Women of History

How Feminism Fails

“Among the ‘strong-minded women’ who met to attend the convention was Amelia Bloomer – The lady who goes in for breeches and buncomb.”

Dress historian Abby Cox quotes a catty article from 1853, describing feminists as women who subscribe to pants and nonsense – You know, that crazy stuff about women being full people who deserve rights.

“I didn’t actually wanna bring it up, because of some personal biases towards it. It gets brought up a lot when people talk about feminism and clothing in the 19th century, so [it was] kinda me being like, ‘Ugh!’ 

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Feminism Isn’t For Everyone

The irony of feminism supporting transwomen smacked me in the face today.

Hatshepsut, the ancient Egyptian queen, has joined the long list of dead women transitioning recently. You’d think 3,000 years would be too old to matter, but no corner must remain Unclean.

Amnesty UK even stepped in a few months ago to make it official!

Joan of Arc has also been popular lately. Because why else would a young woman traveling with men through enemy territory wear pants, right?

Katherine Hepburn wore pants, too, so she’s on the list. Despite never claiming to be a man in all the hours of footage and interviews and books.

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Pockets And Women’s Liberation: Why Not Both?

“All this time, we have been quietly permitting society to convince us that, in discarding the torturously repressive corset, we have definitively thwarted the patriarchal hold over female liberty Once And For All…

“While in actuality, our material freedom has been gradually snatched from right under our noses in the form of expensive jeans with fake pockets requiring additionally expensive handbags!

“Do with that information what you will.”

It sounds too simple, but the erosion of women’s pockets through the 19th and 20th centuries follows our struggle for liberation. The more autonomy women have, the fewer and smaller the pockets.

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Notorious RBG and the Great Gender Switch

Sitting with mixed feelings tonight, after learning how a feminist icon threw out the baby with the bathwater.

Ruth Bader-Ginsburg was a hard-hitting civil rights lawyer in the 1970s. Her mission was to take on sexual discrimination, one example at a time.

She argued before the Supreme Court for the American Civil Liberties Union. She won Social Security survivor benefits, she won women a place on juries. Appearing in six cases, she won five.

One day, her secretary remarked, “I’m typing these briefs for you, and there’s the word sex, sex, sex on every page! Don’t you know those nine men to whom you’re arguing, when they hear that word, their first association is not what you want them to be thinking about!“

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Emily Wilding Davison: Original Women’s Lib Martyr, Publicist Extraordinaire

I’m not sure I understand her methods.

Martyrdom is pretty universal, although volunteering takes a special kind. Emily Wilding Davison devoted her life to gaining women the vote in England. At the age of 40, Emily was already a catalyzing force in the Women’s Movement. 

She had been a gifted student, eventually attending Oxford University. This being the Victorian era, she never earned a degree because Oxford didn’t award them to women at the time.

Emily became a teacher and, by and by, a political activist. Denied greater exercise of her talents, the obvious first step to liberation was civic engagement. She joined the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1906, a very active group of agitators founded by another famous suffragist, Emmeline Pankhurst.

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Alexandra Kollontai: the Brutal Bolshevik‘s Legacy to Feminism

Born to a wealthy Russian military family at the height of the Victorian era, Alexandra Kollontai rejected the upper-class life.

Opinionated and intelligent, she dove into politics young. Driven by the conviction that “bourgeois feminists” could never really understand the plight of The People, at 21 she ran away from her army officer husband and married a poor cousin. But it was the dangerous conditions in a local factory that caused her to snap. Devoting herself to Marxism, Alexandra left her second husband and made the acquaintance of the important men in the revolutionary Bolshevik party.

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