The Washington Post ‘celebrates’ women’s Civil War history by erasing it

Based on a comment thread complaint over Twitter, the Washington Post recently decided that Jennie Hodgers, who fought in the Civil War as Albert Cashier, needs to be understood historically as if she were a man.

They rewrote their introduction to what was supposed to be a historical retrospective series on women’s participation in war as follows:

“On August 6, 1862, a shy young man from Belvidere, Illinois, signed up to fight for the North in the Civil War. His name was Albert Cashier.”

The followed their text introduction to the podcast content with this chilling ‘correction’:

“We incorrectly included a story about Civil War veteran Albert Cashier in a podcast series about women who won wars.  Cashier, whose birth name was Jennie Hodgers, enlisted in the Illinois Infantry as a man when he was 18. His inclusion in the series was not in keeping with Washington Post style which states that people should be referred to by their current identity. We have since removed the episode from the series and made some corrections to pronoun usage within the episode and online to adhere to Post style.”

This defacement of the accomplishments of historical women who would not have been allowed to do things like walk up to a military recruiting station in a dress, and sign up to fight under their own names, is grotesque and deeply offensive to women.

The Washington Post is collaborating in an erasure of our historical oppression and mistreatment. Women were denied the full rights of citizenship, the franchise, and lived even as adults in a perpetual state of semi-childhood where all their decisions were subject to review by various male guardians and other male authority figures. To say that the women who attempted to escape that open air imprisonment by dressing as men were really men, and not women at all, is vandalism of the historical record of women’s resistance and opposition to this treatment.

The Washington Post should fix this atrocious defacement of women’s history, apologize to its readers and to all women, and rethink any policy they might have that would enjoin their staff to suggest that long-dead historical figures believed in a modern dogma of human sex change by an act of will.