Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Suffragettes and Sex

Here's a picture of the Canadian (see Toronto) delegation at the March 15, 1913 suffrage parade in Washington D.C.

I write about it in Furies Cross the Mersey, about the British Invasion of Militant Suffragettes to Montreal in 1912/13. In my book, I have two young students dare to mount a parade in Montreal.

These Canadian women are the leaders of the Toronto/Canadian movement, matrons all. Augusta Stowe-Gullen, Constance Hamilton and Flora McD Denison, etc. Well, Mrs. Denison's young niece was in the parade, too and at the front.

Flora Macdonald Lapham, the only 'young' Canadian suffrage marcher.

Canadian suffrage leaders did all they could to keep young 'excitable' women out of the local movement. You can read all about it in my book Furies Cross the Mersey. 

And NO PARADES were mounted in Canada. Ours was a peaceful letter writing and deputation campaign led by clergymen and society matrons and female college pioneers from the 1800's.

So it goes.

The Americans had parades, two HUGE ones in fact in early 1913. The first was in Washington in March and the second in New York City in May. Tens of thousands of people participated, including a wide spectrum of women from textile workers to Wellesley students.

Both parades were led by New York lawyer, Inez Milholland, described in all the newspapers as 'the most beautiful suffragette.'

The Most Beautiful Suffragette - Inez Milholland

According to a Pittsburg paper, organizers of the NY parade wanted every woman to wear a special suffrage bonnet, but "French" fashion was everywhere making it 'a real feminine gathering.'

Here are some clips from American newspapers, promoting the Washington parade. The key point: Suffragists are not stuffy old women but beautiful young women!

A 'bevy of beauties' in Washington parade.

Branding the Washington parade as a political fashion show. Why not? Suffrage news was often published in the newspapers beside fashion news or theatre news.  Farmer on left, society woman on right. Costume was a term used for outfit in those days.

Dawn Mist?