In my public history class, we spent a week on reenactors and the hobby. We read Confederates in the Attic, a book about Civil War reenactors. I’ve brought sewing to class (gotta get those coats done somehow) so they all know I’m one of those nerds, just the 18th century version. For those that don’t know, reenactors are portrayed in an okay light in this book, which beats media portrayal of us.
So when my classmates started asking, “Are reenactors as backwards as the times they portray?” I stopped. I said I couldn’t answer it.
I personally can’t stand seeing stuff my reenacting friends post half the time on Facebook. It’s not the “news” stories they post from sites that are obviously some bozo’s blog or pictures of reenactors reenacting 1976 rather than 1776. What grinds my gears the most are the folks stuck in 1950. More and more, it seems like people are beginning to sound like America’s sweetheart, seen below.
Now, I’m all for everybody doing what makes them happy, provided it doesn’t hurt anyone in the process or deny someone their rights. So when I hear things like women should not be the focus at military events or that they should be subservient to men at them, I vomit in my mouth a little bit. If it’s an immersion first-person event and the details have been talked about ahead of time between folks, then go right ahead, play the subservient woman. When the curtain goes down and the show’s over, 21st century standards better go back into place though. But I’ll be damned if a woman does a curtsy to an officer when 10/10 times, the men at arms aren’t passing the proper renders, either.
And who says women’s roles can’t be highlighted at military events? Some sites, like Fort Ticonderoga, the Rhode Island Historical Society, and countless other sites, organisations, and reenacting groups I can’t name off the tip of my tongue or am just unaware of, are bringing the daily lives of the often nameless and detail-less women to life there. The mundane is fun. Not everyday the army went out and shot at things. They’re spending most of their time drilling, attending an insane amount of assemblies, and at the sutlers. Some may say, “The number of women at events isn’t correct.” Well, neither is the number of old and overweight men let alone what and how the men reenact it.
To top it all off, anybody that tries to counter the arguments of the majority is ganged up on almost immediately. They’re attacked like they just announced they murdered 10 babies.
They’re told now’s not the time.
They’re told it’s not really a problem.
They’re told they’re whining.
They’re told to silence themselves.
Is this not tyranny by majority? Aren’t we just behaving like those against the 19th Amendment, and countless other women’s rights bills in the 19th century world? More importantly, how the hell do we solve the issues if we can’t even have a civilised discussion about them and instead press the caps lock key and just key-smash?