Sexism: Historical Edition

April 19, 2009 § 4 Comments

Hey everybody!

So… I was just minding my own business, attempting to get through my history homework on one of those depressing Sundays when one side of you is fully aware of the fact that you have school tomorrow and the other side of you just wants to sit watching that Law and Order: CI marathon while eating left-over Easter candy (have I shared too much?), when I came across this gem in my textbook:

Immigrants with chalk marks were herded to the left, while most went to the right, filing by a matron who searched the faces of women for evidence of “loose character.”

If such evidence was found, the woman would be turned away and sent back to her country of origin.

No such test was given to men.

Gotta love that good old fashioned 1890’s sexism.


§ 4 Responses to Sexism: Historical Edition

  • baslow says:

    …not to mention xenophobia, racism and maybe just a little class warfare.

  • Jha says:

    What baslow said.

    And also, now I’m curious, where was this? Immigrants from where?

  • Phoebe says:

    It didn’t specify. It was about the general experience at Ellis Island by immigrants as a whole. I think (and I could be mistaken) that this so-called “test” was given to female immigrants of all backgrounds.

  • mnome says:

    Though it may have been given to all women – of every ethnicity and class – women of higher class and certain locales like upper class English will pass much easier than, say, a poor Italian woman.

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