Suffragette movie criticisms & inaccuraccies


I apologize about it seeming a bit disjointed I didn’t want to do a simple bullet point list but I didn’t feel like planning this out with nice segways or something either.

I assume many of you went to see the fairly (not so now) recent Suffragette movie portraying the “the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement” and to little surprise, it was exactly what we expected. I’ve seen it once in cinemas and there were SO SO SO many moments which I could criticise so I just decided to watch it again on a pirated version so that I could take notes of quotes, concepts & moments in the movie which I think you might find quite rant inspiring. I’ve also just kinda put things in loose categories to make things a bit easier. Please excuse some of the quotes being a word or two off. The gist is still identical.

Section 1 The Portrayal of the Suffragettes & Anti-Suffragettes

Likely the most evident example of this is how the only explicitly Anti-Suffragette woman is portrayed, she is shown as a fat grumpy looking hag, while most of the suffragettes are significantly more attractive and only have blemishes to garner sympathy.

But what is even more unfair is how all the anti-suffragette men are portrayed, they are basically all horrible woman abusers. The major example is the protagonist’s employer who OF COURSE is a sexually abusive asshole, he is also the man who suggests for the husbands of any suffragettes to “clip em round the ear” and in the next scene you see one of the suffragettes with a black eye because OF COURSE. Later you have one of those “empowering” scenes where the protagonist puts a hot iron on his hand while he is touching her because again OF COURSE YOU DO.

There is also how all the deplorable things suffragettes did were just kinda brushed over and seen as justified. This was obvious in how one of the early scenes the protagonist gets her day fucked up by the suffragettes but this is somehow shown as an awakening of sorts.

Another way you can see how Anti-Suffragettes were slandered is the three quotes that were placed at the beginning of the movie all of which I can guess were specifically chosen to be the most outrageous and wrong by today’s standards.

“Women do not have the calmness of temperament or balance of mind to exercise judgement in political affairs.”

“If we allow women the vote it will mean the loss of social structure, women are well represented by their fathers, brothers, husbands.”

“Once the vote is given women it would be impossible to stop at this women would demand the right to become MPs, cabinet ministers, judges.”

Section 2 The Portrayal of things as Horrible for Woman & Great for Men

The easiest way to spot this was the CONSTANT complaining about the rights that men had that women didn’t without a single mention of the corresponding reasons & responsibilities. This, of course, included the right to vote where civil responsibility & conscription were never once mentioned but also they complained about (irony alert) child custody, yet financial responsibility was again never mentioned. The wage gap thing was also complained about without the mention of men’s additional financial responsibility. This, is what she said in response to being asked how much she makes: “13 shillings, for a man it’s 19 and we work a third more the hours,” NO mention of the fact that her husband and the rest of the men aren’t actually doing the same job of ironing and folding but heavy lifting and repairing etc.

Also, on the topic of working at the laundry there was CONSTANT complaining about the conditions there when really it can’t be compared to jobs that men of that class did & still do which are far more dangerous, like mining or forestry etc..

Section 3 The Slander of Men

This relates greatly to the previous 2 sections where much of what I mentioned there could fit in this too but there are a few examples which fit specifically into this category. As mentioned before, the protagonist’s employer was sexually abusive but what is really insidious about that is how it was shown as if no one but the women gave a shit as if none of the men would’ve or did protest and as if she couldn’t report that to the police to get him punished without having to give him serious burns.

The other large way men were portrayed as horrible was through the police. When a huge crowd of women shown to have previously vandalised and destroyed property start all shouting “LIAR!” and resisting police orders to move back they all complain that some of them got hurt when police had to deal with what was even called a riot by one of the suffragettes later in the movie. The whole time this scene was going on you could tell it was intentionally done to make the police look like horrible people and suffragettes like innocent victims by focusing on the scratches of their face and playing sad music in the background. This happened again later in the movie to a lesser extent but basically anytime the police were shown they were always shown as bad guys.

