The always interesting Camille Paglia wrote an article a couple days ago on Sarah Palin and the “frontier feminism” she embodies, and along the way, Paglia makes an historical point that I don’t recall ever hearing before:
The gun-toting Sarah Palin is like Annie Oakley, a brash ambassador from America’s pioneer past. She immediately reminded me of the frontier women of the Western states, which first granted women the right to vote after the Civil War — long before the federal amendment guaranteeing universal woman suffrage was passed in 1919. Frontier women faced the same harsh challenges and had to tackle the same chores as men did — which is why men could regard them as equals, unlike the genteel, corseted ladies of the Eastern seaboard, which fought granting women the vote right to the bitter end.
Coincidentally, the day before I read this article, a certain song from a certain movie came up on my iPod:
Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.
I’m not saying the song above, from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), is a precise echo of what Paglia is talking about — and I certainly don’t want to downplay the sexism that is reflected in the Howard Keel character, here and elsewhere throughout the film — but still, it seemed like a fun coincidence.
And for what it’s worth, note the wedding-night conversation between the Keel and Jane Powell characters in this clip, starting at the 6:40 mark — especially the bit about the “hard life out here in the forest and wilderness”.
Make of all that whatever you will.