Feminism

Happy Women’s Equality Day! Celebrate By Not Being Drafted Into the Military

August 25, was Women’s Equality Day. On that day in 1920, women finally won the right to vote in the United States. That’s right – the US has only been a democracy for 94 years. Some would argue it’s still not.

On Twitter I linked to the Wiki page for Women’s Equality Day without actually reading it to make sure it was accurate – my mistake. A friend pointed out the very first sentence (SCREENSHOT HERE):

“Women’s Equality Day is a day proclaimed each year by the United States President to commemorate the granting of the vote to women throughout the country without the requirement of consignment, making the right a privilege greater than that granted to men; who were only given the right to vote under the obligation of the draft.”

Wow. That’s obviously the work of a tireless Men’s Rights Activist, activating for the rights of men. Note that there is no citation – It doesn’t appear to have any basis in reality, but that has hardly stopped them in the past.

The right to vote has nothing to do with consignment, which of course is the requirement of all men to turn over their old suits and ties to small shops which then sell them, giving a portion of the sale back to the donor.

Nor does the right to vote have anything to do with conscription, which is the requirement to register for military service in case of national emergency. Though the draft is technically still in place in the US, no one actually signs up for it anymore (EDIT: my mistake. Compliance is about 87% nationwide. Thanks Ryan) and no one has been prosecuted for not signing up for it since 1986.

The US draft began in 1861 at the start of the Civil War. This of course was nearly 100 years after men first started voting in the US. Originally the only voters were primarily wealthy white landowning men, but as the years progressed each one of those adjectives was forcibly removed from the requirements by marginalized people. But even at the start of the draft, there was no law prohibiting elderly and infirm men from voting because they were unable to serve in the military. All wealthy white landowning men got to vote, period.

So not only did men vote prior to the draft existing, but in the 1970s during the Vietnam War, people protested the fact that the draft age was 18 but the voting age was 21. In other words, men weren’t able to vote because they went to war – men were going to war who had no ability to vote and hence change their fate.

There we have it, another act of men’s rights activism debunked by an evil feminazi. For the record, I’m 100% against the nonexistent draft, and I’d be happier if it were struck down once and for all because no person, man or woman, should be forced by their government to participate in war. At the same time, I fully support the women who have campaigned tirelessly to be allowed to go to war on the front lines with men. Prohibiting women from the military is sexism, plain and simple.

And finally, I 100% support consignment. Personally I think it’s too much work and so I just donate my clothes to the AmVets down the street, but if you need a little extra cash then it’s a great option that should be made available to both men and women.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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11 Comments

  1. I’d add that really, voting was reserved for white people until 1965, because if you were black and voted in the 20s or 30s, you could expect the local terrorists to show up. Indians didn’t get those same legal protections until like, a decade later.

    In the ensuing years, we had World War II, Korea, the Cuban missile crisis, and the start of Vietnam.

    Of course, I doubt MRAs know much about the racial history of the United States either. One MRA I met online tried to convince me racism was related to prejudice against men. LOL

    1. But of course – it was only ever black men who were lynched, and that was only ever because those evil, man-hating feminists conspired to accuse them of rape!
      Certainly, no black women were ever raped or murdered, and there was never an occasion of a black man being murdered by other men just for getting too “uppity.”
      Also, slavery never happened.

      Men’s Rights: Because who gives a fuck about reality anyway?

    2. “One MRA I met online tried to convince me racism was related to prejudice against men. LOL”

      Society treats women worse overall, especially women of color, but men of color are disproportionately the victims of the criminal justice system. I’d call that a pretty clear intersection. I don’t know if that’s what the MRA was talking about (probably not, most of what they say is irrelevant) but if it was, maybe you shouldn’t dismiss it so casually.

  2. “Though the draft is technically still in place in the US, no one actually signs up for it anymore (EDIT: my mistake. Compliance is about 87% nationwide. Thanks Ryan) and no one has been prosecuted for not signing up for it since 1986.”

    Another thing to add: If you are a male (or born male and transitioned to female) and you don’t sign up for the draft, you are ineligible for federal financial aid for college. It’s the only reason I signed up.

  3. The draft/vote thing is definitely a red herring, but claiming the draft is “nonexistent” is overstating matters. The financial aid thing is where most people get hit. It does seem that the people I know who’ve shrugged off selective service registration are upper-middle-class or richer and 1) didn’t have need-based financial aid as a consideration and 2) figured they could get away with it. A lot of other folks were very much in the “don’t mess with it” camp. Sure, it hasn’t been enforced lately, but it could at any time, with no action required by Congress. I had to dig out my registration number recently for the feds, and I don’t think my employment would have been in terribly good shape if I hadn’t been able to.

    Nothing to do with the franchise, but selective service is there, real, and rather disgusting.

  4. Rebecca Watson,

    I came across at least one MRA that tried to argue that women shouldn’t have the right to vote since they never “earned it” since women didn’t fight. He off course ignores the fact that many men never fought and still gained the right to vote, plus the fact that his argument taken to its logical conclusion would mean that most men shouldn’t have the right to vote in this country either.

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