The types of individuals who take part of the United States’ (U. S. ) larger political narrative is all encompassing. Namely, who has a voice in the political discussion is continuously changing and individuals who would initially have the smallest voices would soon have the opportunity to begin movements. However, this does not mean that they are always included in the larger narrative and that their hopes for liberation (i. e. rights and freedoms) are met. Especially during the 1950s to 1980s in the U. S. one can see how the voices of women and the antiwar working-class begin to have a much larger impact on American society; however, one can argue that what they fought for was at times excluded from political discourse. Therefore, as this essay will demonstrate, American liberation is affected by the role that inclusions and exclusions play in American society, primarily between the 1950s and 1980s.
This will be further elaborated by how women and the antiwar working-class tried to be included in the political discourse to seek their liberation (i. . were part of movements that sought liberation). During the period after World War II, there was a shift in the role of women from the private sphere to the public sphere. Namely, at the turn of the 1960s, the concept of the nuclear family was becoming less of the norm as many women began to fight more for their rights and the way in which they were to be portrayed. For many years, women have been made to believe that they must follow certain expectations such to fit into the “American ideal” of what the role of a woman should be.
For example, according to the Redstockings, contests like Miss America perpetuate the idea that women need to be “inoffensive, bland, [and] apolitical” and that “conformity is the key… to success in our society. ” The sentiment expressed in the quotation embodies the view that for women to feel liberated, they must follow this ideal. Furthermore, the authors suggest that this contest demeans women and disseminates the idea of what men want them to be. More specifically, women are subjected to beauty and intellectual standards perpetuated by men.
In doing so, it is the role of society to liberate women from their male oppressors. However, it is also important to note that women needed to be liberated at times from other women as some women were against the women’s movement. Moreover, in th peech, the authors state that women are being excluded from “real power” and are only given “patronizing pseudopower. ” This suggests that women are excluded from making any significant change in America’s narrative during this time period, one that was also heavily focused on an anti-war rhetoric.
For instance, in the Redstockings article, they state that the Miss America winner is expected to be a type of “war cheerleader” in which she must “pep-talk [one’s] husbands, fathers, sons and boyfriends into dying and killing with a better spirit. ” The Redstockings go on to further elaborate that this is not what they are fighting for and that their liberation includes more rights and freedoms. What this suggests is that in the political discourse, women’s liberation was highly focused on a man’s portrayal of the women’s role in America.
Having considered how the women’s movement was sparked by groups such as the Redstockings and their goals of female liberation from male oppression, it is also reasonable to look at the way in which the anti-war movement demonstrated how working-class men wanted to be liberated from the war as well be given more employment opportunities (especially once they got back from war). According to Jefferson Cowie and Lauren Boehm, this is most evident in Bruce Springsteen’s song, “Born in the USA,” which describes the type of life working-class males encountered after the Vietnam war.
Particularly in their article, “Dead Man’s Town: ‘Born in the U. S. A. ,’ Social History, and Working-Class Identity,” they further state how this song demonstrated the way these workers felt excluded. More specifically, even though there was apparently a populist rhetoric in which political members sought to represent the ordinary people, the ways in which they discussed how to bring America back to what it once was, were ineffective as these “national leaders... talked tough but offered little… sustenance. ” What one can posit from this is that while the working class were being “liberated” from war, the after effects of the war were wreaking havoc on their lives.
One can further argue that had the antiwar movement’s goals been met earlier, the lives of the working-class could have been better as there could have been more opportunities for employment had the war ended earlier. Therefore, it is obvious that the war rhetoric was still a factor and for antiwar working-class men, even after the war, the liberation was not completely met as the aftermath of war left many of them in financial distress. What is evident in the political discourse is that politicians’ view of liberation was not always the same as that of the rest of population, such as for women and the working-class.
This is more evidently seen in how presidential candidates used their advertisements in their campaigns to further elaborate on how they believed these groups of individuals would be liberated. For example, in a campaign advertisement by Eisenhower in 1956 entitled “Women Voters,” Eisenhower uses a woman in his campaign ad to discuss how women are entitled to vote and that their vote can make a difference given that there are “fifty-four million women eligible to vote—two and a half million more women than men.
While this appears to be a step forward in liberating women through the use of politics, this is also an example of how women are used by men (more specifically, politicians) to get the vote. In doing so, it appears that women are given mainly an image of liberation that has a strong ulterior motive. Another example of this can be seen by how there are many presidential candidates that use the antiwar rhetoric in their campaign advertisements. This rhetoric can be applied to the working-class who were known to be drafted into the war and did not want to be part of this narrative anymore.
In campaign advertisements for Nixon (1968-1974) and McGovern (1968), they both used the antiwar rhetoric to demonstrate that their goal was to end the war. During this period, many people wondered why there was a large amount of working class men going into the war and because of this, there was a large draft resistance. The advertisements created by Nixon and McGovern helped to reinforce the antiwar movement’s fight toward ending the war and getting Americans back to what it once was.
Moreover, these advertisements appear to help liberate the wor rking-class who were proponents of the antiwar movement. However, this was not always the case as the U. S. was still fighting in Vietnam even much after Nixon won the presidency. This evidently shows that while the working-class was trying to fight for their liberation out of the war (antiwar movement), and were given the hope that this would be pursued by the government because it was stated in these advertiser what one clearly sees is that many of these candidates offered empty promises and that the antiwar movement would continue on for more years.
In doing this, one can posit that these presidential candidates are feeding into the idea that American liberation for all people will only occur if one elects them as president. However, it is important to note that not all candidates, when elected, would follow through with their promises and many women and working-class individuals would eventually fall back to the exclusion rhetoric and therefore, would not be completely liberated to the point that they wanted to be.
Because of this, it appears that an ongoing theme of inclusion and exclusion continued to proliferate in American society especially in terms of the pursuit of liberation. Ultimately, it is apparent that the concept of liberation differed between groups of individuals, but was unfortunately affected by the idea of inclusions and exclusions especially in the political sphere of American life during the 1950s to 1980s. Moreover, it is evident that when someone goes against what is thought of s ideal, they may be marginalised and therefore, lose their voice in the discussion.
Moreover, politicians play a major role in reinforcing the idea of inclusions and exclusions in what is the ideal form of liberation for groups of individuals part of movements. This can be more readily seen in how these potential presidential candidates use their platforms to make one feel a part of the larger picture and hence, be given the illusion that one is liberated. The concept of inclusions and exclusions has been a part of the narrative throughout much of the U. S. ‘ history.
Moreover, throughout the decades, who was part of this narrative continued to change and encompass different types of individuals. By being part of this narrative, many fought for certain rights and freedoms and would not stop until they were liberated from the current situation they were living in. Therefore, one can say that the liberation movement in the U. S. encompassed many voices with differing views that were sometimes heard and if so, would become part of the larger historical and political American narrative.