26 thoughts on “The Frock Flicks Guide to Suffragettes on Screen

  1. Shoulder to Shoulder is my favorite, especially since it included actual footage of the suffragist who threw herself in front of the King’s horse at Ascot and was trampled to death for the cause.

    Also, as far as Marjorie Quinn’s outfit: It’s legit, if exaggerated. The women of the Rational Dress Society in England donned pants to declare their independence. However, most of the outfits were pretty much same-old, same-old on top but with (very full) pants replacing skirts on the bottom.

    1. Also, it looks quite a lot like a vivandiere style outfit, as seen in commercial images and cartoons from the period, although perhaps the vivandiere in pants outfit was not actually as widely worn.

  2. The Suffrage Story: Driving one of the cars is the ‘beautiful and feisty suffragette / photojournalist’ Maggie DuBois (played by Natalie Wood). She spends almost as much time in skimpy burlesque outfits as she does driving.

    Making Our Foremothers Proud? Um…not so much

    I’m a big Maggie DuBois fan. I loved how she managed to break down Leslie Gallant little by little, using her brains, her devotion to women’s rights . . . and even her skimpy costumes.

    1. Yes, I agree! I haven’t seen the movie in many years, but I remember really liking her character. I hope we’re not judging women’s worth by the clothes they wear, that would be a bit crap.

  3. Have you seen Fröken Frimans Krig? It’s about the women’s movement in 1905 Stockholm, as a bunch of women set up a shop to combat the male dominated market.

  4. So Murdoch Mysteries and Suffragette touch upon intersectional feminism? I remember Iron Jawed Angels made a rather token effort on that front. Any other suffragette films try to be diverse?

  5. I hadn’t realized Verity Lambert was one of the creators of Shoulder to Shoulder. She was one of the original producers of Doctor Who at a time when women in the television industry had a hard time getting any respect as creators, directors, and producers. Seems fitting that she had a hand in Shoulder to Shoulder.

    Also the theme song—”March of the Women”—was written by Dame Ethel Smyth, a woman composer and a major player in the suffrage movement.

  6. As an enormous fan, I kind of feel urged to comment on the Mary Poppins text. See, I never had the idea that Mrs Banks ‘gave up’ her sufragette-status at the end of the film. On the contrary; while she tries to hide her sashes and activities in the beginning out of fear for Mr Banks his reaction, at the end she proudly displays them. Of course all thanks to Mary Poppins, who ‘saves’ far more people than just the children.

    But that’s just my opinion, please excuse the explosion of Poppins geek here.

  7. Wow, what a great collection! I’ve never heard of Up the Women before, but it looks so great! I’ll have to find it online and watch.

    Incidentally, Australian women were actually granted the right to vote in federal elections and stand for parliament in 1902, although this didn’t include Indigenous women.
    Each of the individual states granted women the right to vote, and to stand for parliament, in their own time- some earlier, some later.
    There’s more information here, on the Australian Electoral Commission website:

    I’ve always thought New Zealand was the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote, in 1893. I think that actually included Maori women as well, which is pretty incredible!

  8. I feel like I saw part of Shoulder to Shoulder when I was a kid, maybe it aired on PBS in the 70s? My mom and her friends were all into the ERA so I think that must be how I saw it. I vividly remember a scene or scenes where the imprisoned suffragists were tube-fed, it was awful. It’s only now that I realize they were in jail because of wanting to vote. I had forgotten the reason why, just the horrible force-feeding. Yikes!

  9. Thanks for this thread, ladies.

    Just as an historical reference point. Today, many women are wearing white to the polls in remembrance of our foremothers who fought and in some cases, died, to get us this right. And many women are visiting Susan B. Anthony’s grave in New York state and sticking their “I voted” stickers on it. The cemetery is kept open until 9 PM on election day and the grave is lit.

    Sisters, we do not forget.

  10. Shoulder to Shoulder and Suffragette are my favourites about the cause. I will have to see the Hillary Swank and the BBC comedy, tho.

  11. I was appalled that I learned more about the American suffragist movement from Iron Jawed Angels than I did from 12 years of history class in school, where it was like “Susan B. Anthony… Seneca Falls… 1800s… then in 1920 women got the right to vote.” I don’t seem to recall ever going over the protests outside the White House, but maybe I’m blanking on stuff we did cover??
    Anyway, Maude in Harold and Maude is portrayed as a grown-up feisty suffragette, especially in the scene where they’re trying to harass Harold’s military uncle (?)

  12. I’m sorry but Murdoch Mysteries has so much more to offer in reference to Suffrage. Not only does Margaret Haile, the first woman to run for legislative office in Canada, played brilliantly by Nicole Underhay, appear during the story arc but also Clara Brett Martin, played by Patricia Fagan, the first female lawyer in the British Empire. The Dr. Grace-Lillian Moss storyline is just a small part of the Suffrage storyline. Also, Haile received 79 votes during that legislative election. Not bad for 1902.

  13. Women in New Zealand were allowed to vote from 1893. Kate Sheppard was our most famous suffragette.
    A play about Sheppard and the Temperance movement ‘O Temperance’, written by acclaimed New Zealand playwright Mervyn Thompson, was first performed in 1972.
    In 2016 a new production entitled “That Bloody Woman” is touring New Zealand. The show tells Kate Sheppard’s story as a rock/punk musical.

  14. I know it looks weird but here’s Marietta Stow who ran for Governor of California in the 1880’s. All bustle pantsuit. (Shoot, can’t post pic)

  15. There are references to the women’s suffrage movement in the 2002-3 tv adaptation of the Forsyte Saga. The forward-thinking June Forsyte gives a speech in a suffragists’ mething, talking about the force feeding of female suffragists in prison.

  16. What about that hideous reccent sherlock episode where they turned british suffragettes into the kkk? I’m pretty sure that had many people rolling in their graves.

  17. Fun little side note: Vicky Prentiss (in the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles) is played by a young Elisabeth Hurley :)

Comments are closed.