When was the last time you were in a movie theatre that erupted into spontaneous applause as the credits rolled? Or the last time you had cheeks wet from tears, and walked out of the cinema pondering the battles of generations before you? For me, that was last week at the preview of Suffragette.
It ended with applause, but it certainly didn’t start there…my unbridled, feminist within was on high alert from the first few minutes as the film opened with lines like “Women should not exercise judgement in political affairs” and “If we allow women to vote, it will mean the loss of social structure”.
Women should not exercise judgement in political affairs! It sounds like some fictional fanfare created for the big screen, but not too long ago, that was the point of view of the masses, and unfortunately this view still exists in some parts of the globe.
I ashamedly admit, that prior to being invited to attend the screening, thanks to Nuffnang and Transmission Films (sp), I was mostly unaware of the Suffragette movement, a movement that fought for the equality of women. The beneficiary of their sacrifice I hadn’t learned much or heard much about their struggle – until now.
They were branded Suffragettes: women seeking the right to vote through organised protest, although many considered themselves soldiers.
Frustrated by their social and economic situation, the women demanded equal pay and the right to vote. For 50 years they laboured peacefully to secure the vote for women, often suffering ridicule and barbaric treatment, being locked up, having their families and children stripped from them; and were inevitably left with no choice, resorting to more violent means to be heard because “War is the only language men listen too”.
They didn’t want to be lawbreakers, they wanted to be law makers. And they succeeded.
Inspired by real events, based on the true story of ordinary women who inspired the world, it made me realise that it is ordinary woman that inspire the world. They are born just the same as you and me, with no more and no less. And yet they are gripped with the courage and determination to fight for what they believe in.
Women may now have the vote in the majority of countries worldwide, and we have the Suffragettes to thank for this, but the debate about equality in the workplace and beyond continues.
Before woman had a voice, they had to fight for their freedom, and that was not too long ago. It’s pretty frightening to think that not so long ago I was considered a minority group. Me! A middle-class, white, female – a minority group!
Witnessing the Suffragettes struggle made me hyperaware of the other gross inequalities that plague our society. And I’m not sure if I should look at this with trepidation or with hope that soon everyone will have equal rights: equal voting rights, equal marriage rights, equal human rights.
Released on Boxing Day, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend this typically consumerist time, reflecting on how far we’ve come and how much further we still have to go.
Never underestimate the power we women have to define our own destinies.
Never surrender, never give up the fight.
Head here to find the movie in your local are http://goo.gl/nqGnvW and join a really beautiful community of like-minded warriors, connecting online by using the #IMASUFFRAGETTE hashtag.