pankhursts

Socialism means plenty for all. We do not preach a gospel of want and scarcity, but of abundance.

Our desire is not to make poor those who to-day are rich, in order to put the poor in the place where the rich now are. Our desire is not to pull down the present rulers to put other rulers in their places.

We wish to abolish poverty and to provide abundance for all.

We do not call for limitation of births, for penurious thrift, and self-denial. We call for a great production that will supply all, and more than all the people can consume.

Such a great production is already possible, with the knowledge already possessed by mankind.

—  Sylvia Pankhurst, 1923

Women’s suffrage activist Emmeline Pankhurst is carried off by a police officer outside of Buckingham Palace, 1914. She was arrested many times in her fight for the vote and went on hunger strikes in prison. The British government responded to the hunger strikes by releasing the strikers, waiting until they recovered, and then arresting them again. 

Secondary school, history class.

You cover a small amount of information on the suffragettes, and your teacher shows you a video of Emily Wilding Davison getting struck down by Anmer, the King’s horse.

Your teacher asks the class, “we’ll never know why she did this”

But you know

All the girls in your class know, and are quiet, compared to the boys, who laugh, and jeer, and throw around words like “crazy”, because they simply don’t understand.

But you do.

The teacher asks, “who would have been a suffragette back then?” And you put your hand up.

He asks why.

‘Because,’ you think, 'because I know how it is to live a life being told by everyone that you are inferior. Being told that you can’t play with us because you’re a girl, and girls are silly.

Being told that being pretty is all that matters, and being told that girls can’t do this, and girls can’t do that, and you still get told that it’s a lot better than it was.

You know that thirty years ago, women were laughed at for wanting to be independent, laughed at for wanting a job, and that was only thirty years ago.

Yet you can still imagine the desperation these women felt when they were doing all they could to be heard, and the whole world was deaf to their cries.

You can understand why Emily Wilding Davison ducked under that barrier to carry out her task, whatever that may have been, and stood in the path of a charging horse with determination and love for her cause.

You can still imagine a time where no woman would have ever dreamed of being independent.

When the idea of a single woman was scandalous and she was shunned.

You can imagine the feeling in the air when Emmeline Pankhurst spoke to thousands of women and declared “no more!”

“No more suffering in silence. No more playing to the whims of entitled men who have been served the earth on a silver platter with the words 'for men’ carved across the globe,”

“No more being the plaything of man, it is our time. We are strong, and we will show the whole world what womankind can do”

You know how it feels to be female.’

But you can’t say that

You can’t say any of that, because he’s a man, and he could never understand.

So you shrug, and say something that feels wrong on your tongue.

It feels like a lie, because it’s not what you want to say

But you can’t say that

Because he wouldn’t understand

FEMINISM IS DEAD

Nearly one hundred years ago, in November 1917, Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst founded the Women’s Party (UK). In 1928 women were, finally, granted the vote on the same terms as their male counterparts. At the time, this political movement for women’s rights was termed the suffrage movement; in time, it came to be referred to as the first wave of feminism.

Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949) is generally considered to have instigated the second wave of feminism which peaked in the 1960s and 1970s. Second-wave feminism no longer concerned itself with the vote – that battle having been won – but with extending the rights of women in the workplace (the gender pay gap and the glass ceiling) and in the home (second-wave feminists built refuges for battered women and their children, as well as rape crisis centres). It became illegal for a man to rape his wife in the UK in 1991, ultimately an achievement of second-wave feminism. To put that into context, the woman writing this article was twenty years old in 1991.

The 1990s ushered in the third wave of feminism which in turn arose as a backlash to second-wave feminism. In particular, third-wave feminism argues that pornography and prostitution can be empowering, rather than – as second-wave feminists have it – inherently sexist. Some say we are still riding the third wave of feminism. Others – and this is the argument I am making here – say that we are now living in post-feminism times. In other words, feminism is dead.

I say this with the heaviest heart. Feminism is dead but – and this point is crucial – this is not because females have been liberated; rather, we have been erased.

Uppity women have always been punished. We used to burn non-compliant women, or drown them on the ducking stool. First-wave feminists were arrested, locked up, criminalised. Any woman who has ever been vocal about rights for women has been mocked and taunted, often publicly. All of these tactics were (and are to this day) employed to discourage women from fighting for their rights. Now we are facing a new tactic: the tactic which says female is a state of mind rather than material reality.

Females make up 50% of the population. That’s a lot of people. If every woman decided to down tools tomorrow, if every woman decided tomorrow that she’d had enough of this shit, we would be unstoppable. We would win the war before the men even realised what was happening. What is the best way, the simplest way, to disarm 3.5 billion females? You say there is no such thing as female.

