An Analysis Through Google Searches of Quotes as They Relate to Feminism Today:
Judith Sargent Murray, “On the Equality of the Sexes”
Years after the influence of women’s rights activist Judith Sargent Murray, people still fail to see the importance of feminism in society. Murray wrote in “On the Equality of the Sexes”, that “in past times some men have sunk so low” (572). Currently there is another rise in the feminist movement, most importantly beginning around the 2016 United States Presidential Election. Equality of the sexes is still a struggle in America and all over the world. I wanted to look at the common reasons why the feminist movement and the movement towards equality is not making the strides it should be if the movement have been brought up in society for decades.
I started with looking at arguments against feminism, searching this phrase in Google. The first result was an article from Bustle, “6 Common Arguments Against Feminism & Every Way You Can Shut Them Down”. I did a further Google Search of each argument and analyzed the search results of each, modifying them only slightly to increase “googleability”.
Each Google Search had well over a million results, with the highest result at 412,000,000. Beyond the search results which show that these are topics/arguments that are wildly discussed in modern day society, it seemed that many people still have issues with the equality movement. Murray’s quote “some men have sunk so low” (572) is fitting in this context because with clear inequality of the sexes, some men believe that there is an equality and that feminism should not be a movement.
There was a connection I noticed between the argument, women are too angry and aggressive, and a phrase Murray used towards the end of her essay. The quote, quite simply was, “I would calmly ask” (Murray 575). The parallels with common phrases used today was shocking. With then Presidential Candidate Donald Trump calling his running mate, Hillary Rodham Clinton a “nasty woman”.
The original popularity of the phrase occurred on the internet in October of 2016. This phrase was used to intimidate and belittle a peer and was then used in a wide spread internet movement to promote feminism. Google search results are shown at about 397,000,000, with a majority of the results dating back to 2016.
“Nasty woman” was used by Trump in an attempt to call out his running mate and make her appear to the public as an angry and aggressive woman. Figure 2 shows how the comment from Trump was situated in context to Clinton’s debate response. Without merit or warning, as Clinton is calmly discussing Social Security trust funds, Trump interjects with the “nasty woman” comment.
This comment, however not shocking it was, coming from the mouth of the President, in relation to Murray’s quote of speaking “calmly” shows how over time men have been easy to accuse women of being angry and aggressive. What I found most astounding about Murray’s quote and my interpretation of it was how obvious it is that for centuries women have been seen as the ones to be blamed for having angry or aggressive behavioral tendencies.
Further divulging into Murray’s quote on “calmly asking” (Murray 575), I Googled if men or women on average were more aggressive. Not to my disbelief, the first article that came up on the search results was “Male Aggression” written for Psychology Today. After finding this article, I furthered my search across the Psychology today website and could not find a similar article written about female aggressive patterns. Going back to the drawing board, I restarted my Google Search and found a similar article, “Gender Differences and Aggression”. This article discussed both male and female aggression giving a more cohesive understanding as to the stigma of female aggression. I wanted to analyze the article through Voyant Tools to get a better understanding of the relationships between male and female aggression.
Connected with the word engage in the text overall, men are “more likely to engage in Physical Aggression” and both men and women are “equally likely to engage in Verbal Aggression” (“Gender Differences”). As well, I looked at the connections with the word likely and found that overall men are more likely to see their aggression as a positive act. Given this, why is it that women are still seen as aggressive in the eyes of men and why do we have to “calmly ask” (Murray 575) in order to not be perceived as aggressive, when men see their own aggression as a positive behavior?
As a society we still have a lot to work on in coming to terms with the idea of equality and the feminist movement. Have we let down the early adovcats for women’s rights, like Judith Sargent Murray, or would they have expected this sort of backlash from society? Personally I would have expected more from society as a whole, and would have hoped that men could have come to terms with women being equal beings. Of couse, 300 years is not enough time to understand that men and women are equal, and quite possibly this divide could continue for the next 300 years and have the possibility to disappoint the Murrays of this century.
Furtuna, Dorian. “Male Aggression.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/homo-aggressivus/201409/male-aggression.
“Gender Differences and Aggression.” Abraham Maslow, homepages.rpi.edu/~verwyc/oh14.htm.
