I was watching my secret girlfriend, Rachel Maddow, and she mentioned there was a place to submit recommendations for which “dead woman” should be honored on the $10 bill. Trying to find said site, I did a Google search and the first result was this Wired Magazine article:
To be honest, I did not spend much time reading through it, so maybe they explain the title in the way that does not feel infuriatingly placating. However, I was immediately taken aback by the title. Sure, it is progress. But a “big win”? It’s a big win in the way that plucky 90’s underdog-sports-team-makes-good portray that one win against the mean, skilled, rival team: it is an exciting step forward but after years and years of being tripped on the field, suffering through spit-shakes during the “good game” line, and forcing a cheery “it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about fun!” after yet another game where the score resembled the acceleration statistics of a muscle car, it barely starts to tilt the scales toward fairness, let alone a “big win.” Yes they may have the championship trophy, but it is just one blip in the endless line of those before (and most definitely those after) which will still be for that other team.
That said, I am glad for this step. So, who is your vote for first woman on U.S. currency? The only rule I know of is that she must be deceased (bummer, because RBG would have been in my top 5). Off the top of my head I was thinking, in no particular order:
- Harriet Tubman (what is the chance of getting a POC in addition to a woman?)
- Eleanor Roosevelt
- Sally Ride
- Maya Angelou
The one I am seeing suggested that I really hope it is not: Ayn Rand.
On a super tangental side-note, because that’s how I roll: I was trying to find data to support this, but I would be interested to know where the $10 falls in popularity of US currency because I was wondering what the significance of that particular denomination might be. In my experience, $100 has prestiege because it telegraphs wealth and can actually be difficult to spend (also, cocaine); $50 is similar to $100—projects some wealth, difficult to break—but definitely lacks the same prestige(like the Prince Harry of high-roller currency); $20 is what comes out of most ATMs (or MAC machines for the Jersey crew) and feels like the most “normal” denomination; $1 is obviously very common and useful but also has a connotation of strip-clubs and is most likely to end up wadded up in the bottom of my purse or my lint trap because I forget it was in my pocket; $2 is the weird cousin who everyone is always excited to see at family gatherings but who never remembers birthdays and who you later realized did not chip in for the dinner tab, even though non of the rest of you ordered or drank that last bottle of wine.
So that leaves $5 and $10. They are both large enough that it is exiting when you find one in a coat pocket, but are rarely going to be enough to pay for something by themselves. Is the lack of symbolic meaning a benefit or a liability? Are those the bills that just get shit done without any baggage? Or are they just forgettable?