Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Well Done, Sister Suffragettes
Today marks the 89th anniversary of the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote, so what better way to celebrate it than a look back at the Suffragettes? The Suffragettes began as a british movement (the american branch preferred the more gender neutral term 'Suffragist') of radical women who's protest techniques- marches, chaining themselves to buildings and politicians vehicles, hunger strikes, even some violence- were outre for their time.
Of course, these uppity women made the old guard uncomfortable, and the inevitable stream of misogynistic editorial cartoons followed; I particularly love how much fun the woman on the far right in the second image is having beating on the police- she's clearly having the time of her life. (I hope one day to have a reason to shout 'jump on him, he is only a mere man!' in public).
Its wonderfully inspiring to see these old pictures of women joining together for a mutual cause, unapologetic and forthright in demanding their civil rights. Also, their hats are fabulous.
Feminism is by its nature a contrarian movement- second wave versus third wave, anti porn versus sex positive, so on-but I think it would serve us well to remember, every once and awhile, what we can achieve through unity, and acknowledge the struggles & gains of the women before us.
I'll give the last word to the world's most cheerful fictional Feminist, Mrs. Banks:
Well done, Sister Suffragettes.