Monday, August 17, 2009

Sexism from 100 years ago

I use the following song in my gender communication class, and it always amazes me. A mere 100 years ago, it was hilarious (HILARIOUS!!) to suggest that women were capable of being independent, authoritative human beings. The very idea of women trying to wear pants (PANTS!!) was downright hysterical. Uh-oh. I probably shouldn't use that word. Why, you ask? Look up the etymology of the word: hysterical (HYSTERICAL!!).

Meh. So, the good news is that we're a lot better off than we were 100 years ago. But, by the same token, I continue to hear similar sentiments today. About the guy who doesn't demand his way or the highway: "Well, I guess we all know who wears the pants in that family. Hardy har." (HARDY HAR!! That's backwards. Haha!) The woman who hints at aggression is a ball breaker. The man who hints at aggression is a man (MANLY!!).

Here's the song, in all its hilarity. It was recorded in 1909 by the delightfully charming Billy Williams, and was written by a fine, swell, upstanding gentleman named Charles Denton. Here's to you, aholes.