My only problem with this pleasantly mad-cap idea is that it seems to focus on friendships between ladies…
That’s a word with too many associations for me as a long-recovering ex-Southerner.
It’s not only a word, it’s a straight jacket.
Ladies don’t use bad words.
Ladies don’t sit with their knees apart.
Ladies are not likely to use the word “vagina” in ordinary conversation.
Not so long ago, ladies didn’t ride horseback astride or compete in athletics that might make them sweat unbecomingly (or swear). The rule was: “Horses sweat, men perspire, and ladies glow.”
Another rule: a lady’s name only appears in a newspaper when she is born, when she marries, and when she dies.
Not a word to celebrate with a special day, although if it is only for ladies (if there are any), that might reassure some.
Now, as for “gals” which is what is in the title, after all: they are likely to be rowdy, maybe lower class, and certainly unaware of the restrictions above…
I doubt if Susan B. Anthony, who was born February 15, 1820, in Adams, Mass. worried much about being a lady, although like all the early fighters for women’s liberation she was careful to dress in the accepted, late-Victorian way—which was in itself a constriction of free movements, with corsets and voluminous skirts.Her long friendship with the other leading feminist of her time, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, gave them both the strength and support to carry on the struggle for votes for women, torpedoed when the fourteenth amendment to the constitution was made to include the word “male” by the U.S Senate in 1887.
But the two women went on fighting, something we all need to remember as the record number of women in Congress and all across New Mexico face the inevitable backlash.
Anthony’s home, on Madison Avenue in Rochester, New York, is not a museum, although it played a crucial role in her early life when she mortgaged it to pay for her attendance at the University of Rochester—which barred women.
We have, instead, The Women’s Rights National Monument in Seneca Falls, New York, “The Center of the Revolution.” When I visited it, the pretty white farmhouse was imbued with the spirit of these two women, whose fifty-year friendship, aided by Lucretia Mott and others, created the possibility of the equality on all fronts we sometimes enjoy today.
Burdened with seven children and all the housework, Stanton wrote in her autobiography, “The general discontent I felt at the women’s role of wife, mother, housekeeper, physician and spiritual guide, and the chaotic conditions into which everything fell without constant supervision, impressed me with a strange feeling that some active measures should be taken to remedy the wrongs…of women.”
The active measures proved to be these two women’s life-long organizing and writing about the situation so familiar to us today: women expected to be and do everything. The vote might provide a way out.
Because Stanton’s heavy family responsibilities kept her tied to her house, she became the writer of the speeches Anthony traveled the country to give.
As Stanton said of her life-long friend and fellow fighter, “I forged the thunderbolts and she fired them.”
Take that, ladies.