womans suffrage

Today is International Women’s Day.

Today also marks the show of solidarity for women’s rights by way of a strike: A Day Without A Woman. Women around the world are refusing to take part in both paid and unpaid labor in the name of justice for all gender-oppressed people of all ethnicities, religions, and sexualities. In doing so, they join the ranks of women who have led protests, strikes, and movements throughout history.

Let’s celebrate a few of those women:

Dorothy Height (March 24, 1912—April 20, 2010)

Originally posted by womenthrive

Dorothy Height, former President of the National Council of Negro Women, was one of the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington. She stood near Martin Luther King Jr. during his “I Have a Dream” speech, but did not publicly speak that day. In fact, no woman publicly spoke. “Even on the morning of the march there had been appeals to include a woman speaker,” wrote Height in her memoir. “They were happy to include women in the human family, but there was no question as to who headed the household!“ In 1971, she helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus with other notable feminists like Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, and Shirley Chisholm.

Marsha P. Johnson (August 24, 1945—July 6, 1992)

Originally posted by dannisue

Marsha P. Johnson spent her entire adult life fighting for the rights of LGBTQ people. She’s credited for being one of the first to fight back in the Stonewall Riots. She started the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries with her friend Sylvia Rivera. Together they provided food, shelter, and care to young drag queens, trans women, and homeless children in need in the Lower East Side of NYC. She fought for what was right, and knew how to live life with exuberance and humor. When asked by a judge what what the “P” stood for, she replied “Pay It No Mind.”

Alice Paul (January 11, 1885—July 9, 1977)

Originally posted by taryndraws

Alice Paul was one of the leading forces behind the Nineteenth Amendment, which affirmed and enshrined a woman’s right to vote. She rallied 8,000 people to march in the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession in Washington—no small task in a world before the internet—with an estimated half million people watching the historic moment from the sidelines.

And some good activist blogs to follow:

  • Emily’s List (@emilys-list) slogan is “ignite change.” They aim to do so by backing pro-choice candidates for US office in key races across the country.
  • Women of Color in Solidarity (@wocinsolidarity) focuses on being a hub for the the WOC experience in the US. Original posts, incredibly informative reblogs…this place is wonderful.
Diana takes Etta to Themyscira...

Poor Etta is in awe and absolutely overwhelmed by the scores of gorgeous warrior women that think she’s absolutely adorable and all jostle to impress her with their battle scars, archery prowess, and perfect recitations of lost Sapphic poetry.

When one of the Amazons asks their new Sister Etta what great battles she has fought in, she gets a bit embarrassed and tells them how she’s gotten herself in a few rounds of fisticuffs when some suffrage rallies got a bit of pushback- which of course leads to a whole new gamut of questions about ‘what is this suffrage?’ and ‘you mean you’re letting men decide if you should be allowed to participate in your own government?’

Basically all I want is an army of Amazon Warriors to sail down the Thames, march on London, and challenge the King of England to honorable combat for the women’s vote. 

She was the first woman to...

…travel around the world in a damned Zeppelin.

Originally posted by lego-stories

Lady Hay Drummond-Hay (September 12, 1895—February 12, 1946) was a star journalist who became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe, and she did it in a damned Zeppelin. She went on to report from war zones like Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) and Manchuria (now part of China), fell into a tumultuous romance with a fellow reporter, and was eventually captured by the Japanese during WWII.

…swim the English Channel.

Originally posted by hero-generator

Gertrude Ederle (October 23, 1905 – November 30, 2003) was a competitive swimmer, Olympic champion, and at one time held five world records. If there was a world record for coolest nickname she would’ve held six, because hers was “Queen of the Waves.” When Ederle set out to become the first woman to swim the English channel, she used motorcycle goggles and sealed the edges with wax to keep the salt water out of her eyes. Due to unfavorable and violent wind conditions twelve hours into her 14 hour and 34 minute journey, her trainer shouted at her to get out of the water and into his boat. She reportedly popped her head up from the water to simply ask “what for?” 

travel around the world in less than 80 days.

