“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.
Today marks the 95th Anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 2015. It might sound cheesy, but I feel humbled by the sacrifices made by our foremothers. If it weren’t for the hunger strikes, and the devotion of women committed to ensuring that we all are able to enjoy the same individual rights to influence, and have a voice in the path of our country, my life would be a very different thing. I think they would be so proud to know that parents actively aim to raise their daughters to understand they are just as capable of success as their male counterparts, and raise their sons to understand that biology does not predetermine success. Even the fact that there is an argument which suggests society may be guilty of swinging the pendulum too far; or the concept of the white, male, buffoon as the only caricature acceptably mocked in public, tells the story of partial success that could never have even been considered without their help. That’s neither to say that we shouldn’t be concerned about letting the pendulum swing too far, nor to invalidate worthy complaints. I could probably write for hours about those. What I’m focusing on, however, is celebrating the achievements we’ve accomplished, not just as women, but as a society, because, let’s face it, without the who men champion equality, we won’t ever fully achieve it. It’s a group effort.
For starters, I’m really glad we overcame this nonsense:
There was an idea, and there are still people who believe it, that echo Thomas Jefferson’s. In Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchmen, my still all-time favorite literary Dad (Don’t worry, I still love you Atticus. All heroes fall.), Atticus Finch, says, “Jefferson believed full citizenship was a privilege to be earned by each man, that it was not something given lightly or to be taken lightly. A man couldn’t vote simply because he was a man. A vote was, to Jefferson, a precious privilege a man attained for himself…” Somewhere along the line America decided against Thomas Jefferson’s ideology, making citizenship a right gain simply by being born on American soil as opposed to enforcing a litany of rules in order to obtain it. It is in large part thanks to the 15th Amendment that this happened. So, shout out to everyone who made that possible. We really dig this citizenship thing around here.
Of course, we should recognize that even after women were granted the vote we were still viewed as ignorant, unintelligent, and inexperienced in all things out of the home, as is evident with this kind of advertising common in the 1950s:
Nowadays we are fortunate that women have been recognized as the powerful, worthy individuals we are, and advertising has been increasingly reflecting that. Always is probably my favorite example of this with their #LikeaGirl campaign that aims to change the way the phrase “like a girl” is used.
The fight isn’t over yet. Until we reach a point where the wage gap has been closed, men stop trying to make care decisions for women’s bodies, and the binders full of women have been freed, we can’t really say we’ve achieved total success. The achievements we have accomplished, however, should be celebrated.
As I write this, my daughter is asleep on the couch next to me, and I can’t help but see in her all the various potentials for success that lay before her. Because of the work done to open the doors by women who have gone before us there are endless options of doors open for her.
So Happy Women’s Equality Day. May we one day live to see the intentions of this day realized entirely, and a deep heartfelt thank you to all of those who keep fighting for it. I hope you all kick ass today… like a girl.