The 1920 election brought big changes to Morningside: it was the first time women could vote, the Morningside neighborhood seceded from Edina to form an independent village, and the first woman election judge worked at the polls.
And her husband stayed home and washed the dishes.
The Oct. 17 Minneapolis Morning Tribune reported that election judge Alice G. Snyder got the day off housekeeping duties, but Mr. Frank S. Snyder had to clean up the home, get dinner for his wife and wash the dishes. The story is laughable by today's standards, when many couples share in household and breadwinner duties.
Or is that 90-year-old story much different than the commentary recently about Elena Kagan, nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court?
A May 23, 2010, article in the Washington Post analyzed at length Kagan's "drab" clothing choices and her lack of make-up. The author even took issue with how Kagan sits. The caption under a photo of Kagan talking with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar read: "UNUSUAL: Most women, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar, cross their legs when sitting, but not Kagan."
Yes, President Obama has gotten blasted for his "Dad jeans" and even more recently, former President Clinton has made headlines for his effort to lose 10 pounds before his daughter's wedding. Yes, the author did briefly note unfashionable clothing worn by past male nominees, but Kagan was mercilessly scrutinized in detail (to the extent that her sexual preference was questioned because she looks "frumpy" in the author's opinion.)
Perhaps we do have equal opportunity fashion bashing. However, even 90 years after the 19th Amendment was passed, only three women have ever served on the Supreme Court. I wonder what Alice G. Snyder envisioned for women's rights when she became Minnesota's first woman election judge? Or was she just happy to get out of dishes for the evening?
On another note, the Washington Post photo interested me for another reason. Look closely at the book on the coffee table. You'll see "Richfield: Minnesota's Oldest Suburb" by Fred Johnson, who also wrote "Suburban Dawn: The Emergence of Richfield, Edina and Bloomington" last year.
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