“The women played an important part in settling North America…”

Here’s a bold and reassuring beginning. Most of the names that have come down to us as original settlers, movers, and shakers (not necessarily Shakers) have been male, but women played an important part. Here’s how:

“They were an encouragement for the men to live there.”

What was he thinking? Surely he wasn’t picturing a street in Amsterdam with ladies of pleasure sitting in windows as an attraction to come inside (sorry for the double entendre), or sending broadsheets (sorry again) with Lonely Hearts pictures home. Perhaps he thought the men of the time were more than normally timid, and knowing that women were living in North America and doing all right encouraged them to buck up (sorry again!) and ship out to come over?

Forget all the work in the fields, all the cooking and food-preservation work, all the child-bearing and child-rearing, all the patient counsel and planning, all the full participation in the teamwork necessary to establish and maintain households and communities. In none of that, evidently, was women’s participation particularly important. No, they were the man-magnets.

Now, there’s a calling in life!

Of course this was all Back Then, in the days of Yore. Time has passed.

Work is obviously still needed, though, in the consciousness-raising part of the Feminist movement. Must we leave it to the men, while we apply makeup and don sexy underwear to keep them around long enough to raise some consciousnesses? But if that’s our approach, what consciousness will there be to raise?

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About RAB

Teacher of English writing and literature (college-level); academic-freedom activist; editor and copy editor; theater director, costumer, actress, playwright. View all posts by RAB

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