King, Elizabeth. “How to Shut Down These Arguments Against Feminism.” Bustle, Bustle, 13 Nov. 2018, www.bustle.com/articles/101286-6-common-arguments-against-feminism-every-way-you-can-shut-them-down.
Murray, Judith Sargent. “On the Equality of the Sexes.” The Bedford Anthology of American Literature: Volume One. Second Edition. Bedford/St. Martins, 2014: pp. 570-575.
Sanders, Sam. “#MemeOfTheWeek: Nasty Woman, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton And Janet Jackson.” NPR, NPR, 20 Oct. 2016, www.npr.org/2016/10/20/498729702/-memeoftheweek-nasty-woman-donald-trump-hillary-clinton-and-janet-jackson.
“Text Analysis of ‘Gender Differenced and Aggression.’” Voyant Tools, 23 Nov. 2018, voyant-tools.org/?corpus=ad3f87e82a592fd284b34f51b2b39e94.
Reflection on Process
- I chose “On the Equality of the Sexes” by Judith Sargent Murray. I chose this text because of my personal beliefs on equality and feminism. Murray discusses education in terms of equality and her overall ideas and beliefs on equality are interesting to me, given the time of publication.
- My research question is why have we not as a society made greater strides in the equality and feminist movement? I came up with this question because the idea of feminism and equality has been an ideology for quite some time, and I am honestly disappointed in society for not making greater strides towards equality. Beyond being disappointed in societies view on equality and feminism, I think more could be done to get people to better understand the need for these movements, and that equality has been an ongoing struggle for women, for centuries.
- I used tools like Microsoft Excel and Voyant Tools. I chose these tools because they helped me to accurately display my findings in a way that aided my research question and overall goal of the project.
- In order to complete this project, I first analyzed the text, I went over it multiple times in order to get the most understanding of what I wanted to do in terms of my research question. From there I formulated my initial research question and began looking for sources that fit into what I wanted to achieve from the project. I then went back to the text with my sources to piece together what I had found and where I could relate it to in Murray’s essay. From there I had gotten a better understanding of what I was actually going to do with the project and was able to start formulating my Google Searches. After composing my searches, I narrowed down my previous sources and what I was going to do with them, ultimately discarding a majority of them for sources that came up in the searches. Finally knowing where I was headed with the project, I began to put together my tables in Microsoft Excel and Voyant Tools. After completing that I began composing the Microsoft Word document that became the final project.
- I came across quite a few challenges throughout the project, the main one being that it took me a little bit of time to actually come up with the research question I did. I started with too many ideas for where I could take my project and ultimately that became a challenge in terms of figuring out which question would most fit what I wanted to achieve from the project. I had to make decisions that involved me finding resources and articles that I did not end up using, as much as I wanted to include all of the resources I found, I had to make the decision that not using all of them was more beneficial. Overall, I worked around those challenges my narrowing my ultimate goal of the project. I think narrowing my goals helped shape the final outcome of my project beautifully, had a kept all of more sources, the project would not be as cohesive and understandable.
- I am very proud of the project that I made, and I think it accurately depicts my understanding of the digital humanities. I would say that it meets my expectations, I am proud of the layout of my project and think it looks professional and cohesive. The project I made accurately depicts my feelings of equality (or the lack thereof) as it relates to someone else’s in a completely different time period, showing how little can change in terms of wanting equality.
- If I had unlimited time and energy to do this project, I would look at more suffragette writings and pull Google Searches from their writings to extend the project further through time to pull together a more cohesive unit that would ultimately better depict the lack of equality today. I do not think I would do anything differently in terms of my project, relatively speaking, I could do many things differently, but I would not want to. I often say that I do not regret things, because at the moment of doing something it is what want and what you chose to do. If we go around thinking that we should have done something differently we as people would get nowhere with our lives. The question that remain unanswered and that I pointed out in my project is, when will we as a society learn to accept the fact that we are all equal, and if we do not accept, will it take another 300 years after the likes of modern-day fighters of feminism and equality?
- In my wildest dreams, I could imagine someone taking this into a TedTalk circuit, discussing the finding and what we can do as people living in the age of technology to make this fight for equality and feminism a real one, with a true ending. However, in all reality, I could see this becoming some sort of widespread movement with people all over the world adding their favorite movement leaders and the Google Searches they want to ask, let it be known to the world that time is up.