Emily Wilding Davison’s actions made her one of the most famous suffragettes of her time. A century of speculation about her death has focused on her possessions at that time. In particular, the return railway ticket in her purse has led many historians to suggest she had no intention of committing suicide that day. However, Elizabeth Crawford’s latest research strongly suggests that ‘special offer’ return tickets were the only ones available on Derby Day, and so this piece of evidence can be discounted. However, other recent research into her death has largely favoured the view that she did not commit suicide on that day, but was instead aware of the possible consequences of her actions and was ready to face them: this being arrest, injury or death. Like FEMEN protesters a century later, she was using her body as a means of protest.
Whatever her motivation, Davison’s death remains one of the most iconic moments of the militant suffragette movement, caught on camera, in the years immediately before the First World War. Thousands of women, and some men, took part in the women’s suffrage campaign in these years, with hundreds of them being arrested as their demonstrations became more imaginative. The 1911 census boycott, for example, saw many thousands of women physically absenting themselves from being ‘at home’ on census night by taking part in all-night roller-skating, midnight picnicking in parks, and camping out in caravans. Davison herself hid in a broom cupboard in the House of Commons, thus enabling her to put this exclusive address down as her place of residence. After the failure of successive governments to pursue the women’s suffrage agenda, the campaign became more militant. Mostly, the actions were aimed at property, such as setting fire to post boxes (a crime for which Davison was imprisoned), breaking windows and burning bastions of patriarchy such as cricket pavilions.
The State dealt with these actions, not by engaging in dialogue, but by throwing the women into prison. The more militant suffragettes appealed to be made First Division prisoners, the category afforded to political prisoners rather than common criminals. When this was denied, they started hunger strikes...
If the flow of money is any indication of the world’s values, then the perpetuation of both fossil fuels and militarism are among society’s top priorities. The International Monetary Fund recently reported that world governments spend $2 trillion annually subsidizing fossil fuels, almost 9% of all annual national budgets. In the past two decades, the world has also seen a steady rise in global military spending, largely driven by enormous defense spending in developed nations. These two budget priorities divert funding away from social services such as healthcare and education.
These trends are alarming, but the activist movements working for both peace and sustainability are growing and gaining momentum, with women at the forefront.
The Nobel Women’s Initiative brought leaders and peace activists from around the world together in Belfast, Ireland from May 28th to May 30th for their fourth biennial conference, “Moving Beyond Militarism & War: Women-driven solutions for a nonviolent world.
Photo: Members of the This Is Personal community deliver your petition to Representative Lois Capps (D-CA)
We asked you to speak up, and tell Congress to stay out of women's health decisions -- and you, along with 5,442 other members of the This Is Personal community, responded loud and clear. You guys rock!
Thanks to you, we told Congress that our decisions about birth control, pregnancy, and abortion are not up for grabs, and we won't stay silent while some lawmakers try to strip women of their right to make their own health decisions.
Recently, some members of the This Is Personal community paid a visit to Congress to deliver the petitions in person.
Still fired up?
Take Action: Tell your state legislator that 40 years after Roe v. Wade, it's still your decision.
April 9 is Equal Pay Day--a reminder that women workers still make less than their male counterparts. Around this time of year, my university's Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance usually holds a Pay Equity Bake Sale to highlight the wage disparities between men and women. The price of each baked good varies by customer to reflect the wage gap. In the United States, women make about $0.77 for every $1 earned by male colleagues; therefore, female students pay $0.77 for a brownie while male students pay $1. Some people love this event, others hate it. What I have always liked about the bake sale is that it not only reflects wage differences between sexes, but races as well.
On the occasion of the publication of an anthology of her writing and the accession of a NY Wages for Housework archive at Mayday Rooms in London, Marina Vishmidt interviewed Silvia Federici on her extensive contribution to feminist thought and recent...
Jessica Valenti is sick and tired of the question, “Why are you so angry?” We’re all aware of the “angry feminist” stereotype that’s been bandied about for decades; anger and aggression are prominent qualities of the caricature version of feminism.
Deanna Dahlsad's insight:
I've personally written about this before; the fact that we must continue to have this conversation is as exhausting as the war against women is. *sigh*
Anti-choicers aren’t even trying to sound reasonable anymore. Since the seventies, the anti-choice movement has gone to great lengths to try to spin their fear and loathing of female sexuality as anything but what it is. Obviously, the most popular gambit has been to claim to have concern for fetal life, but there have been other popular variations: Pretending to have public health motivations for removing evidence-based information from sex education, pretending to believe condoms don’t work, pretending to be concerned about women’s mental health if they exert control over their own bodies. While these derailing tactics are sadly not going anywhere soon, it does seem lately like there’s an uptick in anti-choicers just straight up admitting that they don’t think women should be having sex for any other reason but procreation.
This past week have been a veritable buffet of incidents that demonstrate that anti-choicers simply have a problem with female sexuality and that everything else is noise.
Example #1: Only virgins have a right to control their own bodies.
Example #2: Always be ovulating.
Example #3: The female orgasm is unholy, unholy I tell you!
