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Suffragettes! Who was your favourite one?

(46 Posts)

Thinking about the fact some women became able to vote 100 years ago today, who are your most notable suffragettes and suffragists?

I would want to attend a party with Sophia Duleep Singh inews.co.uk/news/long-reads/sophia-duleep-singh-indian-princess-rockstar-suffragette-forgotten-history/

I would have idolised Annie Kenney en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Kenney who was active for working class women, and who was a lesbian.

I'd hang out with Ethel Moorhead www.dundeewomenstrail.org.uk/womens-trail/ethel-moorhead/ as she was active close to me, was arty and a trouble-maker.

HelenDenver Tue 06-Feb-18 15:32:22

Umm, dunno. But didn't want your thread to be lonely!

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Tue 06-Feb-18 15:45:17

Leonora Cohen. I saw her dress on display in a museum once. She made it herself as far as I know. Wore it to all the parties she was invited to and caused a furor. Fantastic.

BelaLugosisShed Tue 06-Feb-18 16:54:54

Not strictly a Suffragette but none the less a brilliant Woman
www.historyextra.com/period/victorian/ada-nield-chew-englands-forgotten-suffragist/

hackmum Tue 06-Feb-18 16:56:48

Sylvia Pankhurst. Because she was quite the lefty as well as being in favour of votes for women.

boatyardblues Tue 06-Feb-18 16:57:01

I don’t have a special fave, but this thread header really makes me wish there was a set of Suffragette trading cards or a big poster like all those damned Marvel superhero ones. I’d buy it!

borlottibeans Tue 06-Feb-18 17:04:44

I still want to be Sylvia Pankhurst when I grow up. She was a proper activist and recognised that the vote on its own wasn't going to fix things for working class women. She went on to be an anti-fascist campaigner and MI5 considered her a massive pain in the arse. When she died in Ethiopia in the 1960s she was given a state funeral in recognition of her work there.

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 06-Feb-18 17:07:02

@boatyardblues that is an excellent idea! There definitely should be a suffragettes top trumps set.

@wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool that is an amazing dress and a great story with it as well.

I did think of top trumps cards- I'm a big pokemon fan as well.

The suffragettes who knew ju jitsu would probably fare well.

I'm quite a fan of Bessie Watson www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/the-incredible-story-of-bessie-watson-the-youngest-suffragette-1-4347803 and recently learnt about Rosa May Billinghurst inews.co.uk/news/uk/rosa-may-billinghurst-disabled-suffragette-abused-police-force-fed-prison/

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 06-Feb-18 17:20:35

Yes, I saw a very funny edition of Drunk History about Edith Garrud and the Suffrajitsus, it was brilliant - informative and very funny without being disrespectful.

I think she would be one of my top picks.

powershowerforanhour Tue 06-Feb-18 17:24:18

I think Sylvia Pankhurst too. It is sad how the family were pulled apart by their differing ideologies about feminism and then the war (I have sympathies with both "sides", though the white feather thing was pretty cruel). I'm glad she carved out a new life for herself in Ethiopia.
Watching the Suffrages film, I felt so sorry for the lead character (which Carey Mulligan played well). I know she was fictional but it must have been so hard for the women whose families disapproved, especially to the point where their children were taken away and they had no right to even see them. To fight for this even though it meant you might lose your children, your marriage, your family, even a proper home to go to at night...such fortitude even though their hearts must have been breaking.
Also the physical bravery of the women who carried on through the cat-and-mouse forcefeeding; and Emily Davison's action. I haved always loved horses so sort of disapproved...but it takes some courage to do that, and it was for a reason.

Miffer Tue 06-Feb-18 17:25:06

Another vote for Sylvia Pankhurst, amazing woman decades ahead of her time.

boatyardblues Tue 06-Feb-18 17:43:24

Saw this photo recently and the grim irony was not lost on me.

BrownJenkins Tue 06-Feb-18 18:51:31

I don't have a favourite. All I know is there were women, from all backgrounds, who fought for us. They all did their bit, in many different ways. Sadly, some of them will never be remembered because we don't know who they were.
I am grateful to every single one of them.

