I’m a forgetful feminist; I didn’t post yesterday to celebrate the beginning of Women’s History Month. It’s a sad commentary on our society that we need to set aside a specific month for honoring women instead of including them in the history books alongside men. Without women, there wouldn’t be history for us to study. Without women, none of us would be where we are today. So for the next few weeks, I’m going to try to post a little snippet each day about amazing women. Feel free to respond with your own favorite women and heroines.
Today I want to recognize the women whom I credit with introducing me to feminism. Samantha Blackmon taught a gender and literature class at Purdue University in the summer of 2002 that completely changed the way I look at the world. We studied several texts that summer, but the one that has stuck with me all these years and that I urge others to read is “Egalia’s Daughters: A Satire of the Sexes” by Norwegian writer Gerd Brantenberg. It takes conventional gender norms and turns them upside down: Women are the dominant rulers of society, men are the ones who stay home with the kids and dress in a feminine manner in order to attract their wives. It really opened my eyes to how traditions that seem natural are totally constructed, such as going to prom to find a mate.
Thank you, Samantha and Gerd, for the enlightenment that has forever changed my life. Who are some women in history whom you especially admire?