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Art for your suffrage.
November 2, 2012 4:40 PM   Subscribe

"Now, in 2012, it’s possible the women’s vote could effect the outcome the U.S. presidential election. You would think we’d also have moved beyond gender stereotypes depicted in these postcards, but they’re still strong." War on Women, Waged in Postcards: Memes From the Suffragist Era
posted by sarastro (59 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's weird how terrified people were of women literally wearing pants. The patriarchy has let that go, though men in skirts are still not acceptable to it.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:46 PM on November 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


Yes, but if you just go a little further north, men wearing skirts is a cultural birthright.
posted by Strange Interlude at 4:47 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Every time I see bigoted things from the past it really strikes me how similar the arguments are to the modern arguments against gay marriage.

And every time I think that I can't believe how people don't realize they are on the wrong side of history by fighting it. In 50 years my grandchildren are going to ask if gay people really weren't allowed to marry when I was young. I hope.
posted by NerdcoreRising at 4:48 PM on November 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


It's weird how terrified people were of women literally wearing pants.

Much of the writing around women doctors in Victorian England (and Scotland) linked their professionalization with a decline in their femininity, and sometimes with insinuations about their being lesbians. IIRC, there were a number of letters in The Lancet about Elizabeth Garrett Anderson's surprisingly tasteful dress (for a woman who was studying medicine!) and a "fear" that she would become masculinized by her studies; a novel fictionalized Sophia Jex-Blake as a very, very mannish woman; and male medical students sometimes walked out of classes rather than share a lecture room with an odd woman (writing aggrieved letters about it, of course). The pants trope, at least in Britain, may well be a veiled way of accusing these women of being unfeminine enough to demand equal rights.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:54 PM on November 2, 2012


Now, in 2012, it’s possible the women’s vote could effect the outcome the U.S. presidential election.

I always found this to be a somewhat bizarre phrase journalists write about women. Women aren't a decisive minority, they were 53% of the 2008 electorate. Of course the women's vote will affect the outcome of the electorate! So will carbon-based life forms.

You can't talk about women as a bloc. Race and marital status is a much more important distinction than gender here. Republicans have won white men and white women for every year since 1976, except for when Bill Clinton tied among white women in 1992 and won among white women in 1996. Women, by themselves, aren't swinging back and forth, how they vote is dependent on whether unmarried and minority women turn out as well as their white married peers.

The women that are realistically more pivotal are the unmarried and minority women who may or may not turn out. If they show up, Obama is in. If they don't, they better stock up on birth control.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 5:09 PM on November 2, 2012 [22 favorites]


Several of these anti-suffrage cartoons seem to rather clearly suggest that what men were really afraid of was having to do housework and childcare or, perhaps, simply losing control of their unpaid household servants.
posted by Anitanola at 5:12 PM on November 2, 2012 [32 favorites]


In 50 years my grandchildren are going to ask if gay people really weren't allowed to marry when I was young. I hope.

NerdcoreRising, you may be glad to know that the Onion interviewed your grandchildren on the subject in 2083.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 5:15 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's weird how terrified people were of women literally wearing pants.

What's even weirder is that the Edwardians, with their Classical educations, would conflate voting and pants-wearing. Why, the noble Greeks and Romans, with their Democracy and Republic, eschewed pants-wearing as a Barbarian Custom. Perhaps it is time to rid ourselves of the alien shackles of pants and return to a freer, more voting-oriented time.

Well, for the male land-owners. Everyone else had to get by with just the "no pants" thing. But, still, I appreciate that you understand my logic.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:23 PM on November 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Suffrage ain't everything. Just ask a modern-day Afghan woman.
posted by islander at 5:58 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wasn't allowed to wear pants in school till the seventies. Just sayin'.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:08 PM on November 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


In the same or similar vein as the postcards, here's a children's book Ten Little Suffragettes.

Despite the subject matter, there is something charming about the art. Very Campbell-Kids in style.
posted by honestcoyote at 6:10 PM on November 2, 2012


Several of these anti-suffrage cartoons seem to rather clearly suggest that what men were really afraid of was having to do housework and childcare or, perhaps, simply losing control of their unpaid household servants.

