A Stroll in History: Suffragette Postcards

I recently came upon a scattering of old suffragette postcards via the Atlantic and I thought I’d share. Some are pro and some are anti, and I’m betting you’ll be able to figure out which are which! I didn’t even know this was a thing! There are more here as well. Enjoy!

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Meyli

    Oooh these are interesting. I’m surprised there are children in some of them. I’ve just never seen or heard of children being part of the this movement – always adult women. But I’m certainly not well-versed in voting history.
    But I like it – these little girls grew up into voting women :D
    My favorite is of the girl who ‘wants to speak for herself at the polls’. Damn right!

    • Whirlwitch

      Portraying children in adult roles was a popular theme at the time.

  • eamonknight

    Yes, give the women the vote, and before long men will be caring for babies!!!
    Wait, that actually happened, didn’t it? I guess the alarmists were right!

    Oh the huge manatee!!

    • Composer 99

      Well, since I love love LOVE taking care of my little guy (just snuggled with him until he fell asleep then put him to bed) I for one am glad men care for babies (and toddlers, &c &c &c) these days.

  • AnotherOne

    The “Origin and Development of a Suffragette” one looks like it was conceived by Debi Pearl.

    • Arakasi_99

      Could be… Should we assume that the duplex is implied?

  • AnotherOne

    And by the way, there is a small but seemingly growing (in my anecdotal experience) number of fundamentalist Christians who don’t believe women should have the right to vote. For example, http://stevenandersonfamily.blogspot.com/2010/11/why-i-dont-vote.html

    • Saraquill

      Isn’t that rather shooting many of their agendas in the foot though? Then again, if less of them vote, then that ideally means less politicians trying to turn the country into the Republic of Gilead.

      • NeaDods

        It’s an interesting catch 22. If the women vote, they’re showing autonomy and possibly “cancelling” the man’s more manly vote and that’s bad. But if they stay home and only Hubby votes, then its only his vote against all the progressive men and women voting, which is worse.

      • jemand2

        This is why I am suspicious of things such as voting-by-mail projects.

        Because then it is very easy. The husband just fills out two votes, ta-da! More if he has daughters >18 in the house!

      • Beroli

        I don’t think there’s really a significant difference between “the husband fills out the wife’s absentee voter ballot and she signs it” and “the wife goes in and votes according to the instructions the husband gave her,” from the perspective of people like that. To make a stand for their warped principles, they need to act as though women did not have the right to vote.

      • JJ

        The difference is that in the privacy of a voting booth only the wife knows how she actually voted. Even a woman living under the authority of her husband, in private might vote by her own convictions. I can’t help but think this is the real fear of letting women vote.

      • Djiril

        Exactly!

      • Leigha7

        If the wife goes in and votes for who her husband told her to vote for (aside from the fact that has the ability to vote for someone else if she chooses), she has to at least be familiar with the names of the candidates, unless he simply tells her to vote Republican. Even if she echoes his vote, there’s a better chance she at least has some idea of what’s going on, especially when there are issues on the ballot, not just candidates.

      • Gillianren

        Heh. I fill out my boyfriend’s. Of course, it’s after discussing everything with him and ensuring that I’m filling it out according to his wishes, then I make him sign it. It’s the only way to be sure that he’ll vote at all. I’m generally in favour of vote-by-mail, though, because it’s a heck of a lot easier to vote. There are drop boxes all over the county, so you don’t even have to use a stamp.

      • AnotherOne

        Actually some fellow Christians pointed that out in the comments, and she said she was doing her duty because she already had three sons who would grow up to vote and she would probably be having more, so just by having (male) kids she was multiplying her vote! Sadly, I’m not kidding. That’s exactly what she argued. But yes, it’s encouraging that that kind of thinking has so little traction. It does scare me to hear it mentioned, though, because I *never* heard anything remotely like that growing up in a very conservative homeschooling environment. But now, as an adult, I occasionally hear the idea brought up and debated in the circles I left. Most people in those circles still think women should vote, but the fact that the topic is even broached tells me the idea is having ripple effects.

        In terms of voting, though, the two main views I hear among my conservative/fundamentalist friends about voting are either the relatively common conservative evangelical discourse about using your votes to elect conservative pro-lifers to take back the country for God, or, less commonly, a Two Kingdom theology of sorts that says the world is utterly corrupt, and thus we should hide ourselves away in a life off the grid and refuse to vote (regardless of one’s gender), because to vote is to participate in a corrupt, ungodly system.

    • NeaDods

      I tried to talk myself out of clicking that link because I knew it would be bad for my blood pressure. But instead, I’m finding the comments fascinating because there is so little support for her position, even among the other Christians.

    • Composer 99

      If memory serves, this position has also been espoused by Ann Coulter, although in her case one suspects (or is it desperately hopes?) some trolling is going on.

    • TLC

      Oh, gord. I followed the link. Then I poked around the blog a bit and found a Q&A. Someone asked about their daughters going to college, which led to this gem:

      “However, it is our hope and goal to teach them that college is overrated and worthless, and that working hard and consistently will advance a career much faster than getting a degree. Our daughters will hopefully have learned that no college or career comes close to the blessing and privilege of being a wife and mother.”

      Hmmmm. Overrated and worthless. Glad they weren’t my parents!

      • Leigha7

        “working hard and consistently will advance a career much faster than getting a degree”

        Yeah, good luck getting a (decent) job without a degree, even in ministry (which I’m guessing is where they’d prefer their sons to end up).

