Listen, my children. You already know
Of Paul Revere’s midnight ride, and so
I won’t rehash how, “in Seventy-five…”
For hardly a U.S. child alive
Has escaped being quizzed on the day and year.
But in school or in scouts or in all your youth,
Or in history texts, do you recall learning
Who rode twice as far as Revere – ‘struth! –
To warn her dad’s troops of Danbury’s burning?
For she of a different gender be
From old one-if-by-land-and-two-if-by-sea.
And this “female Revere” business needs be quibbled with.
So by Shapelings all, at their most ribald, with
Regrets to Longfellow: you’re about to get Sybilled with!
alibelle kicked off an interesting conversation here about female historical figures (such as Sybil Ludington, the subject of my verse attempt above) whose contributions are downplayed — or at best allowed to confer on them the status of being “The female [Big Famous Man]” — while male historical figures have their contributions memorized by generations of school children. As I expect every sincere commenter here realizes, this dynamic plays out across all axes of oppression.
No, that’s not the Fluff part. The Fluff part is where we take all the poems and songs we had to memorize in elementary school — the dippier, the better — and recast them to draw attention to historical figures who were removed from the main story and relegated to cutesy sidebars in history textbooks; and/or taught only in “special” units covering rare exotic breeds of humanity like… Women! or, People Who Aren’t White! If they were remembered at all.
(Also fair game: crafts. Anyone other white Shapelings find themselves wearing a construction paper feather headdress in November of third grade?)