My lovely blog friend La Quemada has nominated me to post three quotes, on three consecutive days, and each day nominate three new bloggers to take up the challenge. Having contemplated this, but never being comfortable with nominations (and nine in total is a very tall order), I have decided to play fast and loose with the rules, and simply throw the challenge open to anyone who fancies a go. The exact rules, for those more conscientious, follow:
Thank the blogger who nominated you.
Share one new quote on three consecutive days on your blog. They can be from anywhere, anyone, or anything.
On each of the three days, nominate three more bloggers to carry on with the quotes.
So, my thanks again to La Quemada, and since I have decided that the theme of all three of my quotes will be women who have inspired me, we now proceed to…
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)
Although my choice of new name was actually guided by the inspiringly power-hungry (and astonishingly successful) Eleanor of Aquitaine, the fact that it also belonged to the longest-serving First Lady of the United States is another reason to count it a particularly well-omened name. Eleanor Roosevelt was probably the first incumbent of this role to not merely emerge from the shadow of her husband, but pretty well explode from it. Her advocacy for black civil rights, long before the movement rose to prominence, earned her widespread hatred in the conservative southern states, and if that isn’t a vote of confidence to treasure I don’t know what it… During the Second World War, she pushed for increased social roles for both women and black Americans, toured extensively to build morale, pressured her husband to accept more refugees from the Third Reich into America, and with her characteristic healthy contempt for popular prejudice, spoke out against the ill-treatment often meted out to Japanese Americans in the wake of Pearl Harbour.
Following the war, and the death of her husband, she predictably opted against a quiet retirement, became chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and was instrumental in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. President Kennedy appointed her as chair of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women in 1961, though she died before the commission made its report – concluding that discrimination against women in every sphere of life remained a serious issue – in 1962. This indirectly led to the creation of the National Organization for Women in 1966: the first second-wave feminist movement in America. In a sense, Eleanor Roosevelt posthumously invented Radical Feminism.
Where, I wonder, would she have weighed in on the whole trans-exclusionary aspect of it? Impossible to say, of course, but her own words would at least suggest a lot of sympathy for those who choose to define their lives against the expectations and the hostility of others…
“It’s your life — but only if you make it so. The standards by which you live must be your own standards, your own values, your own convictions in regard to what is right and wrong, what is true and false, what is important and what is trivial. When you adopt the standards and the values of someone else or a community or a pressure group, you surrender your own integrity. You become, to the extent of your surrender, less of a human being.”