Yesterday was the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington, but the “I Have a Dream” speech is not the only landmark historical moment celebrating human rights in August. Monday marked the 93rd anniversary of the incorporation of the Nineteenth Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote.
I noticed a post on my Facebook newsfeed that said “93 years ago today women were granted the right to vote! Count your blessings, ladies!” It made me wince. The word “blessing” implies an act of generosity from a higher power, such as a blessing from God. Women’s right to vote is not a blessing, or some grand gesture of mercy from powerful men to whom we should be grateful. Suffragettes began campaigning for the right to vote in the mid-nineteenth century, and they put up an resilient fight against the bigoted and vile status quo. It was hard work, not a blessing, that won women the right to vote. We should be thankful, to the likes of Susan B. Anthony and other women trailblazers, not to men, nor to God.
Here are some pretty incredible (“incredible” here meaning “unbelievably cruel”) anti-suffragette cartoons from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, courtesy of this post from The Week.
Amazing, over 100 years later and the rhetoric used against feminism has barely shifted. You’re a whore when you’re young and assert your sexual autonomy, and burned out and unwanted by the time you’re in your thirties, even if you are single by choice.
Throwback Thursday, am I right?