As most of us are aware, women’s role in national history is largely left out of the textbooks we read in school and women are barely seen in our country’s national parks and landmarks. According to this article by the Associated Press, only one in 10 people in textbooks are women and in national parks, less than 8 percent of the statues are women. Of more than 200 statues in the U.S. Capitol, only 15 women leaders are depicted.
This is why it’s super exciting that the House of Representatives has just voted 383-33 to create a bipartisan commission to explore the creation of a Women’s History Museum in DC. Maybe the celebration is a bit premature, as the commission may decide that building such a museum isn’t feasible, but this is at least a step in the right direction.
Only one representative actively spoke against the bill, and it was none other than Michele Bachmann. I’ve gotten to the point that I mentally prepare myself before reading or listening to anything she has to say because it usually makes me want to tear my hair out. Good ole Michele didn’t fail me this time, saying that a women’s history museum would “enshrine the radical feminist movement” (who knew that talking about women’s role in history was radical?) and indicated that it could become “an ideological shrine to abortion” (say whaaat?!). Furthermore, she encouraged others to vote against the bill in favor of “traditional marriage.”
How does traditional marriage or abortion even factor into reasons to either support or oppose the creation of a women’s history museum? It seems that Bachmann is sweeping aside the more than 200 years of American women’s history and solely focusing on issues that modern feminists (admittedly) fight for. Luckily, this is just more extremist rhetoric that I’m pretty sure most people won’t even pay attention to or take seriously. Bachmann was the only one to speak out against the bill, and to me that says something.
I am excited to see where this bill goes and what ends up happening with the creation of the museum. I think that a national museum of women’s history is a great step towards more equal representation of the role women have played in our country’s history. However, I wish we didn’t have to create a separate museum to honor that history. It would be nice if women’s achievements could be represented right along side men’s in the “normal” museums. Hopefully one day we will reach that point, but until then I fully support the creation of a women’s history museum.
More representation = more visibility = more equality