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Oh, how women have moved up the ranks

In 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention met. Two days later, 68 women and 32 men signed Elizabeth Cady Stanton's "Declaration of Rights and Sentiments," a list of grievances women held against their oppressed circumstances.

(She wrote it in such a manner as to be impressively reminiscent of the "Declaration of Independence," which a few men I know would readily use as an application of typical womanly behavior: twisting a man's own words to use against him.)

In May of 1878, the National Woman Suffrage Association was formed; in November, a bunch of ladies apparently felt left out and decided to create the American Woman Suffrage Association.

Not much got done, most plausibly for the same reason that America isn't a socialist nation; perhaps if the country's eleven-plus socialist parties got over their cliquish tendencies and formed a conglomerate they'd get somewhere...and maybe not.

In 1890, the gals proved their smarts and joined together as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (I'll bet the gum I'm chewing that name was only decided upon after some pretty intense debate). On Aug. 26 of 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified, allowing women to vote and government a shot at becoming actually representative of its citizens.

Finally, on Nov. 15 of 1937, Al Capp made it socially acceptable for women everywhere to ask him out already. Or maybe he just pointed out that some girls aren't very pretty and need a little help finding themselves a man.

I'm not entirely certain.

On that fateful day, Capp's Li'l Abner comic strip, lauded by many as the greatest of all time, reiterating my beliefs that I both live under an immovable mass of sediment and have terrible taste (the few that I read weren't...funny), told of the "homeliest gal in the hills."

This Miss Sadie Hawkins was a terrible burden to Daddy Hekzebiah, who somehow convinced all of the fair city of Dogpatch (can't help but love these names, huh?) to name a day after his unsightly child. Not wishing to live out the rest of the years with his less-than-easy-on-the-eyes daughter (I'm really not an appearance-oriented person, but check out the pictures on the Web site! Her nose has its own gravitational pull), Papa decreed it Sadie Hawkins Day.

This blessed annual event brought all the unwed women of Dogpatch together to honest-to-goodness chase down the young available gents, threatening any guy pokish enough to get caught with -- gasp! -- matrimony.

A fine alternative to shot-gun weddings, no?

Within two years, over 200 U.S. colleges were hosting annual Sadie's Day events. WPA (women pay all) dances sprung up, pumping the economy with feministic funding. Guys forgot the joys of pursuit (yeah, I might be editorializing). The boys in Relient K wrote a hit song about how there "ain't nothing better" than a Sadie Hawkins dance (they've got one about pink tuxes, too, which everyone should read up on before I write my prom column come next spring).

I won't venture to pose theories as to whether Sadie's has done much of anything for equality between the sexes or the average female's initiative to make the first move, but the concept is fresh (or as fresh as anything can be considered 70 years later) and the atmosphere electric.

Last year, the day after prom (that's in May) I witnessed talk of who would ask whom to this fall's Sadie Hawkins. True, their utter sleep-deprivation (post prom keeps 'em out 'til six in the morning!) might have been cause for the craziness, but they were nonetheless giddy with anticipation. Sadie Hawkins must be incredible, hm?

I asked a boy to go with me sophomore year. Not being much for dancing (Les Miz's lack of choreography was a blessing -- I dropped out of ballet and tap when I was 5, directly before our first performance -- but still I am thankful that Sadie's doesn't involve a celebratory marathon or blatant thrusts into marriage, which seem worse than a few semi-graceful steps around the gym), we stayed maybe an hour and a half.

The rest of the evening was far more thrilling -- we watched "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and "Fight Club;" I cut myself falling down the stairs into his basement; and he got pulled over going 40 down Washington Avenue without his driver's license. The officer inquired as to whether we had been setting off bombs earlier that evening. I'm fairly certain we hadn't, and yet...what a night!

I'm ducking out of Sadie's this year in favor of not spending extra time at my high school dizzied by emergency flair-esque lighting and the disconcerting sensation of actually feeling the bumping bass beating in my chest, which I experience too much already during the average school day. (Indeed, DLHS is always a thrill!)

Still...I can't help but wonder how I'll ever find me a husband this way. I might check into nose jobs and some new Nikes.

Thressa Johnson is a senior at Detroit Lakes High School.