Here is also a quote from the protagonist that just shows how wonderfully they view men: “We break windows, we burn things, ’cause war is the only language men listen to, ’cause you’ve beaten us and betrayed us and there is nothing else left.”

Section 4 Miscellaneous

There are other things that aren’t expanded on enough or fit neatly into categories enough to justify being in their own category and I’ll go over them here.

The protagonist is loved by her son a lot more than the son loves his Dad and the Dad is shown as a bad parent in both comical and serious ways and later the Dad gives the son up for adoption. The husband also locks her out of his house at points in the movie as well. You can say that is justified but the movie doesn’t make it out like that.

I did also find it interesting how the protagonist actually physically attacks her husband when he has never done the reverse but this is of course brushed over lightly.

There was not a single man in the film to be shown to do entirely good things where the suffragette women were all perfect characters whose only possible flaw was being too generous or too dedicated. Not even the suffragette man was that perfect as he locked his suffragette wife in the chemical closet (admittedly to prevent her from hurting herself).

This last quote isn’t in a section because it doesn’t fit in on I just thought it might be a great summary of the entitlement and hypocrisy of this movement & its modern day equivalent.

“What gave you the right to stand in the middle of a riot & watch women beaten & do nothing?”

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<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="154508">7 comments</span>

  • Always been curious. The protagonist is working class, I believe? Her spouse is also, I assume. Is it mentioned in the film at any point that he doesn’t have a vote, either?

      • Sorry, missed that bit (still didn’t spot it on second reading), but thanks for confirming my bias. On other thing, does Carey Mulligan’s character ever meet with Emmeline Pankhurst, and if so, does this exchange occur?:
        “Oh no, I don’t want plebs like you having the vote, dear. Just us nice middle class ladies.”

        • Oh? I thought I did mention it, must’ve forgot wrote a while ago. Carey who played the protagonist did meet Pankhurst in the film while they were smuggling Pankhurst away from the police. Their encounter basically goes: more experienced suffragette introduces her, Pankhurst greets her and gives her praise or whatever, she gets driven off. Nothing was mentioned about class differences, basically the classes were men & women.

  • Hollywood fosters an “us against them” mentality to a very broad extent. Rarely does a TV show or movie have conservatives, Repubs, soldiers or police who are kind or reasonable. Is it any wonder our youth are more increasingly defiant, irreligious, and boys want to be women? In practically deifying those who hold “leftist” views they continue to paint people as stereotypes instead of opening a window of understanding that we’ve all got strengths and weaknesses, elements of heroes and failures. That black and white thinking denies our individual humanity, and in doing so fosters the notion that humanity itself is greedy, as a whole oblivious to animal care or balanced environmental concerns, incapable of controlling our base desires or reproductive functions; a pox upon mother earth. It lowers our expectations, increases our cynicism, and engenders despair that can lead to self-destructive behaviors. No right or wrong, no good or bad, and absolutely no nobility of honor to rise above our circumstances and failings. Instead our protagonists are Seinfeldesque beings who’ve never helped another for the sheer unselfish joy of it-and our society is all the worse off for that perfidious, pernicious, and short-sighted agenda.

  • Mother Jones had their number.

    “Indeed, Mother Jones even argued that suffragists were naïve women who unwittingly acted as duplicitous agents of class warfare; she wrote in 1925 (after national suffrage had been achieved) that “the plutocrats have organized their women. They keep them busy with suffrage and prohibition and charity.”

    I posted this under the mush job on this movie the Guardian posted:

    “Is this the same Emmeline Pankhurst who was the posh social parasite who went around handing out white feathers to working class teenagers who had no option of throwing them back in her face to hound then into a war her dainty, precious protected female ass would never be called on to fight? Equality my ass.”

  • Just you wait until you see Sherlock’s “The Abominable Bride” in which Sherlock assumes a man abused a woman because she murdered him and goes on a long rant about how justified these terrorists were. And that is all after making it look like men back then lived lives of leisure while the women worked!

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