Making a Spectacle of Suffrage: The National Woman Suffrage Pageant, 1913
Sarah J. Moore, Journal of American Culture 20, no. 1 (Spring 1997)
Era: Post-Suffrage Era | Media: Pageants and Parades
A discussion of the first national woman’s suffrage pageant of 1913, which was sponsored by NAWSA, the National American Woman Suffrage Association. An elaborate combination of theatricality, allegory, decorative effect, and radical politics characterized the spectacle, which the organizers self-consciously positioned at the intersection of art and the production of meaning and the construction of femininity. The pageant galvanized the highly turbulent debates on the role of women and underscored the woman question as a topical political issue. With its careful choreography, its public challenge to fundamental standards of feminine behavior and its re-contextualization of feminine allegorical imagery within the political arena, the pageant marked a turning point in US suffrage activities.
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