When a benefit is suggested for men, the question asked is: "Will it benefit men?" When a benefit is suggested for women, the question is: "Will it benefit men?"
January 20, 2012 9:22 AM   Subscribe

Are Women People? A writer for The Hairpin discovers the satirical poetry of Alice Duer Miller.
posted by flex (44 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Lili Loofbourow, eh? That is clearly a pseudonym. I mean, just look at the alliteration.

We all know that article was actually written by Liz Lemon.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 9:33 AM on January 20, 2012


A BOOK OF RHYMES FOR SUFFRAGE TIMES.

That's Alice for you, keeping that shit real.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:35 AM on January 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Neat article. I knew (and know) shamefully little about the suffrage movement so it was neat to go through the experience with the author.

It really drives home for me a simple point, yet one that I often tend to overlook: In all of human history, has there ever been a stance against granting equal rights to a minority group that hasn't looked hopelessly, ridiculously small-minded and wrong-headed in retrospect? Is there any chance whatsoever that anti-gay advocates won't look like complete dunces in 100 years?
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 9:37 AM on January 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Depends, these "women" that you speak of, are they a giant multi-national willing to donate millions to my super-pac?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:39 AM on January 20, 2012


There, little girl, don't read,
You're fond of your books, I know,
But Brother might mope
If he had no hope
Of getting ahead of you.
It's dull for a boy who cannot lead.
There, little girl, don't read.

I know that it's satire, but it still makes my eye twitch.
posted by Elly Vortex at 9:41 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why We Oppose Pockets for Women

Awesome.
posted by ambrosia at 9:43 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"A Feminist, my daughter,
Is any woman now who cares
To think about her own affairs
As men don't think she oughter."


Love it.

Of course, Alice Duer Miller's picture on the wiki page does remind me of this muppet.
posted by daisystomper at 9:48 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there any chance whatsoever that anti-gay advocates won't look like complete dunces in 100 years?

I don't know about anti-gay advocates. But there is a chance that in a hundred years we'll all be dead because we cavalierly fooled around with our societal structure based on, what, the fact that we're so much smarter and know so much more about human nature and what works and doesn't work than all those idiots 50 years ago and earlier? I don't know how to estimate the probability of that, but I know it's not zero, and nobody will look like a dunce if we're all dead.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:53 AM on January 20, 2012


*blinks* Did i just see somebody on Metafilter seriously state that advancing civil rights might cause the downfall of civilization?
posted by kmz at 9:56 AM on January 20, 2012 [19 favorites]


But there is a chance that in a hundred years we'll all be dead because we cavalierly fooled around with our societal structure

There are a lot of things that we might cavalierly fool around with that will lead to us all being dead in 100 years, but our societal structure can't be higher than number 37 on that list.
posted by ambrosia at 9:57 AM on January 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


cavalierly fooled around with our societal structure

What does this mean? (I'm being serious, not snarky. I do not understand what you are saying.)
posted by rtha at 10:01 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I mean, I assume there's a near-100% chance that I'll be dead in a hundred years, and probably most current MeFites will be as well. I suspect old age rather than civil rights will be the cause of that.

Can you point me to an example of expanded liberties for people causing the downfall of civilization? Forced emancipation of slaves in the US south didn't cause a downfall of that civilization, for example.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:05 AM on January 20, 2012


Did i just see somebody on Metafilter seriously state that advancing civil rights might cause the downfall of civilization?

Yeah... I'm going to skip this one...

BUT, I will say the rhythmic repetition and simple rhyme structure of some of those poems would probably sound really good set to music. I personally would pass "Women" on to any singer song-writer I knew... If I knew singer song-writers, that is...
posted by midmarch snowman at 10:07 AM on January 20, 2012


It looks like Crabby Appleton forgot to add the hamburger tag.
posted by LN at 10:08 AM on January 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I vaguely recall some very strong women (Annie Sullivan, Laura Ingalls Wilder) who were not enthusiastic about women voting, mostly, IIRC, because they found politics boring and were glad to leave the thinking about it to men.
posted by Melismata at 10:08 AM on January 20, 2012


But there is a chance that in a hundred years we'll all be dead because we cavalierly fooled around with our societal structure based on, what, the fact that we're so much smarter and know so much more about human nature and what works and doesn't work than all those idiots 50 years ago and earlier?

Your mistake is in thinking that only those who advocate for greater freedom and equality are the only ones fooling around with our societal structure.
posted by clockzero at 10:10 AM on January 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


These little rhymes are wonderful. The argument against pockets is particularly amusing. I feel like I've run into that set of arguments over and over and over. And not just about pockets.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:12 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just this week, during an NPR piece on the lack of women in the new Egyptian parliament, a woman described as an activist, a woman who herself ran for parliament, answered the question "will Egypt ever have a female president?" with "I don't think so, I think the hard work needs to be done by men."
posted by kinnakeet at 10:13 AM on January 20, 2012


I like this one. I think the anticapitalist movement should adopt it as an anthem.

