Thursday, 15 October 2015
Film Suffragette offers fascinating glimpse of womens struggle for the vote
Suffragette offers a fascinating snapshot of the struggle of women to obtain the vote.
The film shows the oppression suffered in the workplace and at home due to the disempowerment of women in society.
The story of struggle follows the lines of many conflicts in the UK over the years. Patient appeals using the Parliamentary process falling on deaf ears, leaving those seeking justice only the streets and direct protest as their option. The suffragette line as depicted in the film was one of violent actions undertaken for a period.
The shorthand simplification of the story sees the goals achieved, following the death of Emily Wilding Davison under the King’s horse at the Derby in 1913.
The struggle for the vote in reality continued a lot longer through the First World War till 1928 before all women were enfranchised. The principle was conceded in 1918, when women over 30 with a property qualification were allowed the vote.
The film offers a snapshot of politicisation of a number of women from differing backgrounds and their struggle against injustice. Emmeline Pankhurst played by Meryl Streep makes a fleeting appearance to deliver an inspiring speech. There is no delving into the politics of the movement, with the divisions between Emmeline and Cristabel on the one side and Sylvia Pankhurst on the other.
Sylvia was much more of the labour movement, working with working class women on the ground. Emmeline and Cristabel supported the First World War and the Tories, whilst pushing for a far more elitist approach to the struggle for the vote. But this would be a very different type of film to make.
Suffragettes presents the injustice of the inequality women suffered in a straightforward way, easy to understand with resonance for the present day ongoing injustices.