    • CarysBirch

      From that link: “Based on the Bible, it is wrong for women to exercise authority over men. However, women voting can lead to a passing of laws that the majority of men would oppose. One example of this is abortion – more than 50% of men are against it, but more than 50% of women are for it, which is why it is legal.”

      Actually, it’s legal because the majority of SCOTUS ruled that it’s unconstitutional (in violation of due process) to make it illegal. Oh yeah, and SCOTUS was an all male institution in 1973. As were the authors of the US Constitution. Thanks for playing.

  • Jayn

    It’s probably telling that it took me a couple minutes to figure out what the Suffragette Madonna one was trying to say. It was probably obvious at the time, but I had to figure out how a man feeding a baby related to female voting at all, as well as whether it would be considered a good thing or a bad one.

    It is interesting how nearly a century later, women fighting for the same rights and opportunities as men are portrayed as bitter, lonely old ladies. Funny how they portray something as being both something men are afraid to lose and something that only unhappy women even want.

    • Rilian Sharp

      “Funny how they portray something as being both something men are afraid to lose and something that only unhappy women even want.”

      Yep yep yep!

  • Abby Normal

    Mental Floss recently had a list of anti-suffragette cards, including some ones here.

    The sad thing is, there’s still guys like Rush Limbaugh and his ilk that still think like this!

  • Elizabeth

    I’ve seen these on another site and unless I am mistaken they are all anti-suffragist. There are 3 that I thought were pro-women’s rights because what little girl doesn’t want to grow up and have personal autonomy… Then I realized they were infantilizing women (by comparing giving women the right to vote to giving little children the right to vote).

  • Monika Jankun-Kelly

    Wow. Interesting to see just how time worn anti-feminist arguments are. We still hear this crap. Feminists are angry and bitter and unloved. They’re sluts who can’t / won’t get married. They hate men. They want men at home doing all the childcare and housework. They want to be men. Bet this was a worn record even in suffragette times.

    • ako

      The “old and ugly” ones got me thinking. For some reason, people brandish “Women who want rights are old/ugly/unable to get a man!” as if that somehow refuted feminist arguments. But many women are never going to be attractive, despite their best efforts, some will never get married, some will get married and lose husbands, and all but an unlucky few will eventually get old. If you think seriously, it becomes obvious that society should have a place for unattractive women, unmarried women, and old women, and feminist are much better at supporting these goals than antifeminists. But old age, lack of attractiveness, and not being married are such easy ways to get people to go “Bad, icky women!” that many people just not along and go “Yes, being old does prove she has nothing worth saying!”

      • Monika Jankun-Kelly

        Yep. Your post made me think about how society assigns value to women. We put so much emphasis on beauty and youth, especially for women. Wisdom, intelligence, life experience, skills, talents, accomplishments, these seem valued more in men. I think that has been slowly changing, but we have a ways to go still.

  • Gemma Mason

    I *want* that first one, to pin up in my office or something. It’s adorable!

  • Trollface McGee

    They’re very cute, but why are all the “pro” posters of little girls? It’s almost as though the creator was scared that an adult woman would be too threatening.
    The “anti” lol, I think they got every misogynist stereotype, except maybe the crazy cat lady.

    • Djiril

      I read on another site that some of these cards were written to be neutral enough to sell to both sides of the debate.

      • jhlee

        Now that’s some intelligent political profiteering!

  • Fledgeling Feminist

    “Only ugly, unloved women care about politics.” Pretty sure that thought still survives today.

  • jose

    The anti ones look like the ones used by liberal feminists to depict lesbians.

    • The_L1985

      …What?

      I am a liberal feminist, and I wouldn’t dare be so cruel to lesbians! People are people, regardless of their own genders or their partners’.

    • sylvia_rachel

      If “liberal feminists” is a typo for “Debi Pearl”, then yes, they do.

    • onamission5

      Yeah I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    • RowanVT

      Why would a liberal feminist depict lesbians in a derogatory fashion?

    • jhlee

      What about liberal feminists who ARE lesbians?

      Or did I just blow your mind?

      • jose
      • jhlee

        And you’re delusional.

      • jose

        Predictably, not a word on the hateful depiction. A deafening silence from libfems when confronted with the anti lesbian stuff they support.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        Look, if you desperately need someone to say it: those depictions are bad. However, to suggest they are held by all liberal feminists (or even a majority) is ridiculous. There’s a reason The Observer retracted and apologised for that ugly piece by Julie Burchill – because only a very small number of close-minded bigots thought it was anything other than hate-speech.

      • jose

        Thank you! Feels good not to be the only one, you know. Sometimes I think I might be crazy.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        Here’s a tip for next time: Charging into a new space and demanding to know why a bunch of people you haven’t met previously won’t stop hitting their wives is not a good way to start a productive discussion. You might want to use an example, rather than tarring everyone with a label of bigotry that applies to a tiny minority of the people you are accusing.

      • jose

        A new space? I’ve been commenting here before this blog even moved to Patheos.

        It is not a tiny minority. It is a vast majority. In this era of online feminist outrage (difficult to keep count of how many of those we’ve had in the last two years – which is good!), the absolute silence concerning abuse towards lesbians does say something.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        It’s such a vast majority that the only evidence you’ve presented is a cartoon, that is actually talking about transwomen, not lesbians. (Which is what I was talking about earlier). Not exactly convincing.

      • jhlee

        Predictably, a cowardly evasion of what I was actually saying, that you’re delusional to say–without knowing me or my views at all–that I support hatred against lesbians. Otherwise, pretty much what BringTheNoise said.

  • http://www.twitter.com/thatsarabellum Sara

    Today is the 93rd anniversary of the signing of the 19th Amendment. How apt that I find this post today. <3


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