Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
I don't want my review of Suffragette to be too long, so I shall include some additional information on the fight for women's rights here.
In the movie, Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) meets Emily Davison (Natalie Press) in prison. Davison was a real person, and an ardent suffragette.
She partook of the violent acts designed to draw attention to the cause of suffragettes, and as a result, was jailed nine times and force fed one hundred one times. A year before her death, she threw herself down a steel staircase in jail in an attempt to end the force feeding of all the women.
On June 4, 1913, Davison attended the Epsom Derby. During the race, she stepped out in front of King George V's horse. The horse somersaulted and rose to finish the race. The jockey's foot was caught in one stirrup. Unconscious, he was dragged to the finish line, but he survived.
Davison died four days later of a scull fracture and internal injuries. Her sister suffragettes gave her an extravagant funeral.
The question is, did Davison intend to commit suicide? At the time, many people thought she wished to call attention to women's suffrage by ending her life in an extravagant manner. Others speculated that she wanted to pull down the king's horse. (The belief that the woman thought she could grab and stop a galloping horse is madness.)
Modern analysis of the film suggests that Davison hoped to attach a "Votes For Women" banner or scarf to the king's horse, although a book has been written to argue against this theory. We'll never know the truth.
Click HERE to see a video of the race on my blog
Some of you mentioned you had never heard of Emily Davison, and wondered why you didn't learn about the suffragettes in school. I think high school history courses focus more on dates and events. We probably learned the year that women earned the right to vote, but didn't see the faces of the women--and men--behind the event.
And now I want to chat about the first suffragette I met: Mrs. Banks, in the Walt Disney movie Mary Poppins. As a young--very young child--I saw that Mrs. Banks wore pretty dresses while she marched with other women who wanted the right to vote.
It never occurred to me until I watched Suffragette that Mary Poppins belittles and denigrates the cause of the suffragettes. The Banks' children are unhappy because their father works all the time, and their mother is out protesting for women's rights. Mrs. Banks is portrayed as a silly creature who learns to give up her cause and stay at home so her family can be happy. It doesn't matter if she's happy and fulfilled. Her home is the place for her to achieve satisfaction.
Victorian ideals remain in place in Mary Poppins.
Do you remember this song?
Mrs. Banks appears unharmed--and quite fashionable--although she's been to a militant demonstration. Did it ever occur to you that one plot point of Mary Poppins is opposition to women's rights?
What do you think of these lyrics? Our daughter's daughters will adore us, and they'll sing in grateful chorus, Well done! Well done! Well done, sister suffragette.
It would be nice if we appreciated those who fought for our rights, but how can we appreciate women when we've never heard of them?
Infinities of love,