A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Monday, November 19, 2012

Susan and the Gals

Well, I'm almost ready to blog about politics again.  I think the election was a bit much - I got really stressed out about it, especially in the apocalyptic aftermath of the political commentary.

Every time I vote, I always think about the Feminists (some might say FemiNazis) who have moved this country forward.  They are responsible for giving me the right to vote, for blazing new career trails, for making more equitable laws, and so many other gains for the rights of women.
Fearless, indomitable - these are the adjectives I would apply to Feminists!
Feminism is a word freighted with all kinds of connotations in Mormon culture.  A Feminist can be viewed as someone who "hates men" or is a strident voice of discord in a society that values unity.  Several years ago, a woman made a comment in church that "Ugh, I'm not a Feminist."  Her tone made clear that Feminism was something dirty and terrible.  I'm not an instigator, and I have no backbone so I didn't respond.  But, of course, this comment hurt me - I don't think that my brand of feminism is everyone's cup of hot chocolate, but I do think that EVERY woman is a feminist (every man should be too, but that's another post).
Susan B. Anthony and Mormon Suffragettes
While driving someone to a far-away airport tonight, I got to hang out with a friend I haven't talked to in a while.  She and I are polar opposites on the political spectrum, yet we both self describe as Feminists.  Knowing this, I asked her to describe Feminism.  She described a very different thing than my Feminism, but there was still the common thread that unites all of Feminism - the belief that women are equal to men in every respect.

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, two of my heroes
Equality is the heart of Feminism!  As a Feminist once said, "Feminism is the radical idea that women are people too."  Oftentimes we forget how RADICAL Susan B. Anthony and the early suffragettes were.  Or how RADICAL it was to argue for women's education and employment.  Or how property laws used to designate women as chattel.  Feminism was a radical proposition when first introduced - almost laughable in its principles.  Yet a group of very dedicated women fought long and hard to change unfair divorce and child custody laws, to remove barriers to women in college, and to establish my right to vote.  Susan B. Anthony was even arrested for attempting to vote!  In America!

She was convicted, too!
These lovely ladies were awesome!  I am so grateful for them.  While I don't think we're perfect in our equality of opportunity yet, we have come a long way, so I'm thankful for Susan and the girls who worked so hard for the generations to follow.  We should be proud to take up their banner and advance the cause of women's rights into this 21st century.  Susan's motto for "The Revolution," her weekly suffragette newsletter was "Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less."

I'm also going to add the words to a rousing Mormon Suffragette hymn (someday I'm going to make the sisters sing this in church.  Also, why is there not a YouTube video of this?):

Freedom's Daughter rouse from slumber,
See the curtains are withdrawn,
Which so long thy mind has shrouded,
Lo! Thy day begins to dawn.

Woman, rise, thy penance o'er,
Sit thou in the dust no more,
Seize the scepter, hold the van,
Equal with thy brother, man.

Truth and virtue be thy motto,
Temp'rance, liberty, and peace.
Light shall shine and darkness vanish.
Love shall rein, oppression cease.


First the fall 'mid Eden's bowers,
Through long suff'ring worthy proved.
With the foremost claim thy pardon,
When earth's curse shall be removed.



  1. Yay for feminists! I had never seen that hymn before, but I love it. Let's teach it to everyone at Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. Ha! It is sad that feminists sometimes have such a bad reputation, especially in the church where many people are feminists (at least those that understand the doctrine) but just don't realize it.

  2. Hear hear! Reminds me of a great scene in Lincoln where a congressman who opposes the abolition of slavery starts listing the parade of horribles that the 13th Amendment will lead to: black men getting the vote! Intermarriage! WOMEN getting the vote! All of these possibilities are met with rousing disdain, even from many on the pro-abolition side.

  3. Carly: The tune is actually "Hope of Israel" - I think. We should sing it, ha ha!
    Austin: Thanks for the spoiler on Lincoln ;) I'm going to go see it tomorrow.

  4. Hopped over here from Anna Lewis' blog. I'm a 58-year-old who just recently woke up and realized that I've been a feminist all along. :) Some of us are late bloomers, I guess. Your hymn makes me grin. Thanks to Diana for putting the tune in my head. I want to march around the house, singing.

  5. Kathy - Thanks for reading. You can find the words and music on page 25 of the current Exponent Magazine - the PDF is here: http://www.exponentii.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Exponent-II-Magazine_Fall-2012-Edition_Web_High.indd_.pdf