Originally posted by meedean

Nellie Bly (May 5, 1864—January 27, 1922) asked her editor at the New York World if she could take a stab at turning the story Around the World in 80 Days from fiction to fact. Using railways and steamships, Bly chuggah-chuggahed and toot-tooted the nearly 25,000 mile trip in just 72 days, meeting Jules Verne and buying a monkey along the way. If her name sounds familiar but these stories don’t, it’s probably because you’ve heard about how she once faked a mental illness so she could write an exposé on psychiatric asylums. Or maybe it’s because of her famed coverage of the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913. Or maybe it’s because you’re a big fan of farming and industrialist patents and heard she invented a novel milk can and a stacking garbage can. Nellie Bly did a lot in her short 57 years. 

Follow these Tumblrs for more Women’s History:

  • Stuff You Missed in History Class (@missedinhistory) is not exclusively about women, but hoo boy, it turns out most history classes aren’t great at teaching us about women’s history. You’ll learn a lot here. 
  • The New-York Historical Society (@nyhistory) has been pulling articles, artifacts, and documents deep from the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library this Women’s History Month. 

“Depicting women in chains was ubiquitous in suffrage cartoons from the 1910s, in which women sought to be emancipated by gaining the right to vote.

…Wonder Woman is bound in almost every one of her adventures, usually in chains. The bondage in Wonder Woman comics raised hackles with [publisher Max] Gaines’s editorial advisory board, but [Wonder Woman co-creator William Moulton] Marston insisted that Wonder Woman had to be chained or tied so that she could free herself — and, symbolically, emancipate herself.

—From “The Secret History of Wonder Woman” by Jill Lepore

Can we please do away with the notion that bondage in 1940s Wonder Woman comics is nothing more than her creator’s sexual kink? 

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) is one of the most famous figures of the women’s rights movement in the United States, particularly for her leading of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Her efforts to promote equal rights eventually led to American women being allowed to vote.

In 1848, she organized the Seneca Falls Conventions together with other women activists, and drafted a Declaration of Sentiments, affirming the equality of genders. She was part of the abolitionist movement, and promoted racial equality in the United States. Her most influential work is perhaps The Women’s Bible, published in 1895.

Steve Trevor + Childhood

Wonder Woman is Diana’s movie and Steve Trevor has always been a foil, so I’m not mad in the slightest that there’s actually not a lot of backstory about him. But inquiring minds need to know! So here are some headcanons based on what we glean in the movie. No spoilers since it’s all conjecture.

Birth: Chris Pine is 36, so if we go with that for Steve and the movie takes place in 1918, we have a birth year of 1882. Progressive Era! He would have been 11 when Frederick Jackson Turner’s frontier thesis eulogized the idea of “Go West, young man.” He would have grown up idolizing Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley. Dime novel adventures and big tent circuses and baseball and moving pictures!

Birthplace: His flat accent puts him somewhere in the Midwest. Since interviews say his character is inspired by Indiana Jones, let’s say he was born in Indiana. Definitely a farm boy, but close enough to Indianapolis to get an education and a thirst for the world.

Family: Steve may work alone but his buddies prove he isn’t a loner. Big families were common in his day, so it’s conceivable he grew up with a lot of relatives around. Maybe the Trevor farm is owned by his uncle, who has a few boys (*cough* reincarnated Steve *cough*).

His mother is a strong, smart former schoolteacher turned quasi-business woman (she turns the Trevor farm into a force with smart investments) who has a mutual respect for her husband but, based on Steve’s comment in the boat, it isn’t a love match. She is active in the city, belonging to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the American Woman Suffrage Association, and the Indianapolis Equal Suffrage Society, which had world peace as one of its core values. She hosted teas in their city home and Steve picked up a bunch of values that would later endear him to Etta Candy.

I can’t see Steve as anything but the youngest. Charming, lively, open to love, easy respect for women? Yeah, he grew up with a mess of older sisters. They spoiled him and tortured him and made sure he never questioned the fact that women are, like, people with distinct personalities and wills.

