You don’t have to be a feminist to have heard of – or know about – the Suffragettes. The term taken from the „suffrage of women“ the collective was active in the late 19th and early 20th century fighting for women’s rights, in particular the right for women to vote, in „good old“ England.
The films focus lays on Maud Watts (Carrey Mulligan). A normal woman, for that time, silent, repressed, abused and a nobody. Married and a mother, she worked in the laundrettes since she was 7 years old. Born and raised between hot water, chemicals and an abusive boss it is only until she sees a riot of Suffragettes destroying shops windows, and in the middle of it all, her co-worker Violet. Amazed but still hesitant, Maud gets pulled more and more into the circle of resistance and finally becomes a fighter herself. A decision that doesn’t come easy and costs her more than she could have thought of.
This is one of those films why I am so curious about Women in Film, why I want to fight for this cause and try and be more aware of the situation. Women made this film. Not only in front of the camera, but as director (Sarah Gavron), writer (Abi Morgan) and producers (6 out of 10 are women). And you know what? Nobody will go and see it. I honestly hope I am wrong, but isn’t it like that. How many men out there wanna go see a „chick flick“? Well, I challenge you. Go out…see this film, take your father, your brother, your uncle, your boyfriend, your cousin. Take them and go see „Suffragette“. It’s no winy story about how poor these women were, it’s a piece of history showing how hard women had to fight to become equal with man. That was back in 1918. 98 years later women finally can vote, but still earn 79 cents to every dollar a man makes. Do they work less? NO! (And don’t come with the children’s argument! It’s not like women are sitting at home putting their feet up and resting.)
For the first time I felt like I really had to take advantage of having the right to vote, of making my voice heard. As small as I am in this pond of humans on this planet, I still am allowed to say what I think, and I will most definitely make use of my voice and go vote, be vocal about equal pay and equality. Because it isn’t a certainty for every woman out there. As the credits were about to roll, they showed when other countries allowed women to vote. New Zealand was the most exemplary with 1893…when Switzerland came along, on the other hand, I was shocked. Women are allowed to vote there since 1971! WHAT!? That’s a time my parents were already alive! That’s so crazy. That countries like Qatar (I didn’t even know women were allowed to vote there!) with 2003 or Saudi Arabia with 2015 are late bloomers, sadly is no surprise.
In the end, I guess I have to say that I am still shocked that people could think that women and men are of different worth. I must have been raised in too a good home, to be able to understand how anybody could think such a thing. Maybe it’s just because I grew up with all these rights. I don’t know anything else. But I also never learned how much it means. How much it must mean to be equal. Men are mean and women are women…but should be allowed to be strong and weak. Both genders make poor choices…and that has so little to do with gender but with who you are, and you were made to be, who society made you to be.
Please, go see „Suffragette“. It is worth watching, because it is not only a wonderfully made film, but a historically important one. I am actually asking myself why they couldn’t cash in on Award season. It should not only be #OscarsSoWhite but also #OscarsSoMasculine. Films made by women, with women in them, about women should finally get recognition. We want to see them, we need to see them. Like Maud in some way says „We are nearly 50 % of the population. You cannot oversee us any longer.“
To Maud, Emmeline and all the other women who fought for us, gave their lifes, their families, their freedom to pave a way for equality and give us the right to vote!
Thanks for Reading.