundamental to feminism. In fact, women should have social, political, and economic equality to men. From secondary literature, Du Bois is heralded as a feminist. This is because there are certain aspects of Du Boiss of activism that seems to set the stage for affirming the feminist label. In The Damnation of Women, Du Bois seems to have strengthened the claims that he was feminist. This is because he emphasized the vitality of economic freedom and reproductive choice to affirm this claim. According to (), Du Bois contribution towards the struggle for womens emancipation was threefold. In addition to the claims of his feminism, Du Bois advocated for the rights of women to vote, the vitality of womens economic independence, reproductive choice, and education. In his essays, Du Bois notes the significance of women in the project of liberation or racial uplift. As a result, he resorted to sympathizing with the attempts of black women to assert the importance of their separate sensibility while at the same time experience the affairs of the nation.
In 1851, Sojourner Truth posed the question: aint I a woman? While addressing Ohio Womens Rights Convention. While her speech was distorted during transcription by the white gaze, her dialect reshaped and roughened to fit the image of "Negro" that was held by public imagination at the time. In her speech, Sojourner Truth was in a position to provide meaningful deconstructions of womanhood. In her speech, she began by claiming that she was just as able and as strong as any man was. The theme of feministic activism is present as she considers both sexes equal. One may also note that Sojourner Truth was referring to her sale days in that she had worked alongside men, husking, plowing, reaping, chopping and mowing. It is imperative to comprehend that Sojourner was a staunch advocate for the rights of all women regardless of race. Today, her critique of normative standards of women is relevant.
The theme of slavery and the struggle for independence
Sojourner ended her speech by saying that a man was between a hawk and a buzzard. This was about the dependence of poor slaves and women who were coming up. One may note that ending of the speech directly pointed at slaves and women. Moreover, the combination of women and slaves made up the essence of her ministry. In her speech, the tone that she used was matter-of-fact. One cannot question the belief that Truth had in that she believed in the success of abolition movements and the eventual success of feminism. Born into slavery, Sojourner Truth comprehends the impact that slavery had on women. Sojourner was sold by her master. Her new master, however, whipped her with a bundle of rods that was prepared in the embers and then bound together with cords.
According to Du Bois, women have been an integral part of the society as a whole. Du Bois asserts that women have not only been to hell but also managed the circumstances accordingly. He notes that the black African American woman has endured more than any other woman. I most sincerely doubt if any other race of women could have brought its fineness up through so devilish a fire, (Du Bois 770). Du Bois also asserts that women influenced human culture, cultivated land and brought about the mother-idea. It is imperative to comprehend that Du Bois utilized many examples to exemplify the struggles that slave women had and how they overcame them giving examples of Sojourner Truth.
When Isabella converted to Christianity, she took the name Sojourner Truth. The name that she took Sojourner was representative of his traveling up and down while Truth represented what she had vowed to do. Tell the truth, while spreading the word of God and speaking out against racism. It was however not smooth sailing to Sojourner Truth. There were additional burdens that she faced considering the burdens that the white women did not have and the great challenge of combating woman suffrage movement that did not want any association with anti-slavery causes. The truth was responsible for traveling for miles and miles making powerful speeches against women suffrage and racism regardless of the notion that she was a woman and was not supposed to speak. Truth argued that she had been suckled by white children who according to her had grown to men. One of the jobs of a southern slave womans job was to suckle white children. The point that one has to comprehend is that Truth was a public figure who represented all black slave women. Sojourner had the responsibility of taking a group attribute onto her body. Her body, from the perspective created by herself, is representative of a collection of all black slave women. Sojourner had the merit of becoming the first African American woman to win a lawsuit.
Du Bois, on the other hand, took a sociological approach to comprehending the experiences of black women. Additionally, he knew that black women agencies as the central component of black culture and thus could be used in a social organization. Du Bois argued that black women embodied three great revolutions that represented labor, women and black people. He notes that before the end of the civil war, there were various women rights conventions that argued in favor of women suffrage. Although many black women were part of the conventions, they had to press their way in due to white opposition. After the Civil War, the black men acquired the vote. What is interesting is that rather than resent the achievement made by black men; it was the women who insisted on attending political meetings in the bid to make black men accountable. According to Du Bois, black women insisted that black men use the threat of violence and vote and in the instance that they were not successful then they would be labeled cowards.
In conclusion, The Damnation of Women, and Sojourner Truth, incorporates the themes of feminism activism, slavery and the struggle for independence. Although Du Bois focuses on women and the role that they play in the society, the themes of feminism activism, impacts of slavery on black women and the struggle for independence has been ingrained in the essay. Sojourner, on the other hand, represents a woman who was ahead of her time. She had great beliefs in the healing of the country through religion, abolitionists and women rights movements.
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