Sunday, December 20, 2009

Week 6 Make Up

In this week's reading of "The Age of Empire," Hobsbawm discusses the rise of nationalism and along with that, the rise of women's roles in society. During the late 1800's until the early 1900's, the idea of nationalism began to form. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, nationalism is "national spirit or aspirations" or "the devotion and loyalty to one's own nation; patriotism." This concept did not exist before and so when German citizens thought of themselves as Germans and Italian citizens thought of themselves as Italians, it was never before seen. People now had pride for their own country, and patriotism arose. Of course, there were certain countries that did not follow the crowd and go along with the idea of nationalism. The United Kingdom was one example. The different municipalities of the UK did not want to identify with England and continued to speak their own language and/or dialect.

There was also much discussion about the rising role of women during this time period. This was known as the age of the "new woman." Due to industrialization and urbanization, the life expectancy was now much longer therefore women postponed the age of marriage, leaving more time for their own success. Women started entering the work force, claiming and holding jobs to put food on the table, along with their husbands. The birth rate also declined significantly due to the leaving a better standard of living considering the drop in the household number of mouths to feed. Women now felt empowered, and seeing that they were now equal in the fact that women now could "bring home the bacon," women began to fight for equal fights. This led to a series of struggles and contraversies that eventually and painstakingly led to the emancipation of women. Thus, the "new woman" was created.

I think it is very interesting how time moved throughout this whole period. Things were going relatively slowly during the wars and the movement of globalization, with trading and such. And suddenly, due to just a few inventions, it seems as if society exploded. Age-old traditions were broken and completely rewritten, and the status quo was abolished and redone so many times that the original can hardly be recognized. Even something as simple as a state of mine (ie nationalism) caused such an upheaval that even the traditional role of genders was turned upside down and inside out. It is a little intimidating to think that something seemingly small and insignificant will be discovered in the near future and transform society as we know it.

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