This Independence Day I went to my town’s parade, a typical part of my Independence Day celebrations. There was a fly-by featuring two old airplanes I know nothing about (I admire aviatrixes but am not one myself). There were old cars hauling the city governmental officials. There were marching bands. There was a Baptist choir (a great new addition). There was a boat float (puns!) featuring flags of other nations recognizing the various countries from which we as a nation draw our heritage.
There was also a float depicting important figures from American history. Of ten or so figures filling a borrowed flat-bed trailer, only two were female. Two! One was the Statue of Liberty (not a real woman) and the other was the idealized version of Betsy Ross, thus depicting the beloved and accepted version of woman: A woman who makes history by sewing things. (By the way, sewing is great. I sew costumes and it is loads of fun. Quilters are some of the most talented people around. But guess what? The idea that a woman is acceptable because she portrays that idealized and incomplete version of womanhood is frustrating to say the least.)
So on a float designed to reflect great people from American history, we have a statue woman and a woman who sewed something. That is very limiting. What young girls sitting front row at a parade see matters. I don’t want young girls (or old girls or somewhere-in-between girls) to think their options are limited to being a statue (read: admired as an object) or being glorified for stereotypical homemaking skills.
In response to this float, I had the brilliant idea to have a float in next year’s parade that spotlights women in American history. In preparation for that, and in order to learn new things and share them, I am starting a series on this blog that will feature female historical figures. This series could honestly keep going until I die because there really isn’t a limit to the number of amazing women in American history. I will attempt to include one Revolutionary Woman per month at a minimum.
Stay tuned to learn more about Revolutionary Women.