To cleanse the palate

You can look at some anti-suffragette cartoons from the early 20th century, courtesy of Therese Oneill at The Week.

One of the most notable things about the arguments put forth by the anti-suffragette movement was how weak its position was. Anti-suffragette arguments relied heavily on emotional manipulation and downright hateful nastiness. Humor was a much-used weapon against suffragettes. They were easy to depict as embittered old maids, brutal scolds, and cigar-smoking transvestites.

(20th Century London)

Yep. You have your graceful pretty women who don’t want no stinkin voice and then you have your ugly gawky women running around messing everything up. Pretty obvious which one is the right choice, isn’t it!


  1. Al Dente says

    That picture is signed “Harold Bird.” Methinks Mr. Bird cherished his own vote.

  2. hjhornbeck says

    I love that women of the First Wave treated their activism like it was a military campaign, right down to giving medals of bravery. But this bit of doggerel is worth quoting:

    Mummy’s a Suffragette
    And I am no one’s pet
    Oh! Why am I left all alone
    To cry and suffer yet.

    And here I’d have you note
    My mummy wants a vote
    If [she to quod?] ‘should have to go,
    Then how do I get on. Wot O!

  3. hjhornbeck says

    Also, holy shit:

    This press photograph shows the damage caused by an attempt to blow up Holloway Gaol in December 1913. According to a report in ‘The Times’ the next day, two loud explosions at around 9.30pm caused two holes in the wall and broke the windows of surrounding houses. The attack was thought likely to have been carried out by members of the Women’s Social and Political Union to attract publicity for the suffrage campaign.

  4. Robert B. says

    edithkeeler @ 4:

    Oh, the second comment at the link. At first I thought you meant Goodbye Enemy Janine, and I was very confused.

    Yeah, the superior, nonspecific tones of Christian Persecution Complex are ringing loud and clear in that comment thread. Thankfully, the faction telling them they sound ridiculous (or just incomprehensible) seem to have a majority.

  5. left0ver1under says

    In the film “Inherit the Wind”, the character Henry Drummond said:

    “Madam, you may vote but at a price. You lose the right to retreat behind the powder puff or your petticoat.”

    Did women ever want to hide behind the powder puff or petticoat? Or like the burqa, were they forced to wear it? Was it ever a “right”?

  6. smhll says

    Yes, it hadn’t really struck me until recently that when women finally got the vote in all the states in the US that there were still lots of people who were speaking against the idea.

  7. jose says

    “ugly gawky women running around messing everything up.”

    Pretty much like this, right?

    Ugly, unladylike, fat, and much bigger than the man. And let’s not leave angry and hysterical out!

    Pretty obvious which one is the right choice, isn’t it!


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