His father (William Stephen Trevor, maybe, named for the WW creator) is a career military man, possibly maxing out as a colonel. Wristwatches weren’t really a thing for men until after WWI, but military men adopted them in the 1800s. It’s conceivable his father fought for the North in the Civil War as a very young man, but he would have spent his career neck-deep in the Indian campaigns. (His people, indeed, Chief.)

The way Steve is, I can’t imagine his father as anything but honorable. I can see him sharing his grief at the horrors of war and the rights of natives to protect their own alongside his belief that a solider follows orders to the letter but does what he can to deliver them in a “just” way.

He’s a complicated figure in Steve’s life, representing discipline and a stoicness Steve can’t relate to, “soft” as the women in his life have made him. As the only son, there would be a lot of expectations on Steve, ones that he desperately wants to fulfill and rebel against in equal measure. His father isn’t around much in Steve’s childhood, but when he is home is a very different place full of rules.

I don’t want this to go too long, so more on young man Steve later!


Another set of bookplates recently found while cataloging. Fun fact about the last one shown here:  Helen was born in Hannibal, Missouri, on July 25, 1873. She received her education in both public and private schools in Boston, MA. She married Rev. Minot Simons in Boston on December 18, 1894. The couple had one son, Langdon, and eventually settled down in Cleveland, Ohio, where Minot served as minister for a Unitarian church. Helen was an active member of the Woman Suffrage Party.

Rosika Schwimmer (1877-1948) was a Hungarian suffragist, feminist, and pacifist. She founded organizations such as the Hungarian Feminist Association, and the Hungarian National Council of Women.

She worked as a corresponding secretary for the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, and toured Europe to lecture on female suffrage. She was also involved in the activities of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, becoming its vice-president in 1916. In 1918, she became the Hungarian ambassador to Switzerland, one of the first women in the world to serve in such a diplomatic role.

On January 29, 1866, Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, leader of the Radical Republicans in the House of Representatives, presented one of the first of several hundred petitions for universal suffrage on the floor of the House of Representatives. Signers of this petition included Elizabeth Cady Stanton; Susan B. Anthony; and members of the former Women’s Loyal National League, Ernestine Rose, Lucy Stone, and Antoinette Brown Blackwell. This exceptional combination of signatures represents some of the period’s foremost advocates for suffrage and abolition.

Petition of E. Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Others on Universal Suffrage, ca. 1865, HR39A-H1.9, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives (NAID 306684)

Inez Milholland (1886-1916) was an American lawyer and prominent women’s suffrage activist. She was also a WWI correspondent who wrote and campaigned for pacifist causes. 

Born in Brooklyn and educated in New York, London, and Berlin, she became a lawyer in New York, dealing mainly with criminal and family law. Her experience in the judicial system made her interested in prison reform and the rights of African-Americans to receive due process. She is, however, mostly known for her key role in the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession and her radical activism for women’s rights.

anonymous asked:

I've never read thomas hardy before but after reading your blog i really want too. (Truthfully i had never heard of him before you). which book do you recommend i read first? And how many tissues should i buy in preparation? Lol

Since you’ve not heard of Thomas Hardy before, let me introduce you properly to my favourite crotchety old man. Hardy (1840 - 1928) was a born and raised Dorset native with an intense love for his home, its people and its heritage. He wrote stories and poetry set almost exclusively in the West Country, and to describe the “partly real, partly dream” landscape in which his fiction is set, he revived the ancient Saxon name of Wessex (which you may perhaps recognise as the kingdom of Shakespeare’s Lear).

His stories are often termed “pastoral tragedies” and this is an entirely apt description. Hardy was classically educated and he loved Greek, Roman and also Shakespearean tragedy. He took these traditional forms and used them in his work, applying them to the structure of his novel, and lacing his works with deliberate quotes and references to ancient tragedy. But what’s remarkable about this is that the characters and the people and the places he writes about are not kings and queens in palaces; they are ordinary people of the West Country, farmers and traders and labourers. Traditionally, the main character of tragedy - the titular character, often - must be of a high enough status that their downfall affects the whole nation. Otherwise they’re not really worth writing about. Macbeth, Hamlet, Oedipus, Agamemnon… they are all royalty.

