It’s almost a week since the Russell Brand / Jeremy Paxman debate went viral, but I was reading this, this morning. Written in 1911 by an incredible feminist by the name of Mary MacLane, in her essay On Woman Suffrage she had this to say:
"…much as I’m interested in the cause itself, I - M. MacLane - personally would be an extremely unfit person to hold a ballot.
And I am so well aware of the fact that I would never bother to vote, though my sisters-in-arms were going, loaded and primed, to the polls. I am governed only by my impulses and affections and led on by the fascinations with which life for me is always rife. And I should cast a vote on the same picturesque principles, if I cast one at all, with no regard for such tiresome things as safe, sane conservatism.
No, when it comes to voting for president, I shouldn’t be there - I should find more interest in sitting at home and mending me a pair of blue silk stockings, the while going over in my mind the the affairs of the heart I might then be engaged in. I don’t much believe in presidents, anyway. They don’t seem to change anything, benefit anything, “start” anything. Patent medicines with wood alcohol in them are still being sold to the public, and children are still working in the mills and mines. Trusts and combines are yet solid with themselves and the hookworm remains rampant and triumphant. So, what’s the use?”
This was written 17 years before women had the vote on the same terms as men, and she already had enough insight to know that voting wasn’t for her anyway. A true revolutionary, with unparalleled humour and wit. The article was published in the Chicago Tribune, originally titled: Mary MacLane Believes in Woman’s Suffrage, But She Could Never Vote for a Fat President. She was 30.