A Suggested Campaign Song ("No brass bands. No speeches. Instead a still, silent, effective influence." —Anti-suffrage speech.)

We are waging—can you doubt it?
A campaign so calm and still
No one knows a thing about it,
And we hope they never will.

No one knows
What we oppose,
And we hope they never will.

We are ladylike and quiet,
Here a whisper—there a hint;
Never speeches, bands or riot,
Nothing suitable for print.

No one knows
What we oppose,
For we never speak for print.

Sometimes in profound seclusion,
In some far (but homelike) spot,
We will make a dark allusion:
"We're opposed to you-know-what."

No one knows
What we oppose,
For we call it "You-Know-What."
posted by Acheman at 10:26 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is Azza al Garf Egypt’s Michele Bachmann? Dunno if kinnakeet's quote was from her but it sounds about right.
posted by XMLicious at 10:27 AM on January 20, 2012


I love that it was already a thing to mock the Times in 1915.
posted by brina at 10:34 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


What does this mean? (I'm being serious, not snarky. I do not understand what you are saying.)

Which part isn't clear, rtha?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:46 AM on January 20, 2012


The part that starts with "I" and ends with "dead."
posted by superfluousm at 10:50 AM on January 20, 2012


Will it benefit Alice Cooper?
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 10:52 AM on January 20, 2012


I am genuinely curious by what mechanism granting, say, marriage rights to gay couples would directly cause the deaths of everyone in our society. Seriously. I'm racking my brain now, and kind of amusing myself with the possibilities.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 10:53 AM on January 20, 2012


It's not that hard to understand. Same-sex marriage is obviously much more fabulous than opposite-sex marriage, and if it were legal to do so, everyone would abandon their opposite-sex spouses overnight and start having all the gay sex they've been wanting to have all these years but couldn't because society didn't condone it. Nobody would be having procreative sex any more, so this generation would be the last. Ever. And all because those sinners who _say_ they're gay opened the floodgates for everyone else, who's in the closet like God intended.
posted by hades at 10:59 AM on January 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


I want to go back in time and high-five her.

I don't know why, but as I get older I'm somehow more shocked by the unbelievable bullshit attitudes that were (and still are) commonly held about women's rights as human beings.
posted by missix at 11:03 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Also, isn't it interesting how discussions of women's rights so often get derailed into discussions of gay rights? I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that GBLT rights can affect men directly, but not so much women's rights.)
posted by hades at 11:03 AM on January 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


I wouldn't call the evolution of rights for various groups (The "common man", women, different races, religions, sexual preferences, and so on) over the course of hundreds of years to be "cavalier". I mean, the Magna Carta was issued in 1215. Freedom of religion was made law through the Bill of Rights in 1791. Slavery ended in 1865. Society didn't exactly stay the same for several thousand years and then suddenly shift in the middle of the twentieth century. Ancient Greek philosophers were arguing about equal rights issues.
posted by UrbanEye at 11:15 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


UrbanEye: Ancient Greek philosophers were arguing about equal rights issues.

and the Cynics were right all along
posted by idiopath at 11:40 AM on January 20, 2012


Which part isn't clear, rtha?

All of it? I confess that I dropped half a cup of coffee all over the floor (thanks, cat), so I may be undercaffeinated, but I don't understand what you mean when you say we may all be dead because of the fooling around with societal structure we are doing.

So, specifically:

Which societal structure(s)?

Who is doing the fooling around with?

In what way is this fooling happening?

How is this particular fooling you have in mind - which I hope you will make explicit - so much more catastrophic than other forms have fooling around with that have taken place in history that it might kill us in 100 years?
posted by rtha at 11:42 AM on January 20, 2012


"the mere fact that [Cynic philosopher] Hipparchia adopted male clothes and lived on equal terms with her husband would have been enough to shock Athenian society."
posted by idiopath at 11:44 AM on January 20, 2012


But there is a chance that in a hundred years we'll all be dead because we cavalierly fooled around with our societal structure based on, what, the fact that we're so much smarter and know so much more about human nature and what works and doesn't work than all those idiots 50 years ago and earlier? I don't know how to estimate the probability of that, but I know it's not zero, and nobody will look like a dunce if we're all dead.

