Vintage Sexism: Anti-suffrage pamphlet warns of “petticoat rule”

Vote No on Women's Suffrage pamplet

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Oh, this is just so perfect.

The vague warning against some undefined “evil which may occur” paired with the rather contradictory argument that women’s suffrage wouldn’t actually change anything because “votes of women can accomplish no more than votes of men” (LOL, what?), so why do you you even care, it’s such an expense, ugh. I particularly love the amazingly dumb point that “80 percent of the women eligible to vote are married and can only double or annul their husbands’ vote.” Well, yes, precisely: They can double or annul their husbands’ votes. Double…or…annul. What isn’t clicking here?

Like many an entitled young feminist, I tend to take for granted the battles our predecessors already won and spend more time thinking about the huge and complicated problems we’ve yet to solve. But damn, sometimes it’s nice to take a moment to appreciate how far we’ve come in a not-so-long time. I mean, you guys, less than 100 years ago, actual women had to spend time and energy responding to these “arguments”! Those women were indeed heroes, and I will be forever grateful that I wasn’t one of them.


St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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