He Put Her Boots on Like Any Other Man

Oscar left a link to an article about a Wyoming homesteader named Elinor Pruitt Stewart. She is presented as an American heroine, but turns out to be more of a fantasy. Here’s the short version:

Elinor was born after the last Comanches had been sent to reservation. By her adulthood, the American West had been tamed, but not yet settled. After divorcing her first husband of three years she moved to Wyoming and took a job as a housekeeper. Then she married her boss. He built an add-on to his house so that she could live in it and pretend to be an independent homesteader. This pretension went on for years, as she hid the fact that she had married her boss, and that his family controlled “her” homestead; even after Atlantic Monthly began to publish her accounts. For years readers of her letter accounts were misled to believe she was single instead of married and supported by a husband and his family. According to those who published her letters: The greatest (conscious) threat to Stewart were coyotes; which are skittish creatures. 

She didn’t own her homestead. She didn’t build her house. She didn’t depend on herself. She didn’t fight off anyone or anything. She told lies that she homesteaded independently.

I will continue research, so please point me towards more historical books and articles.

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12 thoughts on “He Put Her Boots on Like Any Other Man

  1. I will note that in the original topic this was brought up as a subset of – Wondie and fighting women – even *if* the Strong Independent Homesteader was a thing, it doesn’t really affect the original point much.

    Using a rifle to protect your home while Daddy’s gone because you literally have no other choice is not even remotely comparable to Wonder Woman.

  2. @MtC

    It did come up again on your blog, certainly. However, my views on this crystallized after a lengthy argument on chicks and guns at Dalrock’s. Several commenters let their white knight/fanboy flags fly.

    I’d think that those who’d already been sent back to school on the falseness of feminism would re-examine every cherished belief about women, and question their myths. But they don’t. Each thought is compartmentalized; never to be questioned holistically.

  3. “Using a rifle to protect your home while Daddy’s gone because you literally have no other choice is not even remotely comparable to Wonder Woman.”

    It’s also not even remotely comparable to Sharon Stone’s character in “The Quick And The Dead”. Some can see that distinction, others can’t, and I don’t know why.

    And yes, Elinor Stewart was a fraud.

  4. I think what I was getting at with the Quick and the Dead reference was this: the badass woman, who takes care of business (just like a man) no matter how she manifests does not exist–and has never existed (or if she does is an extreme outlier).

    Every time I have every encountered this narrative I have scratched my head no matter what form she takes. Whether its Wonder Woman or the homesteading wife on the prairie who is just as manly as her man. It always seems like a cartoon to me.

    Whether she is doing it because there are no real men around, because the movie makers want to prove a point a women being “just as ____ as a man” or some other non-issue reason, its all the same to me.

    I realize that when I leave the house every day (we live pretty far out) that I am taking a risk that Mychael will fail to protect if needed. She just doesn’t have the killer instinct in her, and it doesn’t make me ashamed of her. No matter how much I try to show her where the various firearms are, where the ammo is, what the different calibers and such are for, she will invariably call me (an hour away at work) with some reason why she just couldn’t do it. (Shoot a hawk flying over, whatever) and shelters in place until I get home.

  5. I saw a FB meme put on by one of our “competitiors” (actually, Laurie Neverman and her husband August are very nice fellow homesteaders) that read something like this: “At some point in history we decided that the best way to run a society is to have fathers leave their home and everything they care about all day long and then return at the end of the day.”

    This is why my ultimate goal is just be home with her and the kids working our land, all the time. I cannot expect my wife to act like a man, ever, in any context.

  6. @ Scott says:
    June 13, 2017 at 7:09 am

    “I think what I was getting at with the Quick and the Dead reference was this: the badass woman, who takes care of business (just like a man) no matter how she manifests does not exist–and has never existed (or if she does is an extreme outlier).”

    Agreed. My point is this: the fact that some women use guns to defend themselves and their families should not be misconstrued as evidence that the badass woman exists.

    Some men – particularly conservative men – somehow equate a mother who locks herself in a room with her children and shoots the violent bastards who kick in her door with a steely-eyed gunslinger. They’re not the same thing. Not even remotely.

