Are Women People?

Alice Duer Miller, Are Women People? A Book of Rhymes for Suffrage Times. New York: George H. Doran Company, 1915. Image from the University of Wisconsin Libraries via HathiTrust.

Are Women People? is a book of poetry that promotes women’s right to vote. Miller makes use of satire in her poems to criticize arguments for why women should not be able to vote or leave the domestic sphere, often by mocking things like the alleged danger that going to the polls poses to women, the ill effects on the nuclear family if women take up public roles as workers and voters, and women’s “innate” naïveté that would prevent them from voting soundly. Even though the book was published over a century ago, some of these poems reflect issues that women still encounter today—for example, a poem about women’s clothing not having pockets, or one about girls being discouraged from displaying their intelligence in school in order to protect boys’ egos.

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