In stark contrast to the ridiculous Women’s Museum in Dallas, which (the one time I visited it) featured a strange combination of populist kitsch and social-constructionist feminist dogma, the Cowgirl Museum showcased women of no-nonsense character, pioneer (and pioneering) achievement, physical daring, and unapologetic femininity. Full of inspiring role models, the museum presented a piece of feminist history that gets left out of the city-oriented accounts most of us learn. There’s a reason Wyoming was the first state to let women vote and that the first female Supreme Court justice (a member of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame) came from Arizona. The thinly populated western frontier couldn’t afford to waste women’s talents (though Arizona and New Mexico were among the last states to give married women full property rights).
For some reason this made me think of a Robert A. Heinlein observation:
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
Please note that these particulars apply equally on both sides of the gender divide and everywhere in between.