Seneca Falls

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Last week I got to make a pilgrimage to Seneca Falls, NY with fellow contributor Spunky, my boyfriend, and a friend of Spunky. I say pilgrimage because that is exactly what it was; Seneca Falls was arguably the birth-place of the suffrage movement in the United States.

It was here that Elizabeth Cady Stanton, committed social activist, created the first women’s voting rights organization in the U. S. She, along with other like-minded women, organized the Seneca FaIls Convention in 1848. They laid out goals for their movement, including female suffrage. It was the first meeting of it’s kind in the States.

It was on the streets of the town that Elizabeth was introduced to Susan B. Anthony; the two would go on to work tirelessly for women’s rights.

It was in Seneca Falls that Amelia Bloomer first advocated for lady-pants in an effort to literally lighten the load on women. Away with those heavy, restricting skirts!

Bloomer

As we were talking and reading about these strong women someone wondered whom feminists in the future will be remembering, and what victories they will celebrate.

I have been thinking about that ever since. I know that first wave feminism was not perfect. The current iterations (whichever version you ascribe to…third wave, intersectional, cultural, evolutionary, radical, socialist, sex positive…wow, there are a lot of them) are not perfect, either. But ultimately we are all still working for the social and political equality of women.

I have been discouraged lately with my own clumsy attempts to further the cause (sometimes it seems I do more harm than good); I have been discouraged watching the vitriol with which the feminists in my life have sometimes attacked each other; I have felt disenchanted with the whole endeavor, which seems to not be making much headway.

So my question today is this: What wins, large or small, have you witnessed lately? What recent history can we celebrate?

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7 Responses

  1. Rachel says:

    I really appreciated reading this post. A few Mormon feminist wins include women praying in General Conference, women serving missions at 19, women serving on more general boards, women outside of Utah (and even out of the country) serving on the Young Women General Board, the Priesthood Session being broadcast online live, etc. I’ll be thinking about more general feminist wins, too.

  2. Jenny says:

    I love this post because I’ve been feeling the same way lately. What a beautiful experience for you to be able to go on your pilgrimage! I think my favorite feminist win has been watching the conversation open up. I love the fact that it is starting to be okay to talk about women’s needs in the church. I especially love it when friends who don’t identify as feminists come to me and say, “I noticed this inequality…”

  3. Liz says:

    I’ve seen lots in my own life – more people standing up for women, more people concerned with women’s rights. I think it’s becoming a bit more “fashionable” to be a feminist lately, at least among my family and friends. I’m so jealous of this pilgrimage – I’m putting Seneca Falls on my “someday road trip” list – it looks amazing!

  4. Ron says:

    You know this website is an echo chamber.
    I loved your post.
    It really resonated with me.

  5. Big L says:

    I live 20 miles south of Seneca Falls. So sorry I missed you guys.

  6. Caroline says:

    Jealous of your trip to Seneca Falls!

    As for wins… a big one that I have personally experienced and seen is more and more Mormon women throwing off injunctions against women blessing and healing. Such a spiritually powerful thing to see women give these blessings.

  7. Seneca Falls sounds wonderful!

    A Mormon policy win that was really meaningful to me was an end to the ban on mothers as seminary and institute teachers.

    Also, only a few years back, I remember news stories about the disappearance of Mormon feminism. I don’t think anyone would imagine that Mormon feminists have disappeared today and I see our reappearance from obscurity as a win.

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