Article Analysis : Reforming Men And Women Essay

973 Words Oct 30th, 2016 4 Pages
Dorsey, Bruce. Reforming Men and Women: Gender in the Antebellum City. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002.

Thesis: Dorsey argues that "gender provided men and women with a powerful set of meanings by which to interpret their daily relationships" in Antebellum America and that his study presents "men as gendered beings" because manhood is a "crucial category of analysis in the study of the history of the United States (243)."

Themes: One of the themes of the texts is stereotypes/stock characters. One of the main things that occurred in Antebellum America is the oppression of minorities and by reducing them to stereotypes and stock characters in print media and entertainment, the white male could help keep the minorities oppressed and negatively viewed . Irish men were always cast as drunkards, Catholic priests and nuns as sexually deviant, and Blackface performances provided entertainment for the masses. These stereotypes could also keep the minorities from ganging up together- the Irish men would participate in Blackface performances (233), because it was better to oppress the Black than to be seen as anything other than white. Another theme of the text was adaptation. This was especially true for women and the Irish man. Women had learned to accept their positions in the political world, but they also learned how to adapt and use their positions to gain power. They used their secondary positions to make gains for their own rights in the future. Irish men would do…

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