Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Frances Gage: Feminist of the Day

Frances D. Gage
Abolitionist, writer, activist
"I was born a mechanic, and made a barrel before I was ten years old. My father looked at it and said, “What a pity that you were not born a boy so that you could be good for something. Run into the house, child, and go to knitting."

I’d never heard of Frances Gage before today, but her quote, and her potted biography made her sound like my kind of woman. I find so much to admire in abolitionist, feminist women. They were breaking so many taboos just to fight against slavery, and they took the fight further.

Even though religion matters so little to me that most of the time I can’t even be bothered calling myself an atheist, I really like reading about people who were activists because of their faith. To be someone who felt like that drive came from deep within, and from without. I don’t quite understand, but it’s pretty cool.

To me to really be considered a feminist you have to fight for women, it’s not enough to be a cool woman or in your own right, or to hold feminist views and mention them occasionally, if you’re not agitating, organising, educating, resisting and the rest, then it doesn’t mean that much. I would consider any woman in the abolitionist movement feminist, because they were fighting for women.

I have a very long feminist analysis of the temperance movement – but I think I’ll save it for another Frances (Willard – in case you were wondering)

Conclusion: Abolitionist, feminist, and the quote makes her sound like Kaylee. What’s not to love?

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