• Mon, Apr 8 2013

Sybil Ludington Is Your New Feminist Hero

statue of woman

If you have felt conflicted today about who is and is not a feminist, I thought we could present you with one person who is. Sybil Ludington. There you go. She is amazing. Just look at this statue of her!

To be honest, most statues of women suck. They generally have their arms knocked off. At best, they’re lounging around being goddesses – with arms! – and those statues are made out of marble. I bet you’ve never even seen a statue of some kick-ass, weird, feminist icon lolling her head about crazily on a horse before, have you? Well, you have now. Who is she?

According to Ms. Magazine’s Facebook page (from which the picture originates): 

Born on this date in 1761 (d. 1839), Revolutionary War hero Sybil Ludington hasn’t nearly the household name of Paul Revere, but when she was just 16 she rode 40 miles on horseback (twice the distance Revere traveled on his midnight ride) through towns in Putnam County, N.Y., to warn people that the British were burning nearby Danbury, CT, and that militia troops should muster under Ludington’s father at their home.

And, oh my God, she looked amazing on that horse. She looked so terribly, terribly alive. And frankly, pretty masterful, given that the horse looks as though it is about to tip over any second. Sibyl later received congratulations from General Washington for her efforts, so I guess he appreciated that as well.

And then… we never talked about her again? How is it possible that I had never heard of this woman before? A picture of this statue should be various grade-school textbooks.

Big hat tip to Jen Dziura

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  • http://twitter.com/Footnotegirl Jennifer Klumpp

    Oh, I did know about Sybil! When I was a little girl, I was overly fond of reference type books (huh, and then I became a librarian, weird) and my parents bought me this whole collection of yellow-pages-sized paperback books full of odd and interesting facts. I remember there being a whole page about how her ride was so much more epic than Mr. Revere’s.

  • Lastango

    Sooo…. to appreciate the deeds of Sybil Ludington we have to measure them against Paul Revere?

    • MR

      There’s this side street off of North Church in the North End of Boston. You walk down it, and before it slopes down to the Charles River you have a view of the place across the river where Revere saw the lanterns in the church’s steeple. The distance from one to other isn’t very large. After, it was all friendly territory for him to Concord. She was 16. Lexington, now there there was mettle.