Erased From History


My wonderful American history professor told us that when he first started teaching in the mid-1990s, a young woman came into his office and asked if they were really going to be reading all of the stuff on the syllabus about women. When he said yes, she started crying for joy. Apparently, his predecessor made quite a show out of deliberately skipping over anything to do with women’s history, and regarded it as useless information since all the important stuff was done by men anyway.

I guess the accomplishments of people like Margaret Sanger, Helen Keller, Alice Paul, and Rachel Carson should just be ignored because it’s Their Fault They’re Female.

B from USA


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15 Responses to “Erased From History”

  1. Alibelle Says:

    Oh, that makes me so happy that you have such a great history professor.

    I’m an Art and History education double major and for a paper we had to write in one of my art classes (who’re supposed to be so progressive) over an artist on a list of over fifty. When looking them all up to select one I found that there were less than 5 female artists on it.

    Yet in my “stuffy” history class I almost started crying with joy myself because on a final I was stressed about almost every extra credit question was about feminist history. Including Margaret Sanger and Betty Friedan.

  2. SkyHawk Says:

    Um, Betsy Ross?

    • Alibelle Says:

      Um, what’s your point? Is it supposed to be that history classes already cover a woman, that woman being Betsy Ross? Or that the OP didn’t list Betsy Ross on her list of women who contributed to American history?

      If the first is the point, then having one female historical figure on the list of figures studied is so not even remotely good enough. Especially since Betsy Ross isn’t often taught in schools and for good reason. She contributed pretty much nothing to American history and the whole she sewed the first American flag thing is largely regarded to be a myth.

      If it’s the second, then the OP was not mentioning female historical figures from the revolution or early American history, so Betsy Ross would never have fit in with the women she listed in the first place. Also is she supposed to mention every female historical figure it would be possible to teach about? Could you not come up with anyone better than Betsy Ross, like Abigail Adams or Sybil Ludington?

      • SkyHawk Says:

        I was just making a point on how ridiculous this previous professor was. Seeing as Betsy Ross helped develop the first American flag.

        Also, I’m sorry I offended you with my gross oversight. Apparently, I can’t have a simple comment without being criticized for not researching it for hours on end and making it suitably lengthy enough to please you.

      • A Different Sam Says:

        If the most notable contribution to American history by a woman that you can think of is that she allegedly sewed the first flag, then you obviously don’t hold much more regard for women in history than the professor in this MFIF post does.

      • sitakali Says:

        Come on guys, leave her alone. Wooow.

    • SkyHawk Says:

      Dammit. It appears that there was too much implied in my comment. I realize this now. Comments are whatever’s on your mind related to the post, right? Betsy Ross was the name I could think of off the top of my head at the moment. Clearly, I must write an essay in order for my comment to pass muster.

      • Uly Says:

        Seriously? “Um, Betsy Ross?” could mean a zillion different things depending on your context. You don’t have to write an essay, but if you want people to understand what you’re getting at, you have to at least say something that makes sense. By itself, “Um, Betsy Ross?” makes about as much sense as “Um, Pumpkin Pie?” Um Betsy Ross WHAT? Um Betsy Ross existed? Um Betsy Ross is taught about? Um Betsy Ross is or isn’t important?

      • sitakali Says:

        lol, I’m surprised at your patience, SkyHawk.

      • Alibelle Says:

        I have to agree with Uly. Once you elaborated on what you meant it made sense. Before you did, it sounded kind of douchey. You don’t need to write much but if you want to be understood a certain way and will get upset if people don’t understand you need more than “Um” which comes off flip with a name and a question mark.

        What I wrote originally in response to your comment was exactly how I read it. I wasn’t just trying to be a douche, I read it as a really rude dimissive comment with what I had to go on.

      • Matt G. Says:

        It could mean a million different things. It’s not your fault people are so quick to take offense.

        It must be a miserable way to go through life, constantly assuming the worst of people.

      • Alibelle Says:

        Yes, Matt, since people on the internet generally instill so much confidence in me and the only other comment by Skyhawk I had seen called a transwoman “fascinating” and said she only gave off a “whiff” of female.

        Oh and most people in real life instill so much confidence too, especially regarding women in history as evidenced by this post which was only about a good professor no mention of anything else of course.

        Assuming the best of everyone I met usually got me frustrated and upset when I found out they were racist, sexist or any other kind of hateful. I find assuming the worst until proven wrong has had some wonderful surprises and I still manage to find wonderful great people without having to take shit from assholes.

        Then again, you know everything right? Because you’re at the top of the privilege pile. Thanks for mansplaining how to live my life since it would be miserable for you and you know everything, I’ll go ahead and change. 😀

  3. Enoon Says:

    History’s well and good, but I wish people like Ada Lovelace, Rosalind Franklin, Marie Curie, and all the other women who made huge impacts on science and technology were given more mention. It always seemed that in history classes, the only women mentioned were the ones who were involved in civil rights movements. I mean, it’s great to see them getting their dues, but that focus only serves to reinforce the stereotype of women only being major figures in social studies.

    • Pavlov's Cat Says:

      I agree. The only time women appear on the history curriculum where I live is when they cover the suffrage movement. So all women did was gripe about how we have no rights, when we didn’t contribute anything else anyway, right?

    • dj Says:

      Science history makes every woman who was a key contributor or principal sound like the “with” girl or sidekick who just happened to be around for pictures. The only place for pioneering women was in the wagon behind their men or cooking at the campfire.

      It still seems as if science is reluctant to acknowledge women as more than “with” girls.

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