Simple, eh? A simple concept with devastating consequences. Let’s make ‘female’ an identity. Let’s make ‘female’ a gender expression. If anyone can be a female, irrespective of biology (let’s not forget it is a biological term with a specific meaning and a specific function for the continuation of the species), then why do females need to rise up at all? Who, in fact, would we be warring with? Ourselves?

If ‘female’ is an identity, a state of mind, then what need for feminism? Feminism is a political movement for the liberation of females from patriarchal (i.e. male) rule. You can see where I am going with this. If we have lost the ability to define ‘female’ – and, if anyone can identify as female, we have indeed lost that ability – then what is the point of feminism?

Feminism is not – as some uninformed people appear to believe – the fight for equal rights ‘for all’. Feminism is and always was a fight on behalf of females. The clue’s in the title. If you are concerned with equal rights for all, bully for you, but that’s not feminism. Any fight on behalf of a male is not a feminist fight, by definition.

Feminism is dead because females are dead. The female is no more. Not literally, obviously (I’m not arguing that a little girl in some corner of the world having her clitoris excised is suffering genital mutilation because she ‘identifies’ as female: it’s because she IS female). But politically, females are dead. Anyone can be female so no-one is female.

The worst thing is, this happened right under our noses and we did nothing to stop it. Not only that, we encouraged it. We allowed men to assume our identity. We felt sorry for them. We bought the emotionally-charged lie that a person could be born into the wrong body (which, when you think about it, is easily as stupid as believing in unicorns, or Zeus, or the Tooth Fairy). In doing so, we were hoodwinked. Being so eager to alleviate others’ professed suffering, we overlooked our own. We overlooked our sisters and our daughters.

The political ramifications of this are off-the-scale. On 24 February 2017 in the UK House of Commons, the Women and Equalities Committee will be arguing for ‘self-identification’ to become law. And they will win – similar laws are already in place in the US and Canada. This means that, lawfully, a man – any man, he does not have to have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria or indeed anything at all – will be able to self-identify as a woman. That same man can then, by law, gain access to women’s spaces: think changing rooms at public baths, rape crisis centres, women’s refuges. That man can then apply for jobs which are advertised as ‘women-only’ for reasons of female safety: think Guide/Brownie leaders, think personal carers, think changing-room attendants. If you complain about this you can be charged with having committed a hate crime, and the law can punish you accordingly. Women will be criminalised for complaining.

Feminism is dead, and I feel so ashamed at the mess we have left for our daughters.

Happy Women’s History Month!
There’s not enough space to credit all the groundbreaking women throughout history, but here’s a few.

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July 15th 1858: Emmeline Pankhurst born

On this day in 1858, English suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst was born in Manchester. Born as Emmeline Goulden, her family had a tradition of radical politics, as did her husband Richard Pankhurst. In 1889, she founded the Women’s Franchise League, and in 1903 the Women’s Social and Political Union. The latter was far more militant in its demands for female suffrage, resorting to criminal activities like vandalism and arson. The suffragettes were known for their hunger strikes in prison, which resulted in violent force-feeding; Pankhurst herself was subjected to this while in prison on hunger strike. The actions of suffragettes appeared hysterical and fanatical to contemporary observers - especially Emily Wilding Davison’s death upon jumping in front of a horse at the 1913 Derby - and did not lead to female suffrage. Their tactics were more extreme when compared to the moderate suffragists led by Millicent Fawcett, and even divided Pankhurst’s daughters, causing a rift in the family. Upon the outbreak of the First World War, Pankhurst and the suffragettes actively supported the war effort in factories and encouraging enlistment, which resulted in enfranchisement of women over thirty in 1918. This was not on par with men, and Pankhurst continued the struggle for the female voting age to be reduced to 21. Pankhurst, who had devoted her life to the cause of female equality, died soon before this was achieved in 1928.

“The condition of our sex is so deplorable that it is our duty to break the law in order to call attention to the reasons why we do”

Kickass women in history who were overlooked in my 11 years of education

• Florence Nightingale
• Queen Victoria
•Amelia Earhart
• Margaret Thatcher
• Pocahontas
• Emmeline Pankhurst
• Christabelle Pankhurst
• Sylvia Pankhurst
• Alice Hawkins
•Mary Shelley
• Marie Antoinette
• Joan of Arc
• Jane Austin
• Florence Bascom
• Audrey Hepburn
• Grace Kelly
• Shirley Temple
• Elizabeth Blackwell
• Cleopatra
• Queen Elizabeth II
• Rosa Parks
• Marie Curie
• Mother Teresa
• Eva Peron
• Alexandra Romanov
• Anastasia Romanov
• Maggie Hare (wife of William Hare)
• Queen Anne
• Rosalind Franklin
• Eva Moore
• Lady Baden-Powell
• Grace Darling
• Laura Ingalls-Wilder
• Enid Blyton
• Land Girls
• Bomb Girls
• War nurses
• Emily Wilding Davison
• Princess Diana
• Empress Matilda
• Helen of Troy

If you don’t do anything else today I urge you to pick one name from the list above and put it into google. These women are interesting as hell for better or for worse and they weren’t taught in any of my history classes.