And what boggles my mind is that these artists never once conceived that a woman might feel the exact same way about these tasks as they did. Every day, I give thanks to the trick of fate that landed me where and when I am, despite the other challenges and injustices of this time because I rather think I would have gone all Yellow Wallpaper if I'd been forced into a housewife role.

(There's absolutely nothing wrong with being a housewife, just that it's not for me.)
posted by smirkette at 6:16 PM on November 2, 2012 [15 favorites]


could effect the outcome

>Women aren't a decisive minority, they were 53% of the 2008 electorate.

I might be mistaking the meaning of the first phrase, but if not isn't that what the statement says? 53% of the electorate could effect the outcome, not affect. That is to say, women as a bloc could effect the election of a candidate. Maybe I'm giving the original writer too much latitude?
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 6:18 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


“Do hormones drive women’s votes?” That headline is not from a newspaper published in 1892 or 1922, but from CNN online in 2012. Posted just last week, the story survived all of seven hours, weathering ridicule from the blogosphere, before the news hub “determined that some elements of the story did not meet the editorial standards of CNN.”

Or, possibly, CNN came to the bitter realization that they are not yet completely immune to feelings of shame....
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:21 PM on November 2, 2012


The crying baby one actually made me really angry.
posted by joannemerriam at 6:23 PM on November 2, 2012


I honestly don't know if this one is a parody or not.
posted by sarastro at 6:26 PM on November 2, 2012


Several of these anti-suffrage cartoons seem to rather clearly suggest that what men were really afraid of was having to do housework and childcare or, perhaps, simply losing control of their unpaid household servants.

It's like the line about homophobia being the fear that gay men will treat you the way you treat women. Here it's even more straightforward role reversal — the fear that women would treat you the way you've always treated them.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:27 PM on November 2, 2012 [12 favorites]


How can anyone take seriously someone too ignorant to know the difference between "effect" and "affect"?
posted by dickfitz2 at 6:53 PM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Regarding the fear of women in pants: My great-grandma, who died in 1982 or 1983 at the age of 102, wore pants at least once -- there's photographic evidence -- but denied it later in life. She also entered a high school debate in which she argued that man was not meant to fly. Her daughter, my grandma, is now 96 and was born before women had the right to vote. It's amazing how much the world changes.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 6:53 PM on November 2, 2012


How can anyone take seriously someone too ignorant to know the difference between "effect" and "affect"?

Because it's basically a grammar issue? I'm a former English teacher and twitch to see basic errors in grammar and mechanics, but if I ignored anyone who made a common grammar error, I would be ignoring at least 70% of the people in my life. Grasp of the subtleties of written language do not necessarily equate with a lack of understanding of weightier matters.

While your semantic argument is relevant, its tone takes away from your valid point. Not everyone is a trained social scientist, and not every blog can afford a copyeditor.
posted by smirkette at 7:06 PM on November 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


I wasn't allowed to wear pants in school till the seventies. Just sayin'.

My highschool, like most in Australia, had a required uniform. One that had no option for pants for girls except in sport (which they then decided were not allowed to be worn anywhere but the sport lessons). They had culottes, and shorts, but in winter girls were expected to wear stockings or shorts. Given that I took a boat to school, skirts were not my favourite thing.

When one of us wore the boy's long grey pants, she was threatened with suspension. Which meant eleven of us turned up the next day in said pants (and several of us were in line for Dux and had vocal parents and what not). The rules weren't mentioned again.

That was the mid to late 90s. Sure, we had shorts options, but were still expected to wear skirts, regardless of weather.
posted by geek anachronism at 7:27 PM on November 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


I wasn't allowed to wear pants in school till the seventies. Just sayin'.

Women could not wear pants on the floor of the United States Senate until 1993. Boggles the mind.
posted by something something at 7:32 PM on November 2, 2012 [14 favorites]


How does bullying newspapers into taking down stories reporting on peer-reviewed, published studies with large sample spaces help women's rights?

Women's right to vote and do every other thing they choose in society should have nothing to do with whether the fluctuations in hormone levels associated with menstruation cycles have an affect on how they think. It's a fucking RIGHT.

Men's hormone levels fluctuate too, and men's testosterone levels influence their tendencies in all sorts of bizarre ways. It doesn't matter. Why should we be disallowed to discuss what scientists discover about this?

