American Woman

Today I was going to talk to you about DIY chandeliers, but since mine shorted out last night and shot sparks from the ceiling (that was awesome) I’m reposing an edited version of my yearly soapbox. Because it matters.

If there’s one thing that this website has taught me over the last eight years, it’s that I have a lot more gray hair than I did when I was 23. Thank you, houses. Oh, and also that the world is full of awesome women.  (And dudes, you guys are awesome too, don’t get me wrong. I love you and your ability to grow facial hair, but this post is mostly for my girls.)

So listen ladies, I’m a “live and let live” kind of girl. In most cases I don’t care what you do or don’t do. I mean, yes, I think all of you should own lots of power tools and never feel like you have to wait around for a guy to help you change a light fixture or hang a picture because, hey, you have two hands and a brain, and there’s nothing you can’t do. But you may think I should do things like laundry and dishes— and most days I would rather give myself a paper cut on my eyeball than spend time cleaning—so, you know, to each her own.

And honestly, I don’t much care for politics in general. I don’t care about your political affiliation, the skin color of the president, or what party has how many seats in Congress. Mostly I just want to be able to carry my gun, do with my body as I please, and ban cigarettes from every possible public venue so that it’s less likely I’ll find myself in jail because some dude standing next to me blew smoke in my direction and I punched him in the face. I don’t feel like this is too much to ask for.

The truth is, I’m your typical lazy American. I’m not passionate about politics, political parities, or causes. But regardless, I will tell you what I do at every chance I get: I vote.

You know why?

When my great-grandmother was born, women couldn’t vote. They staged protests, they picketed in front of the White House, they were thrown in jail to “teach them a lesson”, they were beaten, and, let me tell you, I get pissy if I have to skip lunch some days but these women were so committed to equality that they starved themselves for days, were locked in insane asylums, had feeding tubes jammed forcibly down their throats… just so that we could have a say.

The country didn’t just wake up one day and say, oh, hey, women are smart enough to make decisions in this country, let’s give them that right… Instead a lot of strong, brave women had to stand up and fight. All I’m saying is… if a hundred years ago women spent weeks in jail starving themselves and being force fed to gain the right for you to vote, you can take 15 minutes out of your day to use the voice they gave you. Because it wasn’t easy.

While locked up in jail for protesting in front of the White House, Doris Stevens wrote this:

Our thoughts turn to the outside world. Will the women care? Will enough women believe that through such humiliation all may win freedom? Will they believe that through our imprisonment their slavery will be lifted the sooner?

I’ll tell you what… I do.

For a lesson in not taking our civil liberties for granted, read Doris Steven’s book Jailed for Freedom for free on Google books.

21 Responses

  1. Bravo! I watched a show about this on the History channel and it was very moving. I asked everyone at work today if they had voted or were planning to and gave them crap if they said “no.”

    Oh and I couldn’t agree with statement more:
    Mostly I just want to be able to carry my gun, do with my body as I please, and ban cigarettes from every possible public venue so I can breathe fresh air whenever I damn well please.

  2. No, no guns, no, no, no. Even so, I did vote yesterday and voted for my candidates. Thank god the opposition didn’t win governor or senator. Nationwide, I’m in the soup pretty much. But I did my part. And you are very right about what people went through to get the vote, although I speak as a white male. Interestingly enough, I am currently reading a biography on Martin Luther King, Jr. I actually lived through that time of lunch counter sit-ins and voter registration movements, but I was born and raised in Montana, and I had no idea of the depth of degradation black people went through in the South at that time.

  3. Thank you! So glad to hear this. I’m all about freedome and liberty and letting people have theirs. Unfortuantely, there’s many people who would take other’s freedom away. We have had to fight for it in the past and continue to have to fight. Maybe not with a gun or sword, but with who we listen to and who we vote for.

  4. From the picture, I think he’s jamming that down her nose, actually. Women died from force feeding.

  5. I voted and consider it a privilege. Many people would love to have the freedom we have to choose our country’s leader.

    1. I’m going to steal your last paragraph for my Facebook page and zing a few lazy people. Hoping you don’t mind!

  6. Thank you. Very well put. I got up early this morning to vote. Because I have the right to!

  7. Thank you! Well said and ever so thoughtful. You are awesome with power tools and amazing with written words!

  8. I spent most of yesterday trying to convince people to vote. True that I had hopes they would vote for the candidate I was volunteering for, but mostly just to vote.

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I'm not interested in a mediocre life. I'm here to kick ass or die.