There are many famous feminist who are known for their work. “Do you know or remember any names of the famous feminists? If so, have you ever gotten the chance to meet any?”
Ten hours spent with someone is often noticed as “tedious” and almost seems impossible to do. In a span of 600 minutes, I was able to gain information having to deal with feminism and how many people lived in the past.
My name is Jazmyn Velarde and I decided to conduct a life history interview on my grandmother Manuela Alvarado who was born in 1922. Throughout this interview I was given the privilege to get a good view of her life and how she was treated as a woman throughout the first 50 years of her life. The roaring twenties happens to be seen as a great time for women, but what many are not aware of is many women still faced many constraints in their life. I started off my interview by asking Manuela, “How were you treated as a woman back then? Is it different compared to how us as women are treated now a days?” She immediately began explaining, “When I was just 6 years old there were a lot of restrictions on clothing. Many girls were not allowed to wear whatever it was that they wanted compared to today’s time period. It affected many women in different parts of the country and it would always make me feel like a completely different person. I remember cities in California were not allowed to wear heels taller than two inches without having to hold a certain permit to do so.” Clothing back then was never seen as a way many individuals could express themselves. “It often felt like a chore to get ready a certain way. In today’s society many young girls can go out in public however they please without getting told many of the hurtful things we as young girls were told.”, states Manuela. When comparing today’s society to the 1920’s, there are many different reasons that prove the idea of there being a major difference between the two. Another example my grandmother gave me that was the cherry on top to this question was many women were not able to hold a job while pregnant. Today, we see many women who are expecting a child in different work places such as doctor’s offices, restaurants, call centers, school campuses, etc. Sadly, this was not an option for soon to be mothers who hoped to hold a job to provide for their family. Legal protection for working women didn’t exist until 1978. Because of this many woman faced unemployment in the 1920’s due too many employers finding pregnancy to be prejudice to job productivity. “Many women including myself, had to hide many pregnancies only because we had no other way to provide for the family if we lost our job. I would dress in very lose clothing which was known back then as the “lose flapper fashion” to hide my stomach. Being a mother of 8 was very hard for me and there was no way me and my family would have survived if it wasn’t for my clothing.” Said Manuela. “This was very unfair to all women.”
I believe feminism has played a big role in today’s world. It is an ongoing problem and will only continue to arise throughout the years. When looking back, both men and women we thought of as “equal” they were both seen in two completely different perspectives. One being women were thought of a lesser than men and not as important. My idea of feminism starts off with believing that both men and woman should share the same responsibilities. This is rarely found in both individuals because many imply that women are often inferior to men. Due to the many beliefs along with ideas I had over feminism I decided to ask my grandmother a question on her opinion on feminism. I began, “Have your ideas of feminism changed overtime? And if so, how?” Manuela began explaining, “Women should rule the world, I am sick and tired of women being put out as lesser than men, so yes my ideas have changed desperately on feminism. I think that the fight has changed, but there are many stereotypes that remain.” After the first wave of feminism that occurred in the late 19th century many women began fighting for their rights, discarding the legal issues such as gaining woman’s suffrage. Because of this many woman were then given the right to vote after congress had passed the law. Today, for those who aren’t aware, Feminist movements have attracted significant attention and will keep doing so.
I then went on with another question, “What has changed drastically during the 97 years of you being here? If you could go back in time, would you? And if so, during which years of your life?” “I believe many things have drastically changed throughout the 97 years of me being here, I believe our social standing has changed big time throughout the years and will more than likely continue. Us women are often under appreciated and many don’t see that we have the ability to do anything. When asking if I could go back in time, I believe I most likely would not only because of the hardships I along with others had to deal with. If you young women had to opportunity to go back in time I would say to do it. Experiencing something like that puts out a lesson for many, it makes you see things differently and make you appreciate the things you have or all able to do without a doubt.
All in all, conducting this interview with someone who I have known my whole life taught me so much about the differences between now to back then. It left me with a completely different perspective on us women and I strongly believe that us women should indeed run the world. I chose to ask my great grandma because throughout the 19 years of knowing her I have always been so interested in hearing her life stories as a kid to now. She has lived through quite a lot of events and definitely had plenty of stories to discuss with me that I plan and hope to share with many other individuals, along with examples to help me gain a better understanding of the information. It was a blessing to have her answer all my questions being the fact that I have never really asked an individual who has experienced how life was a woman questions during the roaring twenties.