Excerpts from Elizabeth Stanton’s address to the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
“Some men tell us we must be patient and persuasive; that we must be womanly. My friends, what is man’s idea of womanliness? Is it to have a manner which pleases him- quiet, deferential, submissive, approaching him as a subject does a master. He wants no self-assertion on our part, no defiance, no vehement arraignment of him as a robber and a criminal …. while every right achieved by the oppressed has been wrung from tyrants by force; while the darkest page on human history is the outrages on women – shall men still tell us to be patient, persuasive and womanly?
What do we know as yet of the womanly? The women we have seen thus far have been, with rare exception, the mere echoes of men. Men has spoken in the State, the Church and the Home, and made the codes, creeds and customs which govern every relation in life, and women have simply echoed all his thoughts and walked in the paths he prescribed. And they call this womanly! When Joan of Arch led the French army to victory I dare say the carpet knights of England thought her unwomanly. When Florence Nightingale, in search of blankets for the soldiers in the Crimean War, cut her way through all the orders and red tape, commanded with vehemence and determination those who guarded the supplies to “unlock the doors and not talk to her of proper authorities when brave men were shivering in their beds,” no doubt she was called unwomanly. To me, “unlock the doors” sounds better than any words of circumlocution, however sweet and persuasive, and I consider that she took the most womanly way of accomplishing her object.
Patience and persuasiveness are beautiful virtues in dealing with children and feeble-minded adults, but those who have the gift of reason and understand the principles of justice, it is our duty to compel to act up to the highest light that is in them, and as promptly as possible…”
-Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Ms. Stanton had the revolutionary fire that, as of late has been sputtering and spitting; hopefully new female leaders can step forth and reanimate the movement and bring back the revolutionary zeal that in 1890’s (and henceforth) got things done.