Film review of Suffragette and book review of Princess Louise
January 8, 2016
It has taken more than a century to make a film about women’s rights, but we finally have got one that shows us the unfair lives most women led in western society at the end of 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century.
The movie Suffragette is set up in London at the beginning of the 20th century and tells the story of Maud (Carey Mulligan), a low class factory worker who starts to question whether the life she is leading is the only option she has, or if she can change things, not just for herself but for many more women who are living in the same conditions.
Through her friend Violet (Anne–Marie Duff) who is involved in the women’s suffragette movement, Maud soon finds herself fascinated by these women and their revolutionary ideas, and not only decides that time for change has arrived but also that she has the power to achieve this change.
Their movement intended to attract public attention towards their cause, but the cost of that was incarceration, suffering and public humiliation. But their faith in their cause was so strong and their ideals were so firm, that they were sure that, in the end, they would win.
This movie is still relevant today for many reasons: in many countries women do not have the right to vote, and in some countries women are forced into arranged marriages (some of them at a young age of 11 or 12), while in others they are subjected to medieval punishments.
The movie also brings to mind other important women in history. Princess Louise was the sixth daughter of Queen Victoria and one of the first royals to openly speak about women’s rights. She was an active supporter of women’s rights even before the suffragette movement had started, and she opened many hospitals, schools and hospices for women. Her job was very valued back then and she was truly loved by the people.
Princess Louise: Queen Victoria’s rebellious daughter is a book written by Lucinda Hawksley, in which we can learn more about Princess Louise’s life through many detailed biographical facts that make us realise how important Princess Louise was to the triggering of the women’s suffragette movement.
This movement wouldn’t be possible without the contribution of Emily Pankhurst. She was the women suffragette movement leader and the one who used military tactics for the suffragette’s movement. After years of peaceful campaigning to try to get the vote, Pankhurst decided that the only way women would be heard by the court, the king and the parliament was through direct actions to catch people’s attention.
One of her most memorable quotes was: “We are here not because we are law breakers. We are here in our efforts to become law makers”.
Another important figure in favour of women’s rights was Mary Wollstonecraft. She wrote an essay in the 18th century entitled “A vindication in the Right’s for women” in which she rebutted the politicians and philosophers who thought women shouldn’t have access to education.
Her daughter, Mary Shelley, is famous for the horror story Frankenstein: or the modern Prometheus, but – as her mother did before she was born – she was also a supporter of women’s educational rights.
Helen Keller was another important milestone in this movement. She was an advocate for women’s educational rights and she firmly believed in the importance of the education to build a better society. She was a deaf blind person whose life was so extraordinary that was an inspiration for many people with her same condition.
She learnt to communicate when she was 8 thanks to Anne Sullivan, a special needs teacher, who taught her sign language. She was the first person with that condition to attend university and, in the following years, she dedicated her life to give conferences about the importance of the education.
Thanks to all these brave, courageous, independent and far-beyond-their-time women, society has evolved and things have improved for women in many aspects, but there is still a huge task to do in the fight for equality all around the world, especially in the so-called third world, where women’s rights are often only a dream in the distant future.