By Rachel Benbrook Mason, Regular ContributorOctober 26, 2015
image via ew.com
The new movie, Suffragette, chronicles the historical struggle women faced to gain the right to vote throughout the United Kingdom. The amazingly talented actress, Cary Mulligan, plays a fictional working class mother in London who becomes drawn into the struggle for suffrage after seeing many injustices done towards women in the laundry factory she’s been working in since childhood.
As she becomes immersed in the struggle, she and the other women take advice from the historical figure, Emmeline Pankhurst, played by Meryl Streep. The women often resort to drastic measures to get their message heard. One woman even sacrificed her life to bring attention to the struggle.
The film portrayed the gritty reality of the fight women had to battle in order to gain the right to the ballot.
Mulligan’s character, Maud West, literally loses everything after her husband refuses to allow her back in her home after she was arrested while protesting. Later, she also learns that he’s given their son up for adoption. This aspect of the film highlights that the vote meant so much more to many women then simply electing leaders. The vote meant they could have some say in government, and eventually have custody rights over their children. Although Maud West is a fictional character, these events were very real for many women of the age.
My favorite part of the film comes at the very end during the credits. A list of countries around the world showcases the years in which women were given suffrage. Sadly, there are a few nations who are still awaiting the ballot for women. Although the movie showcases the struggle that occurred in the 18-1900’s for women in the UK and the USA, there are places in the world where this struggle is still unfolding.
Women in some countries have been granted the right to vote as little as ten years ago, and some are still waiting for their day to cast a ballot.
I think the movie is excellent in its portrayal of an important struggle in British history. The suffragettes would stop at no odds to continue to push for their rights. Their slogan “never surrender, never give up the fight” embodies our present day struggle that still exists for many women around the world. Even in nations where women have been given the right to vote, many of us take these sacrifices for granted and sometimes choose not to show up at the polls at all. I believe we must remember the past, use it to drive us as women to become politically engaged in the present, and use our votes to create better policies and a better world for women.
Have you seen Suffragette? What did you think of it? How can we help spread awareness about this issue?
Rachel is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and the University of Leeds where she studied Political Communications. She is a passionate advocate of strong friendships, caffeine, social justice, current events, travels and adventures, as well as all things peanut butter. She enjoys watching Parks and Recreation, as well as teaching English to new language learners.
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