SADIE HAWKINS DAY,
an American folk event, made its debut in Al
Capp's "Li'l Abner" strip November 15, 1937. Sadie
Hawkins was "the homeliest gal in the hills" who
grew tired of waiting for the fellows to come a
courtin'. Her father, Hekzebiah Hawkins, a prominent resident
was even more worried about Sadie living at home for the
rest of his life, so he decreed the first annual Sadie Hawkins
Day, a foot race in which all the unmarried women pursued
the town's bachelors, with matrimony the consequence.
By the late 1930's the comic strip event
had swept the nation's imagination and acquired a life of its
own. Life magazine reported that over 200 colleges
were holding Sadie Hawkins Day events in 1939, only two years
after its inception. It became a woman empowering rite at
high schools and college campuses, long before the modern feminist
movement gained prominence. Outside the comic strip, the practical
basis of Sadie Hawkins Day is that women and girls take the initiative
in inviting the man or boy of their choice out on a date, typically
to a dance attended by other bachelors and their aggressive dates.
When Al Capp created the event, it was
not his intention to have the event occur annually on a specific
date because it inhibited his freewheeling plotting. However,
due to its enormous popularity and the numerous fan letters Capp
received, the event became an annual event in the strip, always
occurring during the month of November, lasting four decades.
In many localities the tradition continues.