Abbi & Ilana Show Us How Un-Progressive America Is

by S. Atkinson

You all know hilarious goofballs Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. But, now, prepare yourselves to meet their colonial counterparts, Josephine Hindley and Abatha Whitmore. When Broad City meets The Late Show With Stephen Colbert , you know there's going to be a twist. Everyone's favorite Broad City stars appeared in the character of two colonial ladies to set us straight on one key political fact: Hillary Clinton being the first female presidential nominee in 2016 isn't progressive. It's insane. How did it take America so frickin' long to get here?

Motion seconded. When host Stephen Colbert enters into a video conference with "two female delegates from the second continental Congress," AKA Hindley and Whitmore, to tell them the great news, they're initially ecstatic. "Well, butter my bonnet, that is incredible!" Josephine Hindley exclaims in the, admittedly somewhat lengthier, 1776 version of "Yassssss kween."

But things take a sour turn when Hindley continues: "I can't believe that in the year 1816 we finally have a female president." Uh oh. Colbert's face drops and things get a wee bit awkward as he clarifies the situation: nope, he didn't say 1816, he said 2016, and he didn't say "female president" but "female presidential nominee." Hindley's outrage — bear in mind that Jacobson is playing a character so typical of her time that her idea of celebrating female empowerment involves cooking a meal for her husband and then "cleaning up immediately" — is a smart way of making us question exactly how progressive the news is. And damn, is Josephine right or what?

After all, this comes almost a full century after the "first woman elected to any national legislature in a Western democracy took her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives." How, in fact, did it take us this long to get there? Perhaps one of the issues is how long it took for women in the United States to be granted the vote at all, meaning of course it would take a while for a woman to hold any political power, never mind stand a chance of being voted in as President.

While in 1756, Lydia Chapin Taft became the first woman in America to vote, in three town hall meetings with the consent of the electorate, she was the exception to the rule for centuries. With women and politics, when it comes to America, the pattern was clear: one step forward, two steps back. In 1776, the State Constitution of New Jersey granted all property-owning citizens the right to vote, which theoretically included women. But then, in 1807, the status quo prevailed, and this right was limited to white males. No, it wasn't until 1920 that all American women were granted the right to vote — the white ones, anyway.

So yeah, it's completely insane that we've had to wait until 2016 for this. It's frustrating and it indicates, despite that one woman at your office's insistence on parroting "We don't need feminism anymore, we're equal," that she's just plain wrong. Sure, women have come a long way. But the very fact that we've had to wait until 2016 for a female presidential nominee is firm proof of centuries of institutionalized inequality. Feminism is more necessary than ever. It's only been due to the sustained effort of women's rights campaigners over the centuries that women won the vote, won the right to run for office, and are considered worthy enough to even run against men. But now this is the final push.

So yes, Josephine Hindley and Abatha Whitmore are right. We shouldn't be self-congratulatory about a female presidential nominee in 2016. We should be outraged we had to wait this long, even if the reasons are obvious.

Images: CBS; The Late Show With Stephen Colbert/Youtube