It just feeds the MRM types with more ammunition for their bizarre conspiracy theories.

If anyone ever tried to claim that women's rights should be diminished BECAUSE of how their menstrual cycles affect the tone of their thinking, that would be an occasion to get up in arms.

The press is chock full of utter inanities about the election, much of it egregiously sexist. Why are the internet armies focusing on suppressing stories about actual science?
posted by lastobelus at 7:51 PM on November 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Women could not wear pants on the floor of the United States Senate until 1993. Boggles the mind.

Looks at recent XKCD cartoon, majority Republicans.....
posted by Confess, Fletch at 7:53 PM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I like how the top the top half of this anti-suffragette placard is exudes male resentment, while the bottom half is a really cute YouTube clip waiting to happen.
posted by mcmile at 7:54 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


There was more content to that story than the study being reported on. That's generally the case with reportage, actually.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:56 PM on November 2, 2012


@LogicalDash

I tried to track down the actual story, but only found the excerpts mentioned in the OP link. Those excerpts didn't contain anything that advocated against women's right to vote. They did have that annoying dorky heh-heh-look-what-science-says tone, but what reportage about science doesn't?

What was the content of the story (besides reporting on the published study) that caused people to insist it be removed?
posted by lastobelus at 8:03 PM on November 2, 2012


Thanks for posting this. I feel a deep debt of gratitude to the women who were willing to brave spitting mobs and prison sentences and forced feedings so that I may cast my ballot on Tuesday.

It's sickening to see the cowardice and hypocrisy of the men who opposed suffrage. Women were supposedly feeble-minded and inferior and suited for the kitchen, yet they were going to dominate men if only they could vote and wear pants?

That ... really hasn't worked out too well.
posted by desjardins at 8:12 PM on November 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


At my uniform-having high school, by senior year the girls had a pants option, but it was the girls pants option, which meant mom-jeans style khakis which the girls I knew all vocally hated. Previously the girls had skirt and skort options, but I guess the administration decided they were too suggestive? The one super-quiet girl who always looked down continued wearing her oversize mid shin-length skirt without censure. The unisex shorts were deemed by both sexes too dorky, just that one math nerd wore those. Also there were yearly changes in rules for shirts for both genders, the super-comfy 3-button shirts were seniors-only by he time I got in, then it was oxfords or polos, then just polos, then just polos but not the wrong color blue polos that were introduced last year, except the ones with team or club logos. Then I think we could wear oxfords again, and if you were cool you'd try to leave those as untucked as possible and (for the gentlemen) with as many buttons undone as you could get away with. Nothing says suave like a half-tucked 3-year old polyester oxford with three buttons undone.

Oh and we got extra credit for registering to vote, boys and girls.
posted by eurypteris at 8:21 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


How can anyone take seriously someone too ignorant to know the difference between "effect" and "affect"?

I wonder why people love to totally dismiss other people's thoughts and arguments, based on their minor grammatical and spelling errors. Or even based on major grammatical and spelling errors. But I'm starting to think it's just a way that people can say to themselves, "I don't have to listen to this person, because they have failed my personal English competency standards. That's good, because I didn't want to listen to them, anyway."
posted by Coatlicue at 9:00 PM on November 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


Every time I see bigoted things from the past it really strikes me how similar the arguments are to the modern arguments against gay marriage.

I was just watching Ghosts of Ole Miss (please don't dismiss it because it's ESPN, their 30 for 30 series has had some really good documentaries) while I was at the gym a few days back and what's really remarkable is that a lot of the (white) people involved still don't want to talk about it or admit their role in the riots. The past isn't dead. It's not even past. As the saying goes. It makes the whole "Racism is so dead so we can use whatever slurs we want" line so popular elsewhere on the internet seem even more deliriously petty. If people can't even take responsibility for their racist actions from 40 years ago, I don't think it's safe to drop N-bombs yet.

But yes, a lot of the arguments are the same, and that struck me, too. Heck, a lot of the integration protests even look the same. This one from Little Rock even features "COMMUNISM!" and "ANTICHRIST!" signs that wouldn't be out of place at a Tea Party rally today.

We never learn anything, that's what's really striking.

