“Well-behaved women rarely make history”

I’m just going to quote BlackAmazon’s response to that quote:

To believe that your behavior will change history as we accept it is to have a grounded belief that history will treat you fairly.

Read it all.


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3 comments for ““Well-behaved women rarely make history”

  1. Betsy
    November 6, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    I left this comment there too, but…
    This doesn’t take away from the power or rightness of the post, because you are absolutely correct that that is how MOST people use/interpret the quote.

    But it was actually not meant that way. It was written by a historian, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, in the context of recovering the history of those “well behaved women” (at least the ones from the 17th and 18th centuries) – the ones who don’t come up in court records or newspapers, because they’ve behaved as they were “supposed to.” Her point was that they traditionally didn’t leave as obvious records, but that their history was worth recovering too. It’s been reinterpreted as a call to misbehave, but that wasn’t her point. And though I shouldn’t put words in her mouth, I would guess that she would understand that one’s individual behavior or misbehavior can’t always (or even often) change history.

  2. November 7, 2007 at 1:41 am

    Hey, that’s a bumper sitcker on Facebook! I have that bumper sticker.

  3. November 7, 2007 at 10:12 am

    I guess I’ll be making lots of history, given that I am the least well-behaved person I know.

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