It is Women’s History Month. One period that I’ve liked reading about is early 1900s work with birth control and feminism. I don’t know if ‘like’ is the right word because it always makes me cranky. I just finished an interesting book called Sex Wars by Marge Piercy. It is a fictionalized version of events in the 1860s and 1870s in the lives of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Victoria Woodhull, and Anthony Comstock. There is also a purely fictional storyline about a Jewish immigrant widow who makes a living making condoms.
Victoria Woodhull was the first female stockbroker in the U.S., the first woman to be invited to address Congress, and the first woman to run for U.S. President. She was born just down the road from my house. I know this because I saw a newspaper article once about the little town there and it mentioned her. I kept the article because this town consists of a crossroads with a school, a post office, and a fire station. Personally, I don’t think that anything should be labelled a town if there is nowhere to buy food. Her family was basically a bunch of con artists who moved around the country scamming people. I went a field trip today (that means I turned right on the only crossroad there instead of driving straight through). There is an historical marker about her along the side of the road.
I’ve always found Anthony Comstock fascinating in a represenible kind of way. He was a crusader who made it illegal to send obscene material through the mail. Obscene meant anything about anatomy or birth control in addition to pornography. The Comstock Laws were used to persecute women who taught about birth control.
In the spirit of thumbing my nose at the memory of Anthony Comstock I will now post something he considered obscene on this public forum.