Last week, Thoughts on Liberty‘s editor-in-chief Gina Luttrell posted a status on her Facebook wall soliciting applications for two open writing positions here at TOL. In the first comment, she makes clear that TOL only accepts women writers, and then ensued a heated debate about the validity, and fairness of TOL’s women-only platform. I have lost my taste for arguing with people on the Internet, and many other women were speaking on the matter much more concisely than I would have been able, so I watched from afar. Now, however, I’d like to share my thoughts on the subject. Thanks to Gina for giving me the platform to do so :).
I spent last weekend in Asheville, North Carolina among the breathtaking autumn sights, crisp mountain air, and most importantly spending time with my 93-year-old grandmother.
Ruth Smith, or Dew, as we call her, was born in 1920, in a time that seems unfathomably in the past to me. WWI had just ended, women had just won the right to vote, and the world was changing quickly and drastically. I am frequently astounded at the things Dew has seen; she came of age during the Great Depression, was my age in the heat of the Second World War, got married and had children years far later than most women of her generation (she was 37 when she had my mom), taught English in a southern public school during integration, lost her husband in the late 70s, quit smoking cold-turkey after 30 years of the habit, and has spent the next 40 years as an incredibly strong presence in her family and community. She volunteered with Hospice for years, bringing comfort and compassion to those in need. She’s a staunch Democrat for all the right reasons.
She’s not the only incredible female role model I have from the Greatest Generation. One of her sisters declined to marry until she was 76, instead becoming one of the most generous and gracious women to bless the planet. She and my grandmother shared a home for most of my childhood, and I consider her another grandmother. Another sister of Dew’s became one of the first female medical doctors in the state of North Carolina and still keeps up with medical advancements even now.
Women of the Greatest Generation, and every generation for that matter, are specially equipped with experiences and perspectives that shape the way they view and interact with the world. But for a long time these amazing women, and so many others like them, had little to no platform on which to share their perspectives, tell their stories, celebrate their triumphs, and mourn the things about the world which made their hearts break.
TOL, and many other female-led blogs, should be celebrated for the space and opportunity they provide. TOL doesn’t post a “No Boys Allowed” sign on the entrance to its proverbial treehouse; the ladies of the blog are simply seeking a place where our perspectives and stories and triumphs and defeats will be heard and immortalized. We encourage and enjoy interacting with our male readers and encourage more of them to join in the discussion!
We often hear jokes about how different the world (particularly the political world) would run if women were in charge. No kidding, y’all. I can’t imagine how much better the world would be if someone with the heart for justice and will of steel my grandmother has had been at the helm for the last century.
Far from running the world, we simply want to contribute to this tiny corner of the Internet. We owe it to our mothers and grandmothers, our sisters and aunts. We owe it to the women of the Greatest Generation, who are often depicted as Rosie the Riveter but were often treated like their only role was as June Cleaver. We owe it to ourselves.