Sarah & Angelina Grimké, 1837: The power of a compelling story

The Grimké Sisters DNGAF at a time when NGAF could ruin a woman’s life in no shortage of ways. I’d already set these women on my shelf of revered feminists after reading “The Invention of Wings,” a fictionalized account of their lives as abolitionists and feminists by Sue Monk Kidd. A new theme about their story emerged for me, however, in their short (non-fictionalized) entry in “What Every American Should Know About Women’s History.” It turns out that one of the biggest audacities of their audacious lives was lecturing to same-sex audiences on abolitionism.

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Women, fear culture and a thousand guts

Let’s talk about fear, shall we? I want to talk about fear because I’m tired of it. I’m tired of being afraid, and I’m tired of watching other women and girls be intimidated. We have a culture so laced with intimidation norms that we are often cornered by fear without even fully realizing it.

It happens every day on scales large and small. It’s the small scale ones, I think, that are the most powerful. When women are obviously and broadly discriminated against, we have strength in numbers. We can fight against it. It’s not so easy on smaller, more nuanced scale. For example, we learned this week that a majority of men resent it when their wives are more successful than they are. While the study is a large, glaring piece of evidence of emotional discrimination, how do you think that resentment manifests itself inside a marriage? I imagine it’s subtle, the way husbands express their displeasure with their wives’ success. I imagine each wife feels sorry for her husband and gradually backs off of her upward movement in the interest of her marriage.

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Know your story, then own it

I’ve been on a bit of a feminist streak lately. No, that’s not the right way to put it. Rather, I’ve recently more fully discovered my voice as a feminist, which has allowed me to better articulate feelings I’ve always had, as a result of navigating through the world as a woman who was raised without even the suggestion that my opportunities, talents, intelligence or place in the world were tied in any way to my gender.

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