James Meredith turned into an amazing old man, too.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:21 PM on November 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Women could not wear pants on the floor of the United States Senate until 1993.

And thus a new love for Madame Secretary Clinton's pantsuits was born.
posted by Space Kitty at 9:28 PM on November 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


joannemerriam: "The crying baby one actually made me really angry"

This is not an uncommon reaction to crying babies. It happens to me a lot.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:46 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have heard the story about the time my (baby boomer) mom wore pants to high school. It seems the teacher said he wished he could tell the girls to wear pants on the field trip the next day and my mom just misheard him.
posted by ckape at 11:00 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Suffrage ain't everything. Just ask a modern-day Afghan woman.
posted by islander at 5:58 PM on November 2 [1 favorite +] [!]


What point are you trying to make?
It may not be everything, but universal suffrage should be a fundamental human right, regardless of gender or race.
posted by koakuma at 11:06 PM on November 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Much of the writing around women doctors in Victorian England (and Scotland) linked their professionalization with a decline in their femininity, and sometimes with insinuations about their being lesbians.

This reminds me Terry Pratchett's discworld, where it says that while it is generally perceived that witches rites often involve dancing naked in the moonlight, it should be noted that almost all the literature on the subject of witches, was written by wizards, alone in their towers, late at night.
posted by anonymisc at 11:45 PM on November 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


Curiously, the two major pop songs that come to mind that have used the word "suffragette" both feature bizarre and somewhat inscrutable lyrics that have, essentially, nothing to do with women's suffrage.

David Bowie's Suffragette City
Paul McCartney's Jet

But here's a collection of Suffrage Songs and Verses, from the late 1800s to early 1900s, that is really interesting.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:49 PM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


In this, as in so many things, the great Pavel Konnolsky writes the definitive piece
posted by fallingbadgers at 11:51 PM on November 2, 2012


Kind of hilariously reminiscent of current anti-feminist rhetoric: the postcard about halfway down that features, right next to each other, one "suffragist" sign reading "Down With Men" and another reading "Husbands For Old Maids." Make up your mind which one we're supposed to want, guys.
posted by ostro at 12:00 AM on November 3, 2012


Anyone else have the song "Sister Suffragette" (from Mary Poppins) stuck in their head after reading this?

And what boggles my mind is that these artists never once conceived that a woman might feel the exact same way about these tasks as they did.

This times a million.
posted by littlesq at 12:02 AM on November 3, 2012


Iron Jawed Angels
posted by homunculus at 1:15 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


In 50 years my grandchildren are going to ask if gay people really weren't allowed to marry when I was young. I hope.

One of those times I can be genuinely proud of my own country, for being the first in the world to make marriage gender neutral. Even if it took about three decades longer than it should.

Once it did finally happen it happened without much fuss either; the main Christian party sort of grumblingly accepted it in the end, their voters long since having accepted the idea, while all the out and out bigots just faded away. Typical Dutch compromise though, with civil servants who don't want to marry gay couples being allowed to not do so, playing the martyr without having to suffer for it.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:29 AM on November 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


It is of course very easy to belittle beliefs of the past. We are so much beyond that stuff, right? And yet: Obama had a two digit lead in the women's potential voting till he seemed so passive in the first debate, after which, Romney, alpha male, good looking seriously narrowed anticipated vote by woman, according to every poll taken....explain that if the past is truly gone.
posted by Postroad at 4:26 AM on November 3, 2012


Looks at recent XKCD cartoon, majority Republicans.....

Confess, Fletch, that diagram is like "A History of the US Congress Conceived of as the Cross-section of a Shoggoth." Informative, yet horrifying. Although, to be fair, without the partially-digested giant blind cave penguins.

