Perhaps it was somewhat well-timed that the British film Suffragette hit theatres earlier this year, to mostly positive reviews and some backlash about its misguided promotional campaign. This Newsstand magazine article provides a slightly more nuanced review, examining various perspectives on the movement in Britain.
But what was Canada like? Although Canada does not have the same history of the slave trade (like the US) or the vast tradition of imperialism like many European countries, it was still a nation that was founded on colonialism, the destruction of indigenous populations, and the disenfranchisement of ‘unwanted’ minorities. Until the mid-20th century, women of Aboriginal descent, Asian descent, black/African-American heritage, and East European descent were classified as second-rate citizens. Indigenous women were the last to receive the vote, in 1960. So how do we take the lessons we learned from Suffragette, with its neglectful lack of portraying suffragettes of colour? Could that story still have been told with cameo appearances by Sophia Duleep Singh as well as Emmeline Pankhurst?
It’s a question we must ask ourselves repeatedly.