90 years ago, women were (finally) given the right to vote.
Suffragists started advocating for the vote just after the Civil War, in what was for many women a continuation of the campaign to end slavery. More than fifty years after the end of the war, the government finally decided that women were citizens, and altered the Constitution accordingly. A radical act, right? Deciding that women could participate in the political life of their country?
Anti-suffragists claimed, among other things, that women might cheat in elections by stashing extra ballots in their puffy-sleeved blouses; confusingly, they also claimed that women were far too child-like to be responsible voters:
Let’s ignore the weirdness of this doll-faced child talking about her husband, shall we? Here’s another, much more direct anti-suffrage poster:
Now, with almost a century of hindsight, these arguments look ridiculous to us; it’s easy to forget how terrified anti-suffragists were about moving away from the status quo. We should stay the way we are because that’s the way it’s always been. Change is bad (unless we’re talking about that pesky 14th amendment, right Mr. Boehner?)
Hmm… women voting is a menace to the home…
and homosexual sex is a menace to national security.
How would that happen, exactly? A woman has sex with a woman and suddenly the entire military-industrial complex goes into a state of cardiac arrest? Yowza.
So on this 90th anniversary of women shouting loudly in order to be heard, here’s hoping that we won’t have to wait fifty years for signs like this to be tossed on the scrap heap of history.
Happy Birthday, Amendment 19.