November marks the annual celebration of Sadie Hawkins Day. Who, exactly, is Sadie Hawkins? She may have been the first public spinster third wave feminist to receive national attention – in the 1930’s.
And, she is a cartoon.
This folk Americana day of celebration first appeared in the widely read comic strip Li’l Abner on November 15, 1937. Sadie Hawkins is described as ” the homeliest gal in the hills.” As she and her father grow frantic awaiting suitors to court her, her father decides to gather unmarried men from the town, declaring “Sadie Hawkins Day” in her honor. The day includes a footrace in which Sadie goes in hot pursuit of eligible bachelors. The race proves a succes among the women in the town and it is announced an annual event.
The role/gender “chase” reversal in the comic echoed loudly throughout national culture. It placed the idea of sexual power and romantic freedom in the hands of women, a hugely radical notion in the 1930’s.
In Chicago, a Sadie Hawkins Style Ride is organized each November to benefit the Chicago Women’s Health Center, a client-focused nonprofit that provides women and trans people access to gynecological health care, alternative insemination, health education, counseling services, acupuncture, and massage. In correlation with the sentiment of the comic, the bike ride promotes and encourages people to take charge of their own sexual health and well-being.
To learn more about how you can get involved with Sadie Hawkins Day in the future, check out the Sadie Hawkins Day Style Ride’s Facebook page.
Interested in learning more about third wave feminism? The Third Wave Foundation is a great place to begin.
Happy Hunting, Ladies!