Skip to main content

Feminist Parenting: Teaching History

As many of you know, I named my daughter after Elizabeth Cady Stanton. This wasn't in pure ignorance of Stanton's racist and classist argument for women getting the vote before Black men. It was rather in recognition of her igniting a movement that still lives today and brought us, women & men, so much. This spring she had to pick a topic for a research project. She picked three topics and her teacher chose Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

This weekend we were filling out the information sheets that make up her project and reading through the two books she has on Stanton & suffrage when she asked the $64,000 question. "She wanted everyone to be equal right?"

I've never had any thought of telling her about Stanton thru rose colored glasses. Far from it. I guess I didn't think she'd bring up the equality question. But I should have known better.

Luckily one of the books she has is If You Lived When Women Won Their Rights by Anne Kamma. In it one of the questions is about why Stanton and others were upset after the Civil War and the Constitution would be changed only for men. It handles it pretty well by previously discussing how most of the suffragists were also abolitionists and how Sojourner Truth was upset as well. I added in that Stanton also felt it wasn't right that uneducated men would be allowed to vote before educated women like her.

The kid was shocked.

And I didn't even think to touch on Stanton & Anthony's partnership with racists in the West. But we did discuss, after her daddy mentioned it, that back in that time, the only people who really could afford to be educated were people with money. She was then quite offended that she was named after Stanton and said, "I think I'll just think that I was named after the Queen Elizabeth."

Her dad & I laughed as I said, "Oh, mija, if you think what Elizabeth Cady Stanton did was bad, just wait till you learn about Queens."

I went into how everyone, Mom and Dad, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Martin Luther King Jr. are all human beings. No one is perfect. 

I don't remember how we got back to her actual homework assignment, but we did. I know while the conversation is over for now, she's thinking about what she discovered.

And then I started to ponder how much harder it might be to tell her about my own failings one day.

This parenting thing is hard peeps. Really.

Clarification:  Other reasons that went into choosing the name Elizabeth included Elizabeth Bradford from Eight is Enough (yes, seriously), that Elizabeth is a versatile name, that Elizabeth is a strong name and that Elizabeth can be shortened to Buffy.


Shannon Drury said…
Elizabeth is the name of the elegant young royal who discovers that her toughness and intelligence are better than gowns (or a prince!) in "The Paper Bag Princess." A VERY good role model, I think.
Veronica said…
Ah, yes...The kid loved finding that out.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter

Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter by Brea Grant My rating: 4 of 5 stars View all my reviews

Frederick, A Virtual Puppet Performance - Read by Michael Shannon

WOW...this is my first post during the Coronavirus pandemic! I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. Thanks to the Chicago Children’s Theatre, the city’s largest professional theater devoted exclusively to children and families, for launching a new YouTube channel, CCTv: Virtual Theatre and Learning from Chicago Children’s Theatre. To kick if off we are treated to Frederick. Here's hoping this helps with your little ones. Or is a comfort to everyone of all ages. Chicago Children’s Theatre’s all-new virtual puppet performance was created while all of the artists were sheltering in place, working with resources limited to what they had in their homes or on their laptops. Frederick is directed by CCT Co-Founder and Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell. Puppets and sets were designed, built and puppeteered in a home studio by Grace Needlman and Will Bishop, CCT’s Director of Production, the creative team behind CCT’s annual series of Beatrix Potter puppet show

Book Review: Wolfpack by Abby Wambach

Less than a year ago, Abby Wambach took the stage at Barnard's commencement and gave a speech that shook many, including myself, to the core . Her speech went viral and I made the above image in order to share the highlights of her speech. Earlier this month Abby released the speech in book form. Wolfpack : How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game is short (less than 100 pages) but is much more than just her speech . You get a peek into how the speech came together and why she said everything. And because the book is short and is an expanded speech, it moves quickly. I feel that it moves with the same ferocity that Abby use to move down a soccer field. And you might find yourself cheering as she takes you through the story. Abby has always been one of my favorite players. The way she ran amok on the pitch was exactly the way I felt I played sports. Never caring how you looked and giving it your all. Leaving it all on the field. When she retired from socc