Remember, Ginger Rogers did everythingdid, but she did it backwards and in high heels. -Faith Whittlesey
According to tradition, February 29, Leap Day, is the day when women are empowered to make marriage proposals to men. The men are obliged to accept. Sheri and Bob Stritof at about.com have an interesting article on this tradition. February 29 has been called Sadie Hawkins' Day, based on the Lil' Abner cartoon, but some areas of the U.S. do not recognize that holiday on this date.
Probably a very sexist presumption, tradition, and holiday, but consider that the postcard above was from 1908 – just 100 years ago. Consider all that has changed in that span of time:
- only Colorado, Utah, and Idaho allowed women to vote (excluding territories)
- women could not serve in the armed forces
- in most states, women could not own property unless widowed or with a husband or father's permission
- women were not granted a right to vote until 1919
- the U.S. Supreme Court precedent at the time held a state could prevent a woman from voting and practicing law
But, 1908 was not all bad. In 1908, in the case of Muller v State of Oregon, 208 U.S. 412 (1908), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Oregon's 10 hour work week for women. It was a case limiting the workweek for women and is telling of the type of world in which women lived:
As healthy mothers are essential to vigorous offspring, the physical wellbeing of woman is an object of public interest. The regulation of her hour of labor falls within the police power of the State.
Enjoy Leap Day!