Theowlinthepussyhat Tue 06-Feb-18 19:00:17

I've just been reading about Margaret Mackworth, 2nd Viscountess Rhondda. She sounds a fascinating women, she and her father were on the Lusitania when it was torpedoed, but managed to survive:

www.walesonline.co.uk/lifestyle/nostalgia/how-remarkable-lady-rhondda-kept-12567008

mimivanne Wed 07-Feb-18 00:02:12

Lady Constance Lytton is a favourite,a frail aristocrat who damaged her heart whilst force fed in disguise as her alter ego Jane Wharton.
'She risked her life to reveal the class prejudice at the heart of the treatment of suffragettes'

FreezerBird Wed 07-Feb-18 00:10:43

Can't find Top Trumps (surely it must exist?!) but there are these:

Suffragette playing cards

IndominusRex Wed 07-Feb-18 06:56:19

Can I throw in a cheeky vote for Mrs Banks from Mary Poppins for promoting the cause to every generation of children for 50 years?

In real life I'd probably go for Emily Davidson.

Kazzzer Wed 07-Feb-18 08:07:24

I'm going to be controversial here and risk the brickbats - but what the hell.

Not a favourite – when it comes to historical figures I don’t do favourites - but, these two, though thought of as important at the time, are now forgotten.

Nowadays we are often given the impression that there is something inherently left wing about womens' rights – despite the brocialism currently so dominant in some sections of the left, so I’d put forward Mary Sophia Allen who was one of Britain’s first policewomen, and became the leader of the Women’s Police Division. For her work in policing she was awarded an OBE. As a suffragette she was jailed 3 times and was one of those force fed in Holloway Prison. She was also an out and proud lesbian at a time when this wasn’t socially acceptable. She was also a fascist, first in Rotha Lintorn Orman’s British Fascist Party, later in BUF.

Also let’s not forget Rotha Lintorn-Orman. She was in the very first Girl Guide troup – they joined the Boy Scouts by using their initial rather than their first names on the application form at a time when the Scouts didn’t allow females to join. She served in the army in France as a nurse in WW1 and was decorated for bravery not once but twice. She was the first woman to found a political party in Britain – The British Fascists. Over 50% of the membership was female – the total membership was over 200,000. This was a time of great strife in Britain, and the women in her party were trained to deal with trouble in the same way as the men. When the general strike was called in 1926, the public were surprised to see squads of well drilled and armed women taking to the streets prepared to take on what they saw as the Bolshevik threat. The party manifesto also called for women to have the vote on the same franchise as men, rather that the unequal franchise which was granted by postwar government whereby women only received the vote after the age of 30 and with other restrictions added.

Rotha too was also a lesbian and was the basis for one of the lead characters in Radclyffe Hall’s lesbian classic “The Well of Loneliness”.

When Rotha’s party was supecceded by Oswald Moseley’s British Union of Fascists, that too attracted huge support among women – so much in fact that he had to tell women members not to wear black skirts for fear that the British press would label his party “the Black Skirts”.

It’s important to remember these women today when we live in a world where history is rewritten to create a narrative with which we feel comfortable. The truth though is that history is complex, and narratives a rarely what they appear to be on the surface. Many of us will have great-grandmothers, grandmothers, and mothers who were on the far right, and who saw themselves as fighting for womens' rights too. For them the two were not incompatible.

Since WW2 however most have sought to paper over this period in their lives – for quite understandable reasons - but if we are honest, how many of us know what our forebears really got up too? Though feminism certainly had many left wing women in its numbers, feminism itself was not historiclly a left wing movement, but rather a movement for all women.

RatRolyPoly Wed 07-Feb-18 08:17:53

Really really interesting post Kazzzer, thank you.

I was just going to chime in with Cicely Hamilton, the actress and protagonist of many a "suffrage drama".

MsP0b Wed 07-Feb-18 15:53:43

My daughter is due next week and will be getting a suffragette name.

MaximumVolume Wed 07-Feb-18 16:29:49

Thought you might like this quiz: www.royalholloway.ac.uk/aboutus/our-past-campaigns/women-inspire-highlights/suffragettequiz.aspx

Amortentia Wed 07-Feb-18 16:54:49

How about Marion Wallace Dunlop, she was basically an early day Banksy, although her graffiti wasn’t a drawing it was the Bill of rights on the House of Commons walls. She sounds like she was hard as nails.

Hmm. That quiz says I'm Emmeline Pankhurst. I'm not entirely sure about that...
Fun, though!
What did everyone else get?

RatRolyPoly Wed 07-Feb-18 17:37:30

Ooh, I got Edith New, window-smasher of Downing Street :D

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