Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dissin' Well Behaved

A recent traffic jam resulting in the time and opportunity to read a rather disturbing bumper sticker:
Well behaved women rarely make history
It should be noted this sticker wasn't actually ON the bumper but was instead affixed to the driver's side just below the back window--'twas an Ess-You-Vee. In the "no surprises" category was the driver. A female, no additional description needed. Your imagination will suffice.

Now many things are impossible to know from these chance near encounters. Might not have been the owner driving. Might have been a gift from a friend or loved one, which might explain the location. But it is much more interesting to jump to conclusions. To wit, that for a woman to make a significant impact she must be at least as big an asshole as any man might be in her situation. Additionally one might assume that the owner/driver of a 10 year old SUV isn't about the daily business of "makin' HIStory". Just isn't very likely. Probably just another asshole looking for a PC justification.

While that was fun, perhaps the bumper sticker, and the mentality behind it should be taken at face value. Is it true?


Sara Teasdale
Edith Head
Gracie Allen
Grandma Moses
Georgia O'Keefe
Beatrice Potter Web
Katherine Dunham
Emily Post
Leontyne Price
Doris Day
Mother Teresa
Laura Bush
Hillary Clinton
Elizabeth Browning
Edna Millay
Michele Obama
Eleanor Roosevelt
Sonja Sotomayor
Ruth Ginsberg
Sandra Day O'Connor
Shirley Temple Black
Golda Meir
Oprah Winfrey
Angela Merkel
Margaret Thatcher
Ruth Gordon
Reba McEntire
Dolly Parton
Barbara Stanwyck
Joyce Brothers
Clara Barton
Elizabeth Kenny
Marie Curie
Grace Hopper
Ann Landers
Rachel Carson
Ada Lovelace
Indira Ghandi
Benazir Bhuto
Maya Angelo
Niki Giovanni
Twyla Tharpe
Ana Pavlova
Pearl Buck
Ariel Durant
Edna Ferber
Judith Viorst
Abigal Adams
Barbara Jordon
Maria Shriver
Christiane Amanpour
Barbara Kingsolver
Meave Benchy
Helen Hayes
Marlene Deitrich
Sojourner Truth
Ayn Rand
Juliet Gordon Low
Harper Lee
M. Bethan McLeod
Amelia Erhart
Julia Child
Diane Fossey
Jane Goddard
Margaret Meade
Audrey Hepburn
Babe Zaharias
Julia Ward Howe
Florence Nightingale
Maria Montessori
Anne Sullivan
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Beverly Sills
Carol Burnett
Hattie McDaniel

There are probably many, many more. You may argue with specifics of the list, time frames and what constitutes "rarely" or "well behaved". But it should be clear. Women do not have to be hysterical to make history. The bumper sticker is wrong and so is the sentiment behind it.