Heather Caliri is a writer from San Diego. She started saying yes to joy in her faith two years ago and was surprised to find that joy led straight to Jesus. Find out about her upcoming ebook, Unquiet Time: A devotional for the rest of us, here.
The slogan caught my eye as I turned a corner inside the Humanities building: “Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History.”
Later, I’d discover that Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, the writer who penned the phrase, had done so almost off-hand, in an obscure work about Puritan funeral services. I’d learn that it became a feminist catchphrase without her help, and was often used out of context. I would find that Ulrich, a practicing Mormon, wasn’t trying to denigrate the histories of ordinary, domestic women, but instead, illuminate them.
But at the time, I assumed the phrase was attacking me: a well-behaved, white, upper-middle class Christian housewife. I felt a flare of anger and shame and ducked my head. I tried to pretend the slogan wasn’t there.
The building, which was shaped like a squared-off figure eight, was easy to get lost in. You went around corners so often that you lost all sense of direction; the decrepit state of repair and the bleak décor only added to the disorientation. [Continue Reading...]