Hardy looked at this tradition and said “nah. Ordinary people are just as worthy, and the downfall of a peasant girl, even if it affects no-one but herself and her family, is still worth writing about.” He took the classical forms of tragedy – so grand and far-reaching and heroic, with such dignity and gravitas (drawing particularly on Aeschylus, from what I can tell) - and applied them to the lives ordinary people. 

The other thing to note about Hardy is that he was a stone cold social rebel who had a lot of problems with society, and particularly the treatment of women and the hypocrisy of the church. His novels are often a criticism of social mores, as tragedy and horror and heartbreak is enacted upon innocent souls as a consequence of the constraints and prejudices of society. Here are some quotes from the man himself; in the author’s preface of Jude the Obscure (written some time after the first publication) he says:

My opinion at that time, if I remember rightly, was what it is now, that a marriage should be dissolvable as soon as it becomes a cruelty to either of the parties—being then essentially and morally no marriage—and it seemed a good foundation for the fable of a tragedy, told for its own sake as a presentation of particulars containing a good deal that was universal, and not without a hope that certain cathartic, Aristotelian qualities might be found therein.

In a letter to his wife Florence (in 1911) he says:

You know what I have thought for many years: that marriage should not thwart nature, and that when it does thwart nature it is no real marriage, and the legal contract should therefore be as speedily canceled as possible. Half the misery of human life would I think disappear if this were made easy.

He says he rejects the happy-ever-after formula of marriage, because in real life marriages can be miserable. They can be abusive. They can be the worst thing that ever happens to someone. In Candour in English Fiction, he writes:

Life being a physiological fact, its honest portrayal must be largely concerned with, for one thing, the relations of the sexes, and the substitution for such catastrophes as favour the false colouring best expressed by the regulation finish that ‘they married and were happily ever after,’ of catastrophes based upon sexual relations as [they are].

Some people naturally ask: was Thomas Hardy a feminist? Yes, and he was so forward-thinking on women’s rights that he was worried he was too radical even for the suffragists. The Fawcett Society requested his support for the Suffragist movement and he replied:

I have for a long time been in favour of woman-suffrage. I fear I shall spoil the effect of this information … by giving you my reasons. I am in favour of it because I think the tendency of the woman’s vote will be to break up the present pernicious conventions in respect of manners, customs, religion, illegitimacy, the stereotyped household (that is must be the unit of society), the father of the woman’s child (that it is anybody’s business but the woman’s own)… and other such matters which I got into hot water for touching on many years ago [after writing Jude the Obscure].

Liberal feminists at that time idealised marriage; Hardy’s view was that no, the nuclear family shouldn’t be the foundation of society, the church should not be allowed to bind people in unbreakable marriages, illegitimacy and the punishment of single mothers was fucking stupid and cruel, and society needs to reform so that a woman’s worth doesn’t come from her place as a wife, nor her chastity, nor from the paternity of her children. All of these opinions and more come out in his novels.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure are considered his masterpieces, and they are. Tess, with the secondary title of “A Pure Woman” is about a sixteen year old peasant girl who is raped by a wealthy, privileged twenty-four year old man. The rest of the novel chronicles what happens to her as a consequence of this. It is an incredibly moving and sympathetic portrayal of a rape victim, whom he terms from the outset “A Pure Woman” because fuck. you. A woman being raped does not make her impure. Why should we blame and ostracise women for what men do to them? Why do the rapists go unpunished? Why, especially, are the rich able to abuse the poor like this? As you can imagine, this was incredibly controversial at the time.

