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Jujitsu Suffragettes
July 3, 2013 6:46 AM   Subscribe

When the constables pulled out their truncheons, the Bodyguard responded in kind, drawing hardwood Indian clubs . . . from the bustles of their long dresses. The fight for women's suffrage was not always a metaphorical one.
posted by absalom (14 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
History: never boring.

One of the books linked to in the original post is Edith Garrud: the Suffragette who knew jujutsu and the comments section has some interesting follow-up from her descendents and sources used in research. My alma mater owns a great deal of suffragette material, and it is interesting to see the vitriol and extreme measures used against women. One pamphlet, digitized here, is Beware!: A Warning to Suffragists. It's a wonderfully snarky take from suffragettes themselves (with illustrations): "This is the wife/all men would like/She never thinks/Nor rides a bike." I wonder if any of the authors took jujitsu.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:23 AM on July 3, 2013


Fantastic timing!

I've mentioned that my mother was arrested at the NC Moral Monday protests a few weeks ago (that's her in the picture). During a visit to DC ths past weekend, we toured the delightful Sewall-Belmont House, home to the Women's Suffrage Museum. During our tour, we learned that British Suffragettes who'd been jailed proudly wore a pin or pendant in the form of a miniature prison door. The museum gift shop sold replicas, so now Mom proudly wears one.

Mom kicks ass figuratively; neato to see the ones who did so literally.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:38 AM on July 3, 2013 [12 favorites]


This is a great and very inspiring piece - I'm always amazed at what badasses the protesters of that era were.

However, I was really surprised that the author used the term suffragette throughout, since this was a derogatory term at the time.
posted by lunasol at 7:57 AM on July 3, 2013


Hm, lunasol, I've heard that term used by feminist historians, and most school kids are simply taught the word with no negative implications. I have also seen "suffragist" of course. But it does seem that as soon as women's suffrage became the norm, the term lost whatever sting it was supposed to have. The only problem it has now is that we've generally moved away from "-ette" in language.
posted by emjaybee at 8:09 AM on July 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mr. MoonPie, your mom is awesome.
posted by emjaybee at 8:10 AM on July 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Woah. Opportunity missed, Downton Abbey.

(Step aside, Iron-Man-as-Sherlock-Holmes. This story would make the best Edwardian martial arts action movie EVER.)
posted by BlueJae at 8:27 AM on July 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


This story would make the best Edwardian martial arts action movie EVER

OMG yes!

Right, needs to happen. Who's doing the treatment?
posted by aramaic at 8:46 AM on July 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


However, I was really surprised that the author used the term suffragette throughout, since this was a derogatory term at the time.

And so were "impressionist," "queer," "whig," "quaker," "fauvism" etc. etc. Suffragette has long, long, long since been reappropriated.
posted by yoink at 8:54 AM on July 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Maybe this is what Bowie was thinking of when he wrote "Suffragette City." WHAM-BAM THANK YOU MA'AM!
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:24 AM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I got chills reading the account of the Battle of Glasgow. This would be an awesome movie.

Paging Jenny Flint!
posted by mogget at 11:09 AM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Grandmother Of All Agitators
posted by The Whelk at 12:09 PM on July 3, 2013


Sometimes you just have to kick ass.
posted by Decani at 12:30 PM on July 3, 2013


This story would make the best Edwardian martial arts action movie EVER

OMG yes!

Right, needs to happen. Who's doing the treatment?
posted by aramaic at 10:46 AM on July 3 [1 favorite +] [!]


It has been dramatized for the stage.
posted by MrBadExample at 1:47 PM on July 3, 2013


Julie Andrews as MRS. PANKHURST.............................................a MATRIARCH
Helen Mirren as EDITH GARRAUD.................................................an ATHLETE
Jenna-Louise Coleman as SYLVIA PANKHURST.............................an ACTIVIST
Gwendoline Christie as KATHERINE WILLOUGHBY MARSHALL.....a LARGE WOMAN
Maggie Gyllenhall as GERT HARDING............................................a CANADIAN
Emma Watson as JANIE ELLEN.....................................................a MAD SCOT

Coming to theatres this Summer.... it's "CATS AND MICE"
posted by sarastro at 3:07 AM on July 4, 2013


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