By this point, two years after they debuted on Broadway, every musical theatre fan and even non-theatre people (if there were ever a thing) have heard of the smash hit musical Hamilton. I think it is safe to say that the majority of pop culture followers have all heard at least one song, or at least part of a song from the album, at one point or another.
Now, I could go on and on for years about how amazing I think each song is, or how amazing the OBC was, or how great the characters were developed. However, I want to hone in on three very important characters. Not because they drive this story of Alexander Hamilton's life, (even though 2/3 of them are part of the reason we know his story today) but because in one song they stole the show in an amazing, über feminist way.
I present to you all: The Schuyler Sisters.
The Schuyler sisters consist of Angelica, Peggy (Margarita), and Eliza (Elizabeth) Schuyler. Angelica (originated by Renée Elise Goldsberry), Peggy (originated by Jasmine Cephas Jones), and Eliza (originated by Phillipa Soo) were first fully introduced to us 5 songs into the musical, (Alexander Hamilton doesn't count because they are not introduced by name yet) in the appropriately named song, "The Schuyler Sisters". The Schuyler Sisters is the first song where we are fully introduced to these three Nasty Women. In one song, they embody what it means to be a feminist. If you've never heard the song before, there's a studio version of it on Spotify or YouTube, but here are the three icons at WORK during last year's Tony Awards (of course with Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr). Do be aware that they cut the beginning half of the song for timing purposes.
Now that I am 100% positive that you have not been living under a rock and have been exposed to this masterpiece, here, I present to you, a line-by-line breakdown of how I have come to believe that the Schuyler sisters could have possibly been the OG Nasty Women:
Now I feel like again it is my duty to explain, in case there was someone who did adapt to life under a rock. This is what Urban Dictionary defines a Nasty Woman as. It was a term used in a negative connotation towards Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Presidential Election. Rather than letting a hateful person turn that into a negative term, feminists coined the term and made it their battle cry, the word that encompasses everything a feminist is: a fighter of a woman who won't conform to societal gender roles and expectations in the workplace, in the public eye, or in one's personal life. Women who want to be treated equally to men, but if they are smarter than the man they go up against, they expect to be treated as such, not as 'smart for a woman,' but as an intellectual. These women will not cower and will not accept that they can't do something because it is "not becoming" or "not lady-like," and they will put men and/or women in their place if needed.
1. Nasty Women Seek Change (Revolution)
Now, as to the video: What you don't see in this clip, is that we begin with Aaron Burr setting the scene in Downtown New York City. This is nothing major that the Schuyler Sisters say or do, but it's the pure fact that although they 'aren't supposed' to go downtown, they do anyway because that is the way they can watch all the guys at work- aka the revolution that is forming.
2. Nasty Women Will Be A Part Of The Change/Leading Change/Fighting For Change
The way Nasty Women in 2017 are drawn to social justice issues and fighting for what is right and are on the social forefront of change, so were the Schuyler Sisters. They were sneaking into the city constantly to get even a glimpse of the action and be a part of the revolution (as much as women could get involved in that time period). They also were smart enough to recognize that change and revolution were coming and that they were fortunate enough to be right where it was happening, which is happening now in 2017 with the Feminist Movement. Especially, again, in major places like NYC and DC.
3. Nasty Women Seek New Ideas And Excitement
The Schuyler Sisters, more specifically, Eliza and Angelica, being older, see the shouting in the square as new ideas in the air. Peggy, being younger, in the beginning, sees the city as what she is taught to think- war and violence. Where Peggy has been trained to see war and violence, Eliza and Angelica see change. They want to be there for the change.
4. Nasty Women Know What They Want
Here we really discover that Angelica is the mastermind behind this all- being the oldest, she holds the most power in this trio. It was her idea to sneak into the city, Eliza is mostly on board but still seems a little unsure, and Peggy is still just trying to do what she's told by her father but also her older sisters. But by the end, they're all kick-ass women who believe in change and revolution. Eliza asks a pivotal question in this moment: remind me what we're looking for. This is where we see the true reason the girls have traveled so far. She's looking for a mind at work. Angelica's not looking for a man to sweep her off her feet romantically, she's looking for someone to sweep her off of her feet intellectually- the true sign of a Nasty Woman.
5. Nasty Women Won't Entertain Ignorance
Enter Aaron Burr, attempting to schmooze and charm his way into Angelica's interests, as he often does, trying to charm his way through life.
6. Nasty Women Will Call You Out
Alas, Angelica sees right through it. She knows he's not on her level of intellect and sees him for his true intent- her family's money and status.
7. Nasty Women Are Intellectuals
HERE IS MY FAVORITE PART IN THE WHOLE SONG. Here, Angelica, instead of sticking to gender roles of that day's society and playing the quiet, obedient woman who doesn't speak out, she challenges that. She takes on Burr in a way that says, "you must have no idea who you're dealing with". She has a dream of equality for men AND women (as do ALL Nasty Women). She also has immense faith in her own intellect and her ability to change things within the government due to her family's high social status. She is incredibly well educated on 'men's things' such as the way the government works and is well-read on major/new topics within the government at that time (i.e. Common Sense, The Declaration of Independence,etc.) She was also intuitive and "woke," I guess you could say, enough to recognize that all men are created equal was excluding women, whether it was meant to or not.
8. Nasty Women Stick Together/Attract Other NW
And finally, we have three kick-ass nasty women. Eliza and Peggy have seen Angelica's views and are fully on board, being exposed to the world and the revolution in the way they have now been. From this point to the end of the song, which is just repetitions of the last two original verses and then they bring the song to an end with their names again... "Angelicaaaa/Elizaaa/AndPeggy/The Schuyler Sisters/We're looking for a mind at work..."
There you have it! These women were amazing women who saw and recognized the change happening in their country and were at the forefront of it while they were still young! There's so much more development to Angelica and Eliza throughout the entire show that we don't see it all in one song, but wow, if that's not a great intro to these women!
While I do in the future plan on writing a 'sequel' to this that includes ALL of the Schuyler Sister's top lines in the entire show, @ Lin-Manuel Miranda I'm still waiting for you to let me know when I should expect YOUR sequel- the story of JUST Eliza, Angelica, and Peggy even when they're not related to A-Ham himself! I guess we'll never know...