Friday, 1 March 2013

The Plight of Pankhurst

Eva Gore-Booth
Eva Gore-Booth, by Constance Markievicz

There are so many misconceptions, but who do we blame?

Feminists are often given a bad name. This is not necessarily because people don't agree with their views, however, but rather that they don't  know the truth. So many misconceptions are buried within the 'feminist' label: they all hate men; they're all lesbians; feminists don't want children; they don't wear make-up.

Yes, I am sure there are feminists who can adhere to the above allegations. But some of us only conform to one or two of the stereotypes, and others none at all. It is all about choice.

Can such misunderstandings really be helped though when feminists are often displayed in negative light?

Take the first wave of feminism, for example, with the Suffrage Movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Emmeline Pankhurst was notorious in her radical appproaches to campaigning. It is through the Suffragettes that the women's movement in the UK is most remembered for its almost-rampage approach. But not everybody who fought for equality relied on violence to take action.

Eva Gore-Booth was a wonderful activist and fantastic suffragist. But because she chose to operate a pen over her first, her name has gone unremembered. Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that what Pankhurst did was wrong. On the contrary, I'm very much in support of her ways. It is, instead, both the media and education at which I'm angry for only choosing to focus on the (arguably) negative aspects of feminism. They say violence never solves anything; I beg to differ, and so would Pankhurst.

However, Gore-Booth's efforts, along with the energy of the suffragists as a whole, is often overshadowed by the suffragettes. While Gore-Booth turned her back on her friendship with Pankhurst when the latter took a step more radical, Gore-Booth's distributions of pamphlets and constant writing of letters - the more 'rational' methods of campaigning - were  just as monumental in the progression to the end of women's oppresion.

It annoys me greatly that so many people just think feminists are crying out for attention and looking for an excuse to conduct a rebellion. Until these accusations are stamped out, we will never truly be able to succeed in our struggle for equality, or, in some cases, superiority.