Love her or hate, support her or not, she gets our vote for GirlMogul of the Day because she was able to put “18 million cracks in the glass ceiling.” Sen Clinton is not afraid to be smart, to be impassioned, and even to shed a tear. She serves as a reminder for what a women can do when she sets her mind to it, a reminder that not all paths to the top are straight, a reminder that though we may want it, we don’t always get what we want, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have tried, for it’s in the trying, sometimes that the most progress is made.
I am going to post something that came to me an email during campaign season, but I think it’s important, that we, as GirlMoguls remember the value of democracy and independence…I don’t know the original author – so if anyone does, please put a comment here. Enjouy your 4th of July and rememer – History is being made…and you are a part of it.
Why women should vote–I needed the reminder.
This is the story of our Grandmothers, and Great-grandmothers, as they lived only 90 years ago. It was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.
The women were innocent and defenseless. And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of “obstructing sidewalk traffic.”
They beat Lucy Burn, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.
Thus unfolded the “Night of Terror” on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson’s White House for the right to vote.
For weeks, the women’s only water came from an open pail. Their food–all of it colorless slop–was infested with worms. When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.
So, refresh my memory. Some women won’t vote this year because–why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn’t matter? It’s raining?
Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO’s new movie “Iron Jawed Angels.” It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.
All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.
My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women’s history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was–with herself. “One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,” she said. “What would those women think of the way I use–or don’t use–my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.” The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her “all over again.”
HBO released the movie on video and DVD. I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum. I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn’t our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.
It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn’t make her crazy.
The doctor admonished the men: “Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.”
Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know.
We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party – remember to vote.
History is being made.
There has been a groundswell feeling that Senator Clinton suffered an unusually high level of media based sexism while running her campaign. A few women’s group and a grass roots campaign of women are calling on the media to review their treatment and admit and correct any mistakes. See the NY Times Article.
I am not a big watcher of cable news or regular news – I heard most of the comments long aster they happened – Chris Matherws calling Sen. Clinton a she devil. Tucker Carlson saying he felt he needed to cross his legs every time he saw her. Now some may argue that it’s not women in general that brought about these comments, but the specific person.
Fine. And while most of us will never be subjected to level of media scrunity that faces a presidential candidate it pays to remember while no one is telling you to go home and iron shirts, that there lots of other, little ways that shape up to sexism – it may be someone else deciding you don’t want the traveling job, it may be that someone (man) doing the same job gets paid more than you do because he has a family to support…it may be laughing at what other’s say and not getting mad about it.
So just remember no matter how far we’ve come ladies and girls, we’re not all the way there. Don’t let anyone count you out.
Check out the Dream Big shirt at www.girlmogul.com
We know one for sure, it won’t be a woman. But that’s ok, because this year the presidental race offers choice, excitement and diversity. But you might want to start prepping your GirlMogul for her generation’s run. Feel free to encourage her ambitions with one of our GirlMogul Future Leader of the Free World shirts — including the GirlMogul character teees.