And, of course, no pants.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:43 AM on November 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


A couple years ago, I discovered my grandmother marched for women's right to vote.... sure wish I'd known that when she was alive, so I could have asked her about it! My uncle told me that he remembered being hauled along as a kid, and even being tossed into a jail cell with her a few times; apparently, she handled all the housework, cooking, laundry and caring for her then-5-children plus her marching just fine, and all without help. Apparently the only thing my grandfather was in charge of was showing up at the jail and taking the whole family home.
posted by easily confused at 6:55 AM on November 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


Despite its cartoonish appearance in the linked article, the forcible feeding of suffragettes on hunger strike was chilling. From a description by E. Sylvia Pankhurst (triggers for violence, be warned):

"SHE was then surrounded and held down, whilst the chair was tilted backwards. She clenched her teeth, but the doctor pulled her mouth away to form a pouch and the wardress poured in milk and brandy, some of which trickled in through the crevices. Later in the day the doctors and wardresses again appeared. They forced her down on to the bed and held her there. One of the doctors then produced a tube two yards in length with a glass junction in the center and a funnel at one end. He forced the other end of the tube up her nostril, hurting her so terribly that the matron and two of the wardresses burst into tears and the second doctor interfered. At last the tube was pushed down into the stomach. She felt the pain of it to the end of the breast bone. Then one of the doctors stood upon a chair holding the funnel end of the tube at arm’s length, and poured food down whilst the wardress and the other doctor all gripped her tight. She felt as though she would suffocate. There was a rushing, burning sensation in her head, the drums of her ears seemed to be bursting. The agony of pain in the throat and breast bone continued. The thing seemed to go on for hours. When at last the tube was withdrawn, she felt as though all the back of her nose and throat were being torn out with it.

"Then almost fainting she was carried back to the punishment cell and put to bed. For hours the pain in the chest, nose and ears continued and she felt terribly sick and faint. Day after day the struggle continued; she used no violence, but each time resisted and was overcome by force of numbers. Often she vomited during the operation. When the food did not go down quickly enough the doctor pinched her nose with the tube in it, causing her even greater pain."

A form of legitimate rape. Because women demanded the vote. That's a struggle that I honor every time I cast a ballot.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:28 AM on November 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


Great piece, and I liked the conclusion a lot:
“We operate with this zero-sum mentality, which is, if women gain rights, men lose them,” Palczewski says. “You see the same sort of idea that if people of color or ethnic minorities make gains, whites therefore lose something. So if men only understand their identity in relationship to being bigger than women, then it’s a trade-off. You see it in dozens of anti-suffrage postcards, showing men being hurt if women advance. Human beings seem to operate with this mentality where if you expand the rights of some, it diminishes the rights of others, instead of collectively expanding the rights of all of us as a people.”
posted by languagehat at 7:29 AM on November 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


Several of those postcards remind me of "Men's Rights" arguments and their depictions of what they think women really want.
posted by inigo2 at 8:12 AM on November 3, 2012


Anyone else have the song "Sister Suffragette" (from Mary Poppins) stuck in their head after reading this?

Yes. Mrs. Banks, at least as portrayed in the movie, reminds me so much of Mrs. Jellyby, from Dickens's "Bleak House" -- worrying so much about the welfare of a tribe across the world while her own child repeatedly gets his head wedged in the stair bannisters. To demand justice, rights, responsibilities, and meaningful work is to be portrayed as disordered, insufficient, risible. If only the angel of the house would GET BACK IN HER SPHERE, he said, grunting as he tried to stuff her back where she belonged--everything would be FINE.

(As Virgina Woolf wrote, "You who come of a younger and happier generation may not have heard of her—you may not know what I mean by the Angel in the House. I will describe her as shortly as I can. She was intensely sympathetic. She was immensely charming. She was utterly unselfish. She excelled in the difficult arts of family life. She sacrificed herself daily. If there was chicken, she took the leg; if there was a draught she sat in it—in short she was so constituted that she never had a mind or a wish of her own, but preferred to sympathize always with the minds and wishes of others. Above all—I need not say it—–she was pure. Her purity was supposed to be her chief beauty—her blushes, her great grace. In those days—the last of Queen Victoria—every house had its Angel.")

Take off that suffrage sash, woman! The children need a tail for their kite! See? All better. Have something to eat (whether you like it or not); it's for your own good. Because, as we recently heard in a big campaign speech, "It's the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right. It's the moms of this nation -- single, married, widowed -- who really hold this country together." So get back where you belong.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:14 AM on November 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


How can anyone take seriously someone too ignorant to know the difference between "effect" and "affect"?

