TEA, TRUE WOMANHOOD AND UPPITY WOMEN
with Susan G. Butruille, M.A.
Watch out for tea parties! That’s where many women have started thinking about their lives, their own freedom, and other radical notions. Women conceived the idea of the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York over tea. And, according to legend, it was at a tea party in South Pass City where woman suffrage began in Wyoming, the first state or territory to allow women to vote.
The women of Seneca Falls and South Pass City drank their subversive tea at a time when the True Woman was supposed to be pious, pure, domestic, and submissive. Her required clothing – and even hair styles – were metaphors for the legal and societal restrictions on a woman’s life. But these controls clashed with normal human longings for freedom. Wider horizons tugged at the ties that bound women to their narrow roles. Some women didn’t need tea to become uppity, to dare to dream beyond others’ expectations and to pursue learning, activism, careers, and even that radical notion of voting.
Through stories, journals, songs, and readings, author and playwright Susan Butruille invites audience participation as she explores the dynamics designed to keep women in their places, and tells about some women who defied convention and turned toward freedom. Learn about Indian women, many of whom were free before their lands were taken. Meet women who were jailed and force-fed for demanding the vote . . . cowgirls who rode the rodeo circuit wearing -- gasp! -- split skirts and riding astride! . . . activist women who stood up for workers and children . . . women who braved the odds to create works of art . . . westward emigrants who had no time for tea. Hear stories of intrepid women, both uppity and refined, who explored a wider world for themselves and for their sisters. Learn, enjoy, listen . . . and you may recognize echoes of your own life and times.
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