have we spoken lately about how much i like hannah mae? i really like hannah mae. via her wondrous site, an excerpt from "the little woman," a 1945 essay by suffragette ida alexa ross wylie:
It was discovered that a relative handful of human beings, unarmed save with a resolute fighting temper and a conviction of justice, could set the forces of society – armed to the teeth but with a bad conscience – right back on their heels…. To my astonishment I found that women, in spite of knock-knees and the fact that for centuries a respectable woman’s leg had not even been mentionable, could at a pinch outrun the average London bobby. Their aim with a little practice became good enough to land ripe vegetables in ministerial eyes, their wits sharp enough to keep Scotland Yard running around round in circles and looking very silly. Their capacity for impromptu organization, for secrecy and loyalty, their iconoclastic disregard for class and established order were a revelation to all concerned but especially themselves.

Best of all was the discovery that when it came down to a real slugging match they were not at such a hopeless disadvantage as tradition would have had them suppose. The day that, with a straight left to the jaw, I sent a fair-sized CID officer… into the orchestra pit of the Pavillion Theatre where we were holding one of our belligerent meetings, was the day of my own coming-of-age. It set me free to be whatever I was to the top of my bent….

For two years of wild and sometimes dangerous adventure I worked and fought alongside vigorous, happy, well-adjusted women who laughed instead of tittering, who walked freely instead of teetering, who could outfast Gandhi and come out with a grin and a jest. I slept on hard floors between elderly duchesses, stout cooks, and young shopgirls. We were often tired, hurt and frightened. But we were content as we had never been. We shared a life of joy that we had never known.
i'll be circling back for the whole thing when i'm on the other side of tonight's solo titus andronicus run. to straight lefts, dear internets, and our money where our mouths are.


Amid Privilege said...

I only wish I had some idea what you were talking about.

kidchamp said...

bare-knuckle feminism, lisa! also stage blood (unrelated).

rachel (heart of light) said...

Is it weird that I've always been slightly disappointed by the fact that I've never given someone a straight uppercut to the jaw? I'm sort of hoping that at some point in my life I get a good excuse to do so. And that in that event I manage to acquit myself admirably. Somehow. 

Also, thank you for the introduction! I'll be popping over there more often.