Secondary Source

Op-Ed: The Suffragettes Were Rebels, Certainly, But Not Slaves

Ana Stevenson. "The Suffragettes were Rebels, Certainly, but not Slaves," The Conversation, October 8, 2015.

Era: Post-Suffrage Era | Media: Commentary, Essay, Film, Video

This editorial by Dr. Ana Stevenson, published on The Conversation, discusses the media controversy surrounding the 2015 film Suffragette and its use of the Emmeline Pankhurst quote, “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave.” Promotional material for the film, which stars Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan, used Pankhurst’s words, sparking debates about racism, feminism, and historical context.

In the piece, Stevenson presents a history of antislavery and women’s rights and links this history to current discourse about intersectionality and the film. She argues that “to understand the suffragettes, we need to consider what they said and why they said it; to view them as the fallible products of their time as well as the radicals they were.”

The official trailer for Suffragette can be found below:




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