The polls don’t close for another several hours, but I’ve already been teary several times today. We still have a long way to go before we get anywhere near gender equality, and yet, this day still means so much to me as a feminist and a historian.
Today is a profound response to:
- The guy who walked into my apartment during a party, spotted my “votes for women” banner and started spouting off on those crazy feminists and how they are ruining the country. I looked him straight in the eye and said “Yes, you’re in the home of a feminist liberal and you’re drinking my booze. You can either shut up and stay or walk out the door.” He stayed. We didn’t become friends.
- The guy at the bar who was trying to pick me up. Don’t remember how the conversation shifted, but suddenly we’re talking politics or work or something. And then he said “Don’t tell me you’re a F%&*ing feminazi.” He didn’t understand why I started yelling at him. Also, he didn’t get my number.
- My grandfather, who didn’t understand why I was “wasting” my time studying women’s history. Of course, he may have been more upset about the African-American portion of that work.
- The many men at various meetings that end up with this look of amazement and surprise when it becomes clear that I do know what I’m talking about and they can’t pull one over on me.
- Those that questioned whether I could handle the ED job–because I’m a woman. And how can a woman lead? Especially in Dallas?
- My former colleagues at the now defunct Women’s Museum, who wished the timeline was a little less negative–and chose to shy away from the more difficult topics surrounding women’s history.
Today, I’m wearing white and purple, for the women that came before me, fought this fight, and made my current life possible.
I’m thinking about Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul–as well as the countless others who fought beside them. I’m thinking of the tears I shed when I was in Seneca Falls, standing in the ruins of the building that started this movement in 1848.
And now I’m going to attempt to get back to work, as Hillary would, because there is still so much to do. But first, I might sneak a peek of the livestream of Susan B. Anthony’s grave–and cry just a little more, before the big tears come tonight.
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