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Tribute to an Early Feminist Fighter: Crystal Eastman

Updated on March 20, 2016

The focus of the article is feminism during the early 1900s. Eastman wrote this article after the 19th Amendment was ratified, fighting for the continuance of the feminist movement and against the role of women being stereotyped as just wives and mothers. Eastman believed in the economic, social and political equality of both men and women. She tried to get society to view her arguments on feminism by writing them down then speaking about it publicly. She was determined to find out and find a solution to what women needed to do to change the way society perceived women. In the article, "Now We Can Begin" Eastman uses inductive language, ethos, pathos, and logos to stress her arguments.


Eastman, being a woman, experienced the inequality that women were facing during this time. If she did not personally experience this inequality she knew or was around women who did, which makes her speech appeal to ethos. Ethos can also be seen in Eastman's statement about feminists, "Many feminists are socialists, many are communists, not a few are active leaders in these movements. But the true feminist, no matter how far to the left she may be in the revolutionary movement, sees the woman's battle as distinct in its objects and different in its methods from the workers' battle for industrial freedom".

Inductive language can be seen through the statements of Eastman when she speaks about the problem and then offers a solution. For example, Eastman pointed out how to change the way and thinking of future men, the boy child. Eastman argues that women are bringing sons up to believe in the ideal that women should only have children and keep the house. In a sense she is blaming women for bringing up men who have the state of mind as most common men. Eastman writes in her speech, “We must bring up feminist sons" (Eastman). What Eastman means is that if women can raise their sons not to believe that all a woman's worth is bearing a child, cooking, and cleaning; then maybe it will not only be women fighting for women rights but also men fighting for women rights.


In the article Eastman states, “"What, then, is "the matter with women"? What is the problem of women's freedom? It seems to me to be this: how to arrange the world so that women can be human beings, with a chance to exercise their infinitely varied gifts in infinitely varied ways, instead of being destined by the accident of their sex to one field of activity -housework and child-raising". Eastman uses Pathos to express her feelings and emotions towards how women are being viewed and treated, in order to create an emotional response among wives, mothers, and other women like herself that feel insignificant and unappreciated. Eastman used a lot of details to describe what life for women in the early 1900s was like. Anyone that read this speech in Eastman times probably thought Eastman was attacking men; when in fact, Eastman was attacking men and women. Eastman blamed men for holding their women back and not wanting them to do anything other than have children and keep the house up. Eastman blames women for not standing tall and raising anti-feminist sons.


Logically, Eastman's argument about women's suffrage is credible. She is a woman who lived in the early 1900s, and even if she did not experience the problems that women who were married with children did. Eastman still faced the common problems that most women faced during this time. Eastman uses logos in the beginning of speech when she states, "Most women will agree that August 23, the day when the Tennessee legislature finally enacted the Federal suffrage amendment, is a day to begin with, not a day to end with".

Crystal Eastman’s “Now We Can Begin” was successful in its expression to express the problems women faced during the early 1920s. Women had gained their right to vote but were still faced with the stereotypical notion that women should only be wives, have children and take care of the home. If it was not for the persistence of Eastman and other women alike, women rights and freedom may have been an issue that sat on the back burner years after the 1920s.


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      2 years ago

      What an idiot wrote this. Suffrage IS the right to vote; they wanted suffrage.

      The idiot who wrote this thinks that "suffrage" is a fancy way of saying, "suffering."

      Maybe women shouldn't have suffrage after all, if they're this stupid.


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