Jude the Obscure goes one step further. The titular Jude is a poor young man who aspires to one day attend university. The story of his life is a biting criticism of the way women and poor men are barred from higher education. It also deals frankly with sex and marriage, as Jude and his lover Sue are two people who endured ghastly first marriages, and divorced so they could be together. Rather than marry again, Sue pleads with Jude for them to remain unmarried, and simply live in a de facto relationship. For this choice they are cruelly ostracised and suffer unendurable heartache. In the character of Sue, he really rails against marital rape and the way women are made to feel like it is their duty to submit to their husband, or that they are committing a sin by not submitting. Sue is a demisexual woman, and she is only ever capable of summoning desire for one man – Jude. Part of her tragedy is that she is tortured and punished for this sexuality.

The backlash against Jude was severe. Hardy was hounded and abused for daring to suggest that women ought to have sexual autonomy; that people should be released from cruel marriages and not suffer societal backlash for it; that the lives of illegitimate children should be valued and protected; that the poor ought to have access to education, etc. A bishop claimed he burned the novel in disgust. One reviewer called it “Jude the Obscene.” A lady wrote to the New York Times saying she had to run outside for air after reading it. Hardy received a box of ashes, presumably the remains of Jude, from an irate reader. Hardy was always pretty thin-skinned about reviews (after his first novel, Desperate Remedies, was published, one review made him wish he was dead and threw him into a funk of depression) and after negative feedback from Tess he said “If this sort of thing continues, no more novel-writing for me. A man must be a fool to deliberately stand up to be shot at.” The criticism Jude brought upon his head meant that he made good on his promise, basically said “fuck all y’all” and devoted himself to poetry for the remaining few decades of his life.

This has been a basic introduction to the life and works of Thomas Hardy; now in terms of what I can recommend, out of his fourteen Wessex novels, Tess and Jude are obviously essential, but you should probably start with Far From the Madding Crowd. This is perhaps the funniest and most optimistic of his books, with witty and endearing characters, a gorgeously rendered rural setting and a beautiful love story between the wilful Bathsheba Everdene and my dear awkward son, Gabriel Oak. Return of the Native, The Trumpet-Major and The Mayor of Casterbridge are my other favourites. Desperate Remedies is his first novel and only Gothic novel, and I always like to flag it because it has an honest-to-God lesbian scene in it.  “The instant they were in bed Miss Aldclyffe freed herself from the last remnant of restraint. She flung her arms round the young girl, and pressed her gently to her heart. ‘Now kiss me,’ she said.” 19th century Gothic lesbians, anyone?

Thomas Hardy was a super prolific writer, and he produced a great number of short stories and poems in addition to these novels. Don’t be afraid to hunt around until you find something you like. All his works are public domain now, so you should easily be able to download his ebooks. Happy reading!

Carolina Beatriz Ângelo


after seeing so many posts about women’s right to vote in other countries (props to New Zealand for being the first btw),  decided to look up what happened in Portugal:

listen up shitdicks

this beautiful lady right here:

Was Carolina Beatriz Ângelo, and she was the first woman to e v e r vote in Portugal. 

In 1911 the law stated that the right to vote was only given to: “Portuguese citizens over 21, who can read and write and are heads of households.” so Carolina, a doctor, widowed, and “head of household”, took advantage of the legislator’s lapse and participated in the elections to the Constituent Assembly, but her request to vote was denied by some crummy old minister, not wanting to give up she appealed, and the judge João Baptista de Castro, upheld her claim on the following grounds:

“Excluding women (…) just for being women (…) is simply absurd and unjust and contrary to the ideas of democracy and justice proclaimed by the Republican Party. (…)“ 

This episode generated great controversy at the time, even though she was able to vote, the law quickly changed next year to include the words “all male portuguese citizens”, it wasn’t until 1938 that women were able to vote, and only in 1968 was the barrier that separated female and male citizens lifted and we became just portuguese citizens as a whole!

She is a feminist icon because in her 33 years of life she was a gynecologist, surgeon, a suffragette, a militant of the Republican Women’s League, and founder and president of the Feminist Propaganda Association, and a widow with a daughter at her care.
She died young of a cardiac syncope.

She was tired, but she never stopped fighting for women’s rights to equality and peace in my country, not until her last breath! 

(1878 - 1911)