I’m starting to hate that quote. Why is there no quote that well behaved men rarely make history? Because questioning the norms, speaking out, and creating change are all admired in men, but put down in women.
A woman I know who became active and vocal in local politics received a threatening letter, not signed, and her mailbox was destroyed. Social media response ranged from outrage to “Well she was a rabble rouser, what do you expect?” What the fuck?
This letter threatened her two children under the age of five. And by rabble rouser we mean- questioned the first selectman’s process in spending the town’s money all within the guidelines of the town charter and laws. She never actually “misbehaved,” she demanded accountability and dared to question the white men who got their knickers in a twist when she demanded transparency (as is her right according to her town’s charter and laws).
Someone wrote the above quote on her facebook page. And it pissed me off. Because she is behaving. She’s not misbehaving by exercising her right to free speech and demanding transparency in local politics. Which by the way all started because of a local project to re-vamp a playground. A playground people. If we can’t be transparent about a playground we have some serious freaking problems.
I never thought I was a feminist. Because that word has a strong ring to it. A rather violent burning bras type of ring. But apparently even women who just exercise the same rights men do fall under the feminist umbrella. This horrible situation in a small red town in a “blue state” demonstrates the vast chasm within our country. Our problems don’t start at the White House. They end there. They start in our own homes. In our neighbors homes. In our town halls. In the sexism and fear of the unknown that permeates conservative culture.
Many people have stated, the Republicans need to return to the party of Abraham Lincoln, who was one of the first Republicans elected to office. At the time the Republican party stood against slavery. Amazing. Susan B. Anthony was a Republican. She obviously was “misbehaved” and did so in the name of the Republican party. Lincoln states,
“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”
Speech to the Illinois Republican Convention, 1858
Instead we as a country have become further divided than I ever thought possible. Polarized. But Lincoln’s right. A house divided will not stand.
But as long as we have people who think that women who protest, who speak, who exist in a manner that is pleasing to themselves; are “misbehaving” then we will continue to be divided.
What is the solution? Stop being douchebags. I mean, for starters, seriously just stop. If a woman speaks out maybe don’t send a letter threatening her family. When a young woman is elected to congress maybe don’t focus on her shoes or her clothes but her brain and her actions. Don’t categorize women engaging in politics and exercising their rights as “rabble rousers” and “misbehaving”. Respond to them as you would respond to a man bringing up the same issues (without the “Who’s dick is bigger” contest).
I’m irritated. Irritated that young girls have to be told they are “misbehaving” in order to speak out, to question, to create change. That we have to be labeled feminists in order to seek equal rights with men. That we have to essentially wear a strap-on to get any respect.
I’m angry that we have allowed this concept to perpetuate generations of young girls. Instead of just stating that Women who make history challenge the norms, push the envelope, and demand the world be a better place.
That women who make history like: Susan B. Anthony, Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, Elizabeth I, Jane Austen, Maya Angelou, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Florence Nightingale, Elizabeth Blackwell (First female physician), Rosa Parks, Malala Yousafzai (If you don’t know her look her up and watch her on the Letterman special on Netflix. She is quite frankly amazing.), Ruth Ginsburg, Oprah, Hilary R Clinton, and Michelle Obama…etc…that these women were not misbehaving.
They were existing. They fought for their right to exist, to learn, to teach, to write, to love, to speak. They fought for their right to speak. We should NOT view them as “bad girls” because they are some of the greatest women of all time. They were great. Awe inspiring and to demean their accomplishments and existence and survival by putting them on a naughty list is wrong.
Women make history. Not well behaved or misbehaved women. Just women. Great, intelligent, brave, bold women exist now as they have throughout history.
To say it any other way is wrong.