Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I am the thirteenth wave.

Revolutionary feminism isn't that new, y'all. Just a little reminder.

If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.

--Abigail Adams, 1776


Anonymous said...

About the perky quoteAbigail Adams, that stuff about fomenting a rebellion that male historians love to quote, along with that sweet head-tilted-to-one side appeal to "remember the ladies," was just a demonstration that Abigail knew how to jolly her husband along. To see what she seriously said how John fiercely struck back, see http://www.equality4women.org. "18th C. views" It's worth looking at her correspondence for April, 1776 to see how this exchange got her so riled up that she had to let off steam by repeating the whole thing in a letter to her friend Mercy Otis Warren. Note also the pathetic closer where she repeats a rhyme about most having our way when we obey, a lie that women have told themselves forever. Historian David McCollough coyly misinterprets Abigail's demand, in effect, that the new Constitution guarantee women's right to equal protection of the law by suggesting that "she was joking, maybe." She was not. TwissB

Hazel Stone said...

Hi Jez, it's Hazel. I am not very familiar with Blogger. How do I emaill you?

Jezebella said...

Hey, thanks for the link and more info, TwissB!

Jezebella said...

Hazel, click on "view my profile" in the right-hand column, you'll see contact info.

Jezebella said...

I just went and read John Adams' response, and I would like to drag him up out of his grave and smack him upside the head.

"Be patient," indeed! We still hear that, and it's been over 200 years. I'm sick of being patient. I bet Abigail Adams was sick of it too.

The glosses on the text are spot-on.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't Abigail and other ladies foment this rebellion? It doesn't seem like much came from this threat, although I admit my knowledge of history is very limited (I have yet to see the movie about John Adams; waiting for it to hit regular TV).

I read your article, TwissB, and appreciate it very much. Would you also please provide a link for the letter to Mercy Otis Warren? Could it be that by letting off steam with our friends, we are reducing the anger and preventing ourselves from rebelling as much as we should?

Bridget said...

I felt the same sort of frustration over the lack of a sense of feminist history when Clinton was in the running for the Democratic nomination. Few people remember that Victoria Woodhull was actually the first woman to run for US president in the 1900s. Or when women here in Canada forget that we have actually had a woman Prime Minister (Kim Campbell) when they talk about federal politics.

When we forget the struggles of our foremothers, I believe that we are more inclined to accept the "all in time, ladies" attitudes and become complacent as yet another generation of oppressors keeps us down.

Part of the problem is that men write the history books. If we want to know the story of women's work, we have to take a women's studies class.

Why is our history considered a niche interest? I think it's because it's in the patriarchy's best interest to keep us ignorant of feminism's deep roots. Then they can treat us like it's just a phase.

Jezebella said...

Hell, never mind Victoria Woodhull, the Republicans act like they never heard of Geraldine Ferraro, like inviting Palin to the VP slot 25 years later is something I should be impressed about.

Anyway, yes: "women's history", being the history of merely 51% of the population, is obviously very, very boring to the other 49%, and so, it is ghettoized and ignored. If only the other classes would be clearly and honestly labeled: "Men's History 101: Dead White European Men Through the Centuries."