Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History – Reader Response

Read and discuss in The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings, 3rd ed Ch. 58, LAUREL THATCHER ULRICH, “Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History, p. 656.” Read this essay to write the Reader Response plus Research papers.

Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History

“Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History” is an essay by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich that appears in Chapter 58 of “The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings, 3rd ed.” Ulrich’s essay, initially released in 1976, has gained recognition as an often-cited statement, summarizing the notion that women who defy tradition and expectations are the individuals who are remembered and honored in historical accounts.

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Ulrich primarily addresses the history of this term, noting its transformation from an academic annotation to a well-recognized phrase. She talks about women who have been disregarded in normative historical accounts because of their failure to adhere to societal norms of femininity or appropriateness (Thatcher Ulrich 657). Conversely, Ulrich contends that it is women who challenge these societal expectations, who transcend limits to define their own agency, and who have a significant and enduring mark on history. Ulrich’s essay emphasizes the importance of reassessing our knowledge of history to include the narratives of women who have been neglected or overlooked. She illustrates the necessity of adopting a broader method for the study of history, one that honors the valuable contributions made by women from diverse backgrounds. Ulrich’s writeup serves as both a cry for action and a tribute to the women who have courageously challenged societal norms and left a lasting impact on history (Souza 33). The author urges readers to recheck their preconceived notions about gender roles and acknowledge the autonomy of women throughout history.

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Upon perusing Ulrich’s essay, I reflected on my analysis of the women in my personal circle who had challenged social norms and had a significant impact. Women, including scientists, activists, artists and legislators, have played a leading role in driving societal change and growth. Ulrich’s essay is a reminder of the need to recognize and commemorate their accomplishments. Moreover, Ulrich’s essay triggered my critical thinking regarding the manner in which women’s narratives are described and preserved.

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The dominant narrative of history frequently ignores the achievements women have made. Ulrich’s plea for an expanded viewpoint on historiography prompts us to scrutinize whose narratives are being recounted and which perspectives are being acknowledged. Ulrich’s essay connected with me in a number of ways, essentially due to its ability to question conventional ideas about history and the roles of women within it. Ulrich made a fascinating argument that I found compelling: “Women who conform to societal norms rarely leave a lasting impact on history.” (Thatcher Ulrich 657). This statement conveys the concept that women who adhere to society’s standards and expectations are frequently disregarded in historical accounts, while those who defy these norms have a significant and enduring influence (Souza 35). This concept resonated with me because it emphasizes the significance of women having control and independence. It serves as a reminder that women who have made valuable contributions to society have encountered resistance from societal expectations and limitations imposed by gender norms.

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 As a supporter of women, I found this inspiring because it confirms the notion that women possess the ability to determine their own futures and have a significant influence on the world. Ulrich’s essay also advocates for a more exhaustive and universal approach to historiography. She underscores the necessity of revealing the narratives of women who have been neglected or overlooked by mainstream historical accounts. This statement surprised me because it addresses the larger concern of representation and the privileging of certain voices in the account of historical events.

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As a reader, it motivated me to engage in critical thinking regarding the individuals whose tales are being described and the viewpoints that are being portrayed in the narratives we come across. Ulrich advocates for a reassessment of historical narratives to incorporate the experiences of women who have been excluded (Zimmer 23). she explains the significance of diversity in the study of history and the necessity of revealing suppressed voices and viewpoints. The author invites readers to pause and think about the individuals whose tales are being relayed and the individuals whose perspectives are mentioned in the telling of historical events, thus fostering a more thorough and refined comprehension of the past.

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 In summary, Ulrich’s essay prompted me to reevaluate my comprehension of history and the roles that women have played in it. This experience drove me to consider the women in my own circle who have surpassed societal expectations and had a significant impact. It also reinforced the significance of appreciating and valuing their achievements. Ulrich’s essay is a compelling testimonial to the enduring perseverance and tenacity of women throughout history. It invites readers to critically examine the prevailing narratives that have influenced our perception of the past. Ulrich’s essay provides a compelling testament to the constant resilience and vigor shown by women across different historical periods. It further urges readers to go beyond superficial appearances and discover the underlying narratives of women who have bravely challenged societal norms and achieved remarkable feats under their own conditions.

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