On This Day: April 3
  • 1895: The trial in the libel case brought by Oscar Wilde begins, eventually resulting in his imprisonment on charges of homosexuality.
  • 1913: Emmeline Pankhurst, suffragette leader, sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment for being responsible for an arson attack.
  • 1913: 20,000 Paterson mill strikers listen to speeches at Botto House by Upton Sinclair, John Reed and speakers from the Wobblies.
  • 1922: Joseph “gravedigger of the Revolution” Stalin becomes the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
  • 1937: Spanish Civil War: In opposition to the declaration of the Spanish Communist Party (PCE), which was pro-parliamentary democracy and against social revolution, the anarchist CNT declares that “revolution must go on” and that such a policy constitutes the greatest strength against fascism. The anarchists control the province of Aragon and are strong throughout all of Spain.
  • 1945: Former anarchist Daniel Cohn-Bendit was born.
  • 1948: Beginning of the Jeju uprising, brutally suppressed by the South Korean military resulting in 10,000s of deaths.
  • 1950: Death of Carter Woodson, an American historian, author, and journalist, who founded Black History Month.
  • 1954: UAW Local 833 begins 6-year strike at Kohler bathroom fixtures company in WI. Strikers win back pay and pension credits.
  • 1963: Blacks in Birmigham, AL, sit in at lunch counters as part of “Project C” (confrontation) and issue the Birmingham Manifesto.
  • 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech.
  • 1969: National Guard called into Chicago, and Memphis placed on curfew on anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination.

28 Powerful Pictures Of Women Fighting For Their Right To Vote

“A pictorial history of the suffragette movement.”

Top photo: 1908: Emmeline Pankhurst (1858–1928, centre), and her daughter Christabel Harriette (1880–1958, third from left), being welcomed by friends and supporters upon their release.

Bottom photo: 1913: English suffragette Annie Kenney (1879–1953) being arrested during a demonstration.

Awesome Women + Google Doodles

Scientists, Mathematicians, and Inventors

Rachel Louise Carson (1907-1964)

American marine biologist and conservationist whose writing brought public attention to environmental threats, especially pesticides

Marie Curie (1867-1934)

Polish and French physicist  and chemist whose pioneering work on radioactivity made her the first woman to win a Nobel prize, as well as the first person and only woman to win two

Rosalind Franklin (120-1958)

An English chemist whose work with x-ray crystallography was instrumental to discovering the structures of DNA, viruses, coal, and graphite; she died of breast cancer before she could be awarded the Nobel prize, and her colleagues Watson and Crick are often given sole credit to this day

Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718-1799)

Italian mathematician and philospher who wrote first book covering both integral and differential calculus and spent the latter half of her life on charity and theology

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)

British mathematician and writer whose work on the the Analytical Engine, an early computer, made her the world’s first computer programmer

Feminists and Activists


May Ziade (1886-1941)

Lebanese-Palestinian writer, poet, and translator influential in the Arab literary world and known as an early Palestinian feminist

Henrietta Edwards (1849-1931)

Canadian activist and reformer who fought for women’s rights in voting, education, work, and health

Dorothy Irene Height (1912-2010)

educator and activist who fought for the equal treatment of women, people of color, and LGBT+ people

Concepción Arenal (1820-1893)

Spanish writer and women’s rights activist who was the first woman to attend university in Spain

Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928)

British women’s rights activist and suffragette whose militant tactics were key to winning women voting rights in Britian

Artists, Writers, Pilots, One Athlete, and One Entrepreneur

Sohair El-Qalamawy (1911-1997)

influential Egyptian writer, politician, and women’s rights activist, as well as first female professor at Cairo University

Loftia El Nady (1907-2002)

Egyptian aviator who studied flying in secret and became the first female pilot in the Arab world and Africa

Grete Waitz (1953-2011)

Norwegian runner, first woman to run the marathon in under 2.5 hours, and winner of a record 9 New York City Marathons

Amalia Eriksson (1824-1923)

Swedish entrepreneur who became one of the first women in Sweden to own