“So what do people see when they read that well-behaved women rarely make history? Do they imagine good-time girls in stiletto heels or do-good girls carrying clipboards and passing petitions? Do they envision an out-of-control hobbyist or a single mother taking down a drunk in a bar? I suspect that it depends on where they stand themselves.”
“They prayed secretly, read the Bible through at least once a year, and went to hear the minister preach even when it snowed. Hoping for an eternal crown, they never asked to be remembered on earth. And they haven’t been.”
“All had intellectual fathers, domestic mothers. All three were raised in settings that simultaneously encouraged and thwarted their love of learning. All three married men who supported their intellectual ambitions. All three lived through the wrenching deaths of loved ones and terrifying, fratricidal warfare—the Hundred Years War in Christine’s case, the American Civil War in Stanton’s, and World War I for Woolf. All three identified with women yet imagined becoming male. In their work and in their lives, all three writers addressed an enduring puzzle: Are differences between the sexes innate or learned? Using stories about the past to challenge history, they talked back to books.”
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