  7. Got it. Makes sense.

    Reminds me of the joke from “chasing Amy” about Santa, the Easter bunny, the rabid social justice lesbian feminist and the sweet feminine unassuming lesbian all trying to get the dollar bill first.

  8. @Oscar & Scott

    Some men – particularly conservative men – somehow equate a mother who locks herself in a room with her children and shoots the violent bastards who kick in her door with a steely-eyed gunslinger. They’re not the same thing. Not even remotely.

    I believe this woman (“a mother who locks herself in a room with her children and shoots the violent bastards who kick in her door”) is an outlier. She is not normative. She is not representative of capabilities of the great majority of women. A sane man should not expect his wife to be this outlier.

    And, actually, I don’t believe they do. I think men who say that his wife could shoot intruders would not be ashamed of her if she did not. Nor do I think other men hearing about it would find it shameful either. However, that man (and other men) would find it shameful if a man did not shoot intruders. Do you disagree?

    Think about that, because there is a principle at play here which is central to Men’s Sphere criticism of our society: The linkage of power and responsibility, and the misattribution of honor or dishonor. Specifically, we gripe about the responsibility and dishonor that is loaded on men while power and honor is denied them. This is the other side of that coin where women are given glory and honor, but shielded from responsibility and dishonor.

    And they really are linked. It is natural that if one action is honored, then another action will be dishonored. When in our society it comes to power and responsibility: Women can hardly do wrong and men can hardly do right. Notice that the media push for the “progress” and greatness of women in combat follows right after them moaning and wailing about too much war, American men killing foreigners, etc.

    Another way to look at it is to revisit the often-mentioned Bible verse from Isaiah

    Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

    The prophet didn’t write that people would call everything good, or everything bitter. When you push on one side of the scale, the other side moves as well. So don’t ever push on the wrong side of the scale.

  9. @ Scott says:
    June 13, 2017 at 11:43 am

    “Reminds me of the joke from ‘chasing Amy’… ”

    I had to look that one up. Thank goodness for YouTube, because that was hilarious!

    @ Cane Caldo says:
    June 13, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    “I think men who say that his wife could shoot intruders would not be ashamed of her if she did not. Nor do I think other men hearing about it would find it shameful either. However, that man (and other men) would find it shameful if a man did not shoot intruders. Do you disagree?”

    No, I agree. Although, it’s difficult to predict how one will respond emotionally when something really terrible happens.

    Your point about men being denied honor while loaded down with responsibility, and women having honor heaped on them while being shielded from responsibility is spot on.

    During my first tour in Afghanistan, I read a breathless article about the first woman (!) to receive a Silver Star for Valor in Iraq. She received it for doing something I did, in the same place she did it, twice. I got a slap on the back and a “good job, LT”, and frankly, it was all I deserved.

    If we ever meet up again, I’ll tell you the story over beers.

  10. “And, actually, I don’t believe they do. I think men who say that his wife could shoot intruders would not be ashamed of her if she did not. Nor do I think other men hearing about it would find it shameful either. However, that man (and other men) would find it shameful if a man did not shoot intruders. Do you disagree?”

    I agree to the principle, but as I affirmed in a separate conversation that doesn’t make it impossible for them to be fighters (I’d quibble less with “soldiers”).

    I also think if it was known that she refused to defend herself and her children out of any reaction other than fear we would mock her.

  11. @GKC

    I agree to the principle, but as I affirmed in a separate conversation that doesn’t make it impossible for them to be fighters (I’d quibble less with “soldiers”).

    I didn’t say impossible. I said those women (who could mount the barest form of a defense) were themselves outliers. Good rules, standards, and common sense should not be based on outliers.

    I also think if it was known that she refused to defend herself and her children out of any reaction other than fear we would mock her.

    I wouldn’t. Most women just shut down when a fight happens (this is especially true of white and asian women), and most fights are over fast. I’ve seen it many times. By the time a woman has unfrozen and recovered her wits the outcome has been decided. Smart women would do well to recognize that and learn to run and hide straightaway.

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