Mary Edwards Walker was born on November 26, 1832 in New York City. Walker graduated in Syracuse Medical College during 1855. During her time, it was known that women were only considered as property for men. As proof, one of the ministers during her time wrote: “the power of a woman is in her dependence” (“Mary Edwards Walker”). Walker then set up an office in Rome, New York after marrying her colleague named Albert Miller. Although she had been married with him for thirteen (13) years, she was still known to be Mary Walker which does not conform to the tradition of attaching her husband’s name to hers.
In the Medal of Honor, she was cited as a nurse in First Manassas. Although she finished a course in medicine, she was hired only as a nurse because the Army would not hire female doctors. Her first interaction with medicine was in the battle of Chickamauga in September of 1863 wherein she provided her services to the hospital of the Army in Chattanooga in Tennessee and became a volunteer surgeon. Finally, Walker became appointed by General George Thomas and became a surgeon in the fifty-second (52nd ) Ohio Infantry Regiment.
She was placed under the watchful eyes of Colonel Dan McCook who was very grateful to be in his Army Hospital which was not normal during her time. While serving as a volunteer in the civil war, she was known to have been captured by the enemies of war. However, it was assumed that she let herself be captured by the enemies in order to spy and provide information to the Army (“Mary Edwards Walker”). In the middle part of the nineteenth century, the public campaigns for feminism became very active. At that time, Dr. Walker was also one of those women who actively participated in the changing of clothing which women were allowed to wear. Not only did Walker become one of the only women who participated in the war, she was also active in advocating women’s rights.
Similar to Amelia Bloomer, she wore various types of clothing material which were known to be unsuitable during her time. By wearing “the bloomers” attire, she became one of the women who were politically aware of her rights and advocated change and liberty of women.
In support of these views, Walker wore the bloomers dress till the 1870’s. After a while, she started wearing men’s clothing, for which she was arrested and accused of imitating a man. However, after arguing regarding her choice of clothing, Walker was allowed to wear men’s clothing through a special permission (“Dr. Mary Edwards Walker”). Dr. Mary Edwards Walker was a supporter of the many women’s advocacy. The way she lived her life shows that women are not only powerful at home, but they could be of help in times of war.
Video Analysis The first video “I was a teenage feminist” is one of the most interesting topics which could be seen in the current issues of feminism. It is known that women have unsaid duties based on the society surrounding them. Although there are no direct statements providing rules of what women should do, the society seemingly provides various pressures with regard to being a woman. The lead character in the video, a woman who is already turning forty years old, feels the pressure that the society is giving her.
Similar to the lead character’s statement in the “I’m a teenage feminist”, she is not a mother, a wife, and not a supermodel. In the book “Liberal Feminism,” it is stated that most of the liberal feminists during the eighteenth and nineteenth century lived an unconventional life. Tong said that John Stuart Mills and Harriet Taylor had a platonic love affair during the time they met. Their love was very unconventional that Harriet Taylor was already married and had a child with her then husband John Taylor.
After his death, Harriet Taylor married John Stuart Mill (Tong page 17-18). In the essays of Harriet Taylor and John Stuart Mills, both of them provided their own views regarding love and having a family. In the perspective of John Mills, individuals must start late in marriage and rearing children; on the other hand, Harriet Taylor believes that a woman must start very early in marriage that later on her (any woman) marriage could result in divorce and maybe find another man who can provide her all her necessities.
The lead person character in the video appears to agree with John Stuart Mill’s perspective on marriage. In addition, the couple has stated that women have always been provided a choice in life which is to “devote their lives to one animal function and its consequence on the one hand, and writing great books, discovering new worlds and building mighty empires [on the other]”(Tong 17). Harriet Taylor also provided significant statements that women only have two choices which are mothering and housewifery and the other hand work outside her home.
In addition to such responsibilities, Harriet believes that women must not only focus on their womanly responsibilities but also participate in the social world and contribute to the economic state of the family (Tong, 18). In the current era, liberal feminists would want women to be free of any societal provisions made in the past. Although such cannot be hindered, the confidence of a woman within her must exists. No matter how complicated and judgmental people are, a woman must be able to express herself freely and not strictly conform to what women are boxed as—mothers and wives.
With regard to the video that presents the speech of Gloria Stern, the point that I was very amused with was the limitations of men in the family. It is known that women are the ones who are strictly prohibited to do various things work only for the family and the likes, while the males are free to do anything they desire. However, Gloria Stern stressed that men are also restricted by the society to express their soft side due to the judgmental views of the society that men should only work for the family and not provide love and care for his children.
Hoping that things would change in the future, Stern expressed that if women are fighting for their rights to be equal with men, then men should be regarded as equal to women in the perspective of family and rearing children.
“Dr. Mary Edwards Walker. ” National Library of Medicine. 16 February 2009 <http://www. nlm. nih. gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/physicians/biography_325. html>. “Mary Edwards Walker. ” Golden Ink. 2009. 16 February 2009 <http://ngeorgia. com/ang/Mary_Edwards_Walker>. Tong, Rose Mary Putnam. Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction. 3rd Ed. Colorado: Perseus Distribution, 2009.