So it's back to witch-burning then, just to be safe? A wise decision. I'll start gathering firewood.
posted by LordSludge at 12:20 PM on January 20, 2012


the fact that we're so much smarter and know so much more about human nature and what works and doesn't work than all those idiots 50 years ago and earlier

Keep in mind that major technological break throughs matter- ancient romans, medeval chinese, neolithic hunters and whatever didn't have mass production, fresh produce year round (unless they lived tropically), mass communication, sanitation... And importantly going on about seventy years ago now, they didn't have broad access to reliable contraceptives. Certain parts of the world still don't, but policing your morals based on a society that has to cope with horrendous maternal death during child birth (the idea that you don't fuck nice girls slides into perspective that fucking her may kill her in nine months) and babies coming out of your ears while you live in a one room mud hut with your mother in law with makes as little sense as wearing a sword to work because hey... police protection might be a mistake, it's a relatively new cultural adaption.

Nevermind the number of cultures where homosexuality was normal, all around the world depending on your time period.
posted by Phalene at 12:29 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


There, little girl, don't read,
You're fond of your books, I know,
But Brother might mope
If he had no hope
Of getting ahead of you.
It's dull for a boy who cannot lead.
There, little girl, don't read.

I know that it's satire, but it still makes my eye twitch.


It would probably make your eye twitch more to know that there are people still freaking out whenever boys drop behind girls in any kind of school achievement, and we get stories like WILL MEN BE OBSOLETE? ARE WOMEN SURPASSING THEM? WHAT WILL THIS MEAN FOR HUMANITY???! when it's just, you know, a group of girls doing well at math for a change and going to college.
posted by emjaybee at 12:38 PM on January 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Chivalry:

It's treating a woman politely
As long as she isn't a fright:
It's guarding the girls who act rightly,
If you can be judge of what's right;
It's being—not just, but so pleasant;
It's tipping while wages are low;
It's making a beautiful present,
And failing to pay what you owe.


Yowch.. now THAT'S a pointed indictment of the 'nice face' patriarchy if'n ever I've heard it. Me, I've always liked the 'polite, self-effacing, helpful' parts of chivalry, but the gender power dynamic is definitely troubling. So now I hold doors for everyone, gender regardless. I also pull out my dude-friends' chairs for them when we go out to dinner, and open car doors for them, just to make it weird.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:39 PM on January 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


in a hundred years we'll all be dead

Not me, I plan to live to at least 160.
posted by Foosnark at 12:50 PM on January 20, 2012




Nobody would be having procreative sex any more, so this generation would be the last.

You laugh, I laugh, but I've heard this argument in real life many times. Literally, "Gay marriage cannot be made legal or acceptable, because if everybody did it, the human race would be doomed." Dumb, dumb, dumb.
posted by LordSludge at 1:24 PM on January 20, 2012


hades: It's not that hard to understand. Same-sex marriage is obviously much more fabulous than opposite-sex marriage, and if it were legal to do so, everyone would abandon their opposite-sex spouses overnight and start having all the gay sex they've been wanting to have all these years but couldn't because society didn't condone it.

You are Orson Scott Card, and I want my five dollars!
posted by happyroach at 1:35 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Channeling Alice:

What if in a hundred years
we'll all be expired
from the cavalier flouting
of accepted desires?

If any could follow
their heart's own hot fire
what unthinkable apocalypse
might possibly transpire?

If the chance is only
one in a googolplex
how reckless to risk all
for one moment of sexysex!

Your body is sacred
so think carefully how you lend it;
dwell on the idea of humanity
and how that could end it.
posted by taz at 1:50 PM on January 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


I wonder how much anti-woman sentiment comes from men who don't realize that they're allowed to sleep with their own gender. Crabby, you do realize, right, that the only people who feel that The Gays and Bis have the power to seduce everybody in the world into non-procreative same-sex relationships are people who don't realize that they themselves are not straight?
posted by Adventurer at 6:44 PM on January 20, 2012


Huh, thanks for this. A good find. I was attracted by the title, because I used to teach my children that 1961 was the year that "women became people." I was trying to help them understand references to sexism that they'd encounter in old books, and as time went on, in old people -- by explaining how very different the world was when women could not control their fertility. Thinking about that now, I don't like the misogynisty sound of what I said, but I still don't think it was an overstatement.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 12:52 AM on January 21, 2012


It's of course nice and flattering to think about all the enlightened ideas that we currently hold, and to think that in a hundred years we will all be vindicated, and all those others will surely look ridiculous and narrow minded.

And I hope so too. But perhaps it would be wiser to ponder, just sometimes and for a moment, about what ideas that we currently hold dear and think as morally superior will look ridiculous and bigoted a hundred years from now on. A much more difficult, and less flattering thing to do.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 2:37 AM on January 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


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