[Get the details of each by clicking the headline!]
After returning from this school trip I started to notice how much the girls at my school suffer because of the pressures associated with our gender. Many of the girls have eating disorders, some have had peers heavily pressure them into sexual acts, others suffer in emotionally abusive relationships where they are constantly told they are worthless.
I decided to set up a feminist society at my school, which has previously been named one of "the best schools in the country", to try to tackle these issues. However, this was more difficult than I imagined as my all-girls school was hesitant to allow the society. After a year-long struggle, the feminist society was finally ratified.
What I hadn't anticipated on setting up the feminist society was a massive backlash from the boys in my wider peer circle. They took to Twitter and started a campaign of abuse against me. I was called a "feminist bitch", accused of "feeding [girls] bullshit", and in a particularly racist comment was told "all this feminism bull won't stop uncle Sanjit from marrying you when you leave school".
Especially important to me is the possibility of change for older men. I have been involved in an ‘Ageing Men’s Group’ since the 1990s. Our project is precisely to explore how ‘ageing men are changing men’. One conclusion is that retirement or semi-retirement from waged work– has allowed us to redefine relationships with partners in ways that are more equal and also enabled more caring relationships with children, grandchildren, male friends and others. We have also learned that it is possible to redefine relationships between men, in less competitive and anxious ways. Influenced again by feminist ideas and practices, we have constructed a small male public in which it is possible to be less secretive about life’s problems and more accepting about our differences. Around the group there is also a network of friendships, sustained by meetings, phone calls or the Internet. I have learned, perhaps for the first time to trust other men, even in a collective context.
One should also note that this is not simply a matter of “feminism having won, so just let it all go away.” For the findings also reveal that “total family income is higher when the mother, not the father, is the primary breadwinner.” Thanks, pink collar ghetto, unequal pay, and continuing notions of gender inequality in the workplace. Not to mention all the BS traditional notions of motherhood.
Never mind the facts, however; let’s just get to the million dollar subtext question Liza Donnelly put forth regarding the 37% — the married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands: Can Husbands Handle Being Outearned By Their Wives?
...If you want to dismiss all this as the ramblings of irrelevant talking asshats on Fox (for which I will gently remind you that their rhetoric is often too dangerous to be dismissed), you’ll need to also know about this other study, called In Sickness and In Wealth...
While this study is interesting, what I am noticing is that it seems to have a life of its own as it gets picked up by news outlets. For many, it may be misread as “women are now out-earning men,” and the media will go through another period of collectively wondering if we need feminism. Then, the media wants to focus on what they perceive to be the personal dynamics of the story. You can hear the commentators–men and women alike–dying to ask the question, and they usually do: how will it affect men if they are out-earned by their wives? What will it do to the marriage? Can men handle it? Will their feelings be hurt, their egos bruised? What should women do?
Green Left Weekly Paid parental leave is a feminist issue Green Left Weekly Feminist commentator Eva Cox has supported Abbott's scheme. She has said it is based on industrial context, rather than Labor's “welfare” scheme.
This is a story about intersectionality. It's going to displease a few people who don't know what intersectionality is, annoy a few people who do, and enrage a load of people who don't use Twitter. But I checked with my privilege, and my privilege said it was OK. (Don't know what "check your privilege" means? This might turn out to be a problem for you, too).
Last week, an argument on Twitter started in the manner characteristic of, possibly unique to, that medium. Someone called historian Mary Beard a racist. Helen Lewis, the deputy editor of the New Statesman, asked what made Beard a racist. A small but persistent Twitter intersectionality-core rounded on Lewis, accusing her of mindlessly defending the establishment against outsiders, effectively using her platform in the mainstream to defend racists within feminism from the critical voices whom feminism ought properly to champion and defend.
Former Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher was the first and only woman premier Britain has ever had. But despite being a leader in a crucial time for women’s rights internationally, the Iron Lady never considered herself a feminist. She said to her adviser, "The feminists hate me, don’t they? And I don’t blame them. For I hate feminism. It is poison."
The women born between 1905 and 1909 were the same young girls who grew up during the years of the women’s suffrage movement in the US. They would have seen the struggle, heard the talk, and knew they could have greater freedom of choice in living their lives. They too would see, if not quite be, part of the flapper movement. Activism and parenting being almost completely at odds with one another, some may have opted not to have children — and at this time, birth control, thanks to Margaret Sanger, was becoming a realistic option.
And, just as these young women were perhaps thinking of starting a family…
Along comes The Great Depression — the one of that started about 1929, not the one some say we are approaching now — and the birthrate fell about one-tenth globally from the rate during the “prosperous” 1920′s. In America, the birth rate dropped below the replacement level for the first time in history.
I always knew this was the longest revolution, one that would take a century or more to unfold. It's upended most of our lives, and significantly improved so many of them. Nothing will ever be the same. Yet there's still such a long way to go. I doubt I'll see full gender equality in my lifetime.
By Ruth Rosen, a former columnist for the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, is Professor Emerita of History at the University of California at Davis and a Scholar in Residence at U.C. Berkeley. She is the author, most recently, of The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America.