Opposition to Eleanor

"Curiously enough, it is often the people who refuse to assume any responsibility who are apt to be the sharpest critics of those who do." -Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn By Living, 1960


Much of the opposition to Eleanor Roosevelt is based on her being an influential powerful woman. Many people hated her because she had so much influence over her husband. Although we have made progress, males still react to Eleanor not by criticizing her policies but reacting to the fact that she stated them strongly. They react not to her work but to her appearance. For example, during this project, when her name came up in a cooed group, the males' responses showed disdain not admiration. One male responded to us by composing a vulgar rap about her. Another male said, “so the real question is, was she a lesbian?” Another was uninformed about Eleanor but chose to listen to an explanation of her sexual identity over an explanation of her charitable works.

Sadly, our current First Lady also faces ridicule due to the fact that she is a strong woman and her appearance. This response shows that while she was able to plow the road to power for women, she was not able to pave it. Her determination though has inspired many, including those involved in this project, to try to make it in a world that is mainly run by men.

Eleanor Roosevelt's reaction to opposition is also exemplary. As she said, “If I could be worried about mud-slinging, I would have been dead long ago” (Goodwin 205). This comment shows Eleanor's strength and lack of pettiness. It provides an inspiration to those in the public eye. It is especially relevant to people today as the media becomes more and more intrusive.

A 1940 campaign button



Home | During Her Time | Modern Influence