It’s no mystery that history has been written with the accomplishments of men in center stage; however, the women that are included in the mainstream curriculum are, more often than not, misrepresented as being civil and peaceful in order to appear more ladylike and proper. Patriarchal standard confine women to the expectation that they will act in dignified manners, never disregarding the wishes of their male counterparts. When women act against this, men become personally threatened and use their privilege to further erase the legacy of these women. By presenting the strong women of the past in this way, men attempt to keep women of the past, present, and future silent.
Before completing a month long term paper on Alice Paul and the suffragists, I had never heard of the real sacrifice and struggle of fighting for the voting rights of women. Through years of sitting in history class, I had come to assume that the suffrage movement was a small group of women who campaigned with signs here and there and eventually achieved the right to vote. I was completely wrong.
Alice Paul, a young New Jersey quaker at the center of the suffrage movement, was said to have hit Winston Churchill in the face and thrown stones in protest, all in the name of women’s rights. Later, Alice Paul and other members of the National Woman’s Party were arrested and tortured as political prisoners under the Wilson administration. Downplaying what was endured by these important women is both degrading and historically inaccurate. Without the measures taken, women’s suffrage would most likely have never been achieved.
I encourage you to examine what you think you know about women’s movements in history and refer to original sources. You may be surprised by how much misinformation you have absorbed by patriarchal standards being enforced on education. This should not be a problem. Why must men be threatened by militant women?
Men of quality do not fear equality.
Until next post,