Tomorrow for MOVIE WEEKEND, I shall review Suffragette. First, we should learn some suffragette facts that pertain to women in England, where our movie is set:
1. Organized groups of women fought for the vote beginning in the late 1800s. Suffragette was first used as a term of derision by London's Daily Mail, but the women embraced it and hardened the "G" to show their determination to get the right to vote. Women also had no right to their children. If they brought a fortune to their marriages, the money belonged to their husbands.
|Queen Victoria ruled from 1837 to 1901,|
but she did not have the right to vote.
2. As the fight dragged on, some of the women became more militant, especially those led by Emmeline Pankhurst. Beginning in 1912, Mrs. Pankhurst's followers chained themselves to railings, set fire to the mail in postal boxes, smashed windows, and even detonated some bombs. In 1913, Emily Davison stepped out in front of King George V's horse during the Epsom Derby. Whether she intended to commit suicide for the cause or hoped to pin a suffragette banner on the horse remains unknown.
3. Suffragettes were punished with stints in prison, during which they fought to be considered political prisoners. Denied, some protested with hunger strikes and were force fed. As a history professor of mine described it, a sort of porridge went through a tube that had been forced down the woman's throat and into the stomach. Overfed, or with the stomach unable to accept the porridge, the women vomited. The porridge came back up through their nose and ears because their mouths were blocked. Nasal tubes were also employed at times.
4. Prominent leader Emmeline Pankhurst did not expect the women who followed her to suffer alone.
Pankhurst was arrested seven times and was force fed on at least one occasion. During a public demonstration, a group of men threw stones, rotten eggs, and clay at Pankhurst and other women, and beat them. Although Pankhurst fought for women's rights for the remainder of her life, with the advent of World War I in 1914, she gave up her militancy in order to support the men who were off to war. She later lived in Canada for a time, visited Russia, and returned to England in time to see the beginning of women's suffrage in 1918, when women older than thirty (with several restrictions), were granted the right to vote.
5. In 1928, women older than twenty-one gained the right to vote in the United Kingdom. Be sure to exercise your right to vote. It was hard won.
I'll see you tomorrow with my review of Suffragette.
Infinities of love,