info 02.21.12

Ladies are in luck,
they can dine at Keens
Flickr Pool Picks
Every Person in New York

At the start of the 20th century, when the actress and bon vivant Lily Langtry tried unsuccessfully to storm gentlemen-only Keens restaurant to eat a mutton chop, she took the owner to court, and won, in 1905. After the ruling, the actress famously swanned in to Keens, swathed in a feather boa, and got her chop. She may not have said "Stick that in your clay pipe and smoke it," but she must have thought it.

Making a silk purse out of a sheep's loin, Keens posted a sign that read "Ladies are in luck, they can dine at Keens." That's men for you. The ladies weren't in luck, that was the law: mutton chops for all. The beef, of course, was about more than mutton. It was about the fitful starts and stops of equality.

Women won the day in 1905 on the right to dine, yet the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote, wouldn't be ratified by Congress for another 15 years. Some states did begin passing amendments on their own giving women suffrage (thanks to pioneers like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, pictured above, at left). New York did so in 1917, the first time women could vote in the state since 1777. Mississippi was the last state to ratify the 19th Amendment, finally getting around to it in 1984. But late last year, the same state rejected the personhood ballot initiative by over 55% of the voters.

Two steps forward, one step back.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure, once seen as immutable champions of women, became, at least for a time, part of the problem.

The grand old patriarchs doubled down with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee discussing women's health without the benefit of women.

Leading GOP candidate Rick Santorum has declared that contraception is "a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."

Yabba dabba doo.

Sociologist Norbert Elias, in his major work The Civilizing Process, wrote that civilization "refers to something which is constantly in motion, constantly moving 'forward.'" Yet Mr. Elias put the word forward in quotes, as if to say, "Well, that's the idea, anyway."

We move forward only when we move things forward. MUG stands with New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer and other lawmakers supporting women's rights, women's health, and women's economic security.

You can stand with us by signing the One Million Strong For Women petition.

Jason Polan started Every Person in New York in March of 2008. He plans on working on the project until it is finished. Look for Every Person in New York on Tuesdays in MUG and daily at Jason's site.

Park Slope (from 2010)

recent entries

MUG Exits


The Department of Records

See all articles in INFO

Get a daily dose of MUG
right in your Inbox.