12 January 1915 – The US House of Representatives rejects a proposal to give women the right to vote

Ladies, it’s for your own good.

It’s better that we don’t give you the right to vote, because with the right to vote comes the responsibility to vote. A responsibility you will no doubt exercise. And in response to your vote, things will happen. Things which we may prefer not happen. Things for which we would only have ourselves to blame, were they to occur while only we have the vote. But with the right to vote, this protective shield of incapacity will be stripped from you.

Once you have the right to vote, literally everything that happens – in politics, in the economy, and most especially everything that happens to us, that affects us – will be your fault.

We will have no choice but to blame you for everything, in every sphere, at all times. And not just we, the members of the House, but we, the men of America.

We will not be able to reserve our anger and annoyance only for the times when we get home and the dinner is not ready. We will no longer have the freedom to focus our campaigns of control only on deriding and denigrating you for the way you mother and mollycoddle our sons – the future of the nation – in the absence of their absent fathers.

It won’t even be possible to restrict our contempt and belittling for those times – three or four times a week – when you haven’t paid us the respect we are owed. Or when the petty humiliations of the office have accumulated to the point where we have no option but to take it out on you.

You understand, don’t you ladies? We are not saying that you are not ready for the responsibility. We have too much respect for women to say something like that.

But you are not ready for how we will respond to you having the responsibility.

File under:  world war xx/xy  | women hold up half the sky, sure, but it’s the less important, and unpaid, half

(Image source: David K. Donovan JR)

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