A man's 1963 answer to whether or not a woman would make a good president rings true today
It's 2020 and our presidential race was between an old white dude and another old white dude. That glass ceiling is still hovering over our heads. It might be cracked, but it hasn't been shattered yet. A blast from the past photo went viral for showing us some of the attitudes that are impeded in the foundation of that glass ceiling – and one skinny little crack from an unlikely source.
Twitter user @natepentz posted a photo of a 1763 Minneapolis Star Tribune article in which readers were asked, "Would a woman be a good president?"
From November 1963 Strib: Would a woman be a good President? https://t.co/V4ce2cquW8— Nate Pentz (@Nate Pentz) 1605105070.0
Of the five respondents, four (including two women) gave a firm "no," backed up by whatever weird logic they used to justify their sexism. "No. Today their mind is one way and the next day, it changes," said Frank Kampa. "No. A man is more responsible. Women have enough problems without being president," said Maureen Mellum.
But the lone "why not" has been getting a lot of attention now, 57 years later. Vern Hause's answer was simple, ""She couldn't do any worse than some we've had."
The response went viral, and Hause got praise for being a low-key feminist at a time when "The Future is Female" t-shirts didn't exist.
Vern Hause died in 1975. And simply because he chose not to voice the misogyny that was socially expected of him wh… https://t.co/fxsrQ8qrk5— Ashton Pittman (@Ashton Pittman) 1605163994.0
@natepentz I want to know more about Vern. As a young woman in 1963, I don’t know how I would have responded. By mi… https://t.co/WP6jdyZnHl— Tricia S.💛 (@Tricia S.💛) 1605134995.0
Other Twitter users thought Hause's response was kind of lame – that he had no faith in the government, but no faith in women either.
@natepentz Vern: more nihilistic than misogynistic— Wes Burdine (@Wes Burdine) 1605105151.0
Go Vern? https://t.co/agXfhOg9Sb— Eric Gonzaba (@Eric Gonzaba) 1605120147.0
Everyone is praising Vern but lets go back to 1963 and ask how he feels about a black man/woman as president and se… https://t.co/LHTFdtAXoF— Queen Piggy (@Queen Piggy) 1605123275.0
@natepentz Sad, this is the MOST supportive statement of the lot. https://t.co/7vQ5ZYHHsp— Logical Liberal (@Logical Liberal) 1605119857.0
Hause's response wasn't the only response to grab attention. Some people commented on how weird Mr. and Mrs. Romanowski's responses were. Mr. Romanowski answered, "No. I don't have much faith in women to let them run the country."
Mrs. Romanowski's answer was worse, and also kinda hinted that there might be something going on in her marriage. "No. A woman is too likely to give in. They might not stand their ground when they should," Mrs. Romanowski, who apparently doesn't have a first name of her own, said. Maybe she was speaking out of her own experience? Although, 1963 might have been before women were allowed to have opinions.
@natepentz Poor Mrs. Tom— christy klancher, literal back yard birder (@christy klancher, literal back yard birder) 1605106159.0
@StPauliGrrrl @natepentz Yikes that whole statement sounds like a self-indictment especially given her husband’s statement— Rachel Bright (@Rachel Bright) 1605106498.0
@natepentz Those Romanowskis though— Lauren (@Lauren) 1605105495.0
@EGonzaba Did Mr. Romanowski say that in front of Mrs. Romanowski! Is that why she couldn't stand her ground?— Lori Pigue (@Lori Pigue) 1605120348.0
But as far as we've come since 1963, some Twitter users pointed out that not much has changed. In some ways, these responses from 1963 could be given now, although the sexism might be less overt.
@natepentz I'm glad we've advanced to where this isn't acceptable. I'm talking about the typographic tracking, we'… https://t.co/qgC1UyKqrP— Wes Borre (@Wes Borre) 1605120052.0
@natepentz From 2016 and 2020 election results, I see not much has changed. If a woman supposedly wouldn't make a g… https://t.co/8YfZx5VFJR— Political Vixen (@Political Vixen) 1605120241.0
While newspapers don't really go around asking weird questions like this anymore, in some ways, society is still asking itself that question. At least now we have plenty of people who will boldly answer, "Why is this even a question???"
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