Women’s Opposition

I actually found the chapter by Valerie Cooper to be the most interesting this week. Her analysis of women’s contribution to religion in the nineteenth century was intriguing to read. The description of women facing down their opposition and continuing to seek opportunities to preach and spread their sermons despite society’s many obstacles was particularly fascinating, as it reminded me a great deal of similar readings towards the beginning of the semester in which men described similar struggles and how they overcame them. For these readings, though, the women faced not only opposition due to society’s racism but also because of their gender, which meant that they faced more obstacles than even the authors of the prior readings. Cooper describes this struggle when she speaks of Jarena Lee, saying “Lee faced the agonizing double jeopardy that confounds the lives of African American women: she was inconveniently black and female in a social order that valued neither very highly, and more frequently undermined and underestimated both.” (Cooper 70) This statement is quite efficient in exposing to readers the extent of the difficulties that Jarena Lee faced, and made me pause to consider it for a moment. Women of the time faced many, varied struggles in order to pursue their calling, and it is inspirational to realize that they persisted in the face of all of their oppositions and succeeded regardless.

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