Amananta at Screaming into the Void remembers to be grateful–and to whom!

“‘Women were given the right to vote.’ This is what we are taught. The statement is often framed as such, implying that non-women–i.e., men–gave them that right. The reality of why women can vote here and in many other countries does not match this rather tepid statement. In order to win the right to vote, women have defied husbands and fathers, spoke publicly, started organizations, created newspapers, held massive protests and marches, petitioned lawmakers, were jailed for protesting, went on hunger strikes, were force-fed and sometimes died, rioted in the streets, set fire to houses of anti-suffragists, and sometimes defied the law not allowing them to vote by forcibly inserting their votes into ballot boxes. . . .

After 72 years of protest and increasing political action, women’s ceaseless advocacy on thier own behalf hounded and shamed American political leaders into ceasing their discriminatory suffrage policy towards women. This was not a gift or a boon, but a hard-won victory. Every social and political right won by American women after this time has been won only because feminist groups consisting mainly of women have fought for that right. Women led the fight for legal contraception, for legal abortion, for equal pay, for fair treatment in school, at work, in all spheres of society. Men have NEVER led a political struggle for women’s rights–NEVER. Men as a group have been greatly resistant to the point of hostility to women’s demands for equality and freedom, both to both the women who petition for freedom and any men who side with them.

“So who is it exactly, that women should be grateful to for our freedoms? Why, to feminists, of course!”

In the words of Frederick Douglass, “Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.”


 (Hat tip to Feminist Law Professors.)