Just be happy they don't throw effect/affect away entirely and jump into the impact/impacted pool. That, is what makes my sensibilities shriek.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:15 AM on November 3, 2012


Iron Jawed Angels

GOOGLE ALICE PAUL.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:44 AM on November 3, 2012


lastobelus, I couldn't find the original article either, but I think the issue may have been that it was framed as women's hormonal cycles affecting their voting decisions. As you noted, men also have hormonal cycles; as far as I can tell, the story that was ultimately taken down (not the actual study perhaps) didn't say "humans' hormonal cycles...".

There have been quite a few people just this year publicly saying women shouldn't have the right to vote because they are too emotional. I know there's a distinction between "hormones affect voting decisions" and "women are too hormonal to vote," but the former easily gets sucked into the latter when there's irresponsible pageview-pandering reporting like this.
posted by queensissy at 10:25 AM on November 3, 2012


Seeing as there have been quite a few people just this year publicly saying women shouldn't have the right to vote because they are too emotional

There have been Republicans saying that. A relevant point 3 days before the election.
posted by inigo2 at 10:32 AM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Several of those postcards remind me of "Men's Rights" arguments and their depictions of what they think women really want.

Recently, A Voice for Men posted an approving article entitled The Fraud of Feminism, about a book of the same name, by one E. Belfort Bax. Standard practice for them, of course, but with this difference: the Fraud of Feminism was published in 1913.
It is a fascinating piece of work. Perhaps most remarkable about it is that as you read, you will not find yourself so much transformed back to a different age with different modes of thought. But rather you will read observations and conclusions that will, word by word and line by line, be largely indistinguishable from what what you would see today from any critical thinker when offering a candid review of the essence of feminism. You will see repeated references to the same shaming tactics, lies, distortions, revisions of history, use of proxy violence and methods of manipulating the blue pill masses we continually find ourselves discussing today.
Which basically tells you everything you need to know about the so-called Men's Rights Movement.
posted by jokeefe at 11:49 AM on November 3, 2012


Grasp of the subtleties of written language do not necessarily equate with a lack of understanding of weightier matters.

*does

;)
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 11:56 AM on November 3, 2012


It shouldn't be too hard for most everyone on mefi to find an acquaintance or relative who has decided to not vote.

Please take them to the polling station.

It's the non-voters who will determine the outcome of the election.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:37 PM on November 3, 2012


queensissy, lastobelus: Here you go.

Lady Constance Lytton, suffragist and author of "Prisons and Prisoners," is worth reading up on if you're interested in a firsthand account of a suffragist in jail for her beliefs. The closing words of her work:

"And why are these women imprisoned? Because they and many thousands, or rather several millions, of women with them, have asked for the vote, but the Government would not give it to them. ... Women listened to the pledges of the Government and they seemed to hold out a certainty of the vote. Now, when these promises have all been broken, women have taken to burning empty houses, railway stations and stacks, though they have respected life and refrained from wounding, as men would do for far less a cause. Yes, and they will burn buildings until they are treated rationally as an equal part of the human race.

"I hear the cry go up from all parts of the country, "How long? How long?" The time is fully ripe, when will women be represented in Parliament by the vote, equally with men?"
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:41 PM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Great piece, and I liked the conclusion a lot:

“We operate with this zero-sum mentality, which is, if women gain rights, men lose them,” Palczewski says. “You see the same sort of idea that if people of color or ethnic minorities make gains, whites therefore lose something. So if men only understand their identity in relationship to being bigger than women, then it’s a trade-off. You see it in dozens of anti-suffrage postcards, showing men being hurt if women advance. Human beings seem to operate with this mentality where if you expand the rights of some, it diminishes the rights of others, instead of collectively expanding the rights of all of us as a people.”


I've been noticing this in modern discussions of privilege too. While (like suffrage) there are cases where privilege is used directly against others in zero-sum fashion, in most cases the best path to reducing issues of privilege is expanding them to those with less, yet as humans it's fairly intuitive to focus on privilege-having as the problem, rather than on expanding it. Suffrage makes a good example of why more privilege, not less, is usually the way forward.
posted by anonymisc at 3:24 PM on November 3, 2012


I am going to go ahead and posit that politically charged postcards were the turn of century equivalent of the forwarded kind of racist email. Man has forever sought to irritate his relatives with unsolicited calls to reactionary craziness. I have absolutely no evidence for this.
posted by passerby at 5:17 PM on November 3, 2012


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