Friday, October 10, 2008

Let's Make History

I checked out two DVD's from my local library and watched them over the last 2 days. Coincidentally (or maybe not) the videos both turned out to be about women who weren't afraid to speak their mind.

First was Iron Jawed Angels. This movie was a portrayal of the Women who championed the right of women to vote. I remember learning about the "Suffragettes" in history class, but I had no idea what was involved, or the length of time they struggled. Those women really knew what they wanted, and how to articulate it, and didn't stop until they convinced Legislators to vote for the 19th Amendment. "Suffragettes" sounds kind of cute and quaint, like they quilted little banners saying "Let us vote!" and used their feminine wiles to get the men to let them go to the polls. That word doesn't begin to cover the persecution, disgrace, imprisonment and abuse which they faced, and faced with courage. The character of the psychiatrist in the movie had a great line: "Courage is often mistaken for insanity in women." This movie inspired me to have the courage to be a little crazy!

The next movie I watched was Shut Up and Sing. This one is about the Dixie Chicks and the experience they had after making a statement about George Bush and the Iraq War which offended their fan base. The American people and the news media basically made them into "traitors" and "unpatriotic", boycotted their music on the radio and had gatherings to destroy their CD's. Now, what was that part about Freedom of Speech? Doesn't that apply to everyone? Even Country singers with an opinion? Seeing this documentary a few years after the fact is interesting. Interesting, but no less upsetting to me. Again, more women with courage to speak out and bear the consequences, and come back with class.

I saw a little cross-stitched sign in a gift shop once that said

"Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History"

And while I don't currently have any plans to picket anyone, nor to stand before the world and speak out right now, these movies remind me that it is better to have a strong opinion and stand for it than to be complacent and quiet. Where would we be if women hadn't been willing to do that? There certainly wouldn't be the demographic of "Undecided Female Voters".

And for the record...Natalie Maines was right.

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