Reading Post 3: How the Americans Understand the Equality of the Sexes by Alexis de Tocqueville

Posted On September 24, 2009

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Hearing Tocqueville’s view on American women was not only entertaining, but enlightening as well. Even though his work was observed in 1831; it is really neat to see how much America has grown with their regard to women and also how many views are similar. Tocqueville’s work should not be described as credible because he doesn’t use hard facts to prove his points; he simply states what he observes. I always find it extremely intriguing to discuss how women are treated. There are still those who feel that women should be kept in the kitchen and that women are beneath men. This is similar to Tocqueville’s description of how Europeans’ thought: “never sincerely thinks her his equal.” Yet in our country’s young age we were already different than other countries, “they have decided that her mind is just as fitted as that of a man.” Women were not considered completely equal then, but that is similar to today’s culture as well. Women can receive the same jobs as men, but there are subconscious boundaries in place that we often don’t think about. Especially in the culinary industry women need to work twice as hard to prove that she is worth it for hire. We aren’t naturally as strong as men both emotionally and physically; Tocqueville’s observations of early American emulate those thoughts as well. Tocqueville’s use of pathos or emotion was his main drawn in to the reader. I was naturally intrigued to this reading because I enjoy being the woman who succeeds over men. On page 378 it states, “In the United States, men seldom compliment women.” This is where my view differs slightly. I believe that though women should be treated equally when it comes to the workplace and in division of labor in the household; we should still be given the right of being pretty enough to deserve compliments. Tocqueville goes on to say that women in America “exhibit a masculine strength of understanding and a manly energy,” whereas women in Europe are considered, “seductive but imperfect beings” and “futile, feeble, and timid.” I am pleased to say that I believe modern America is coming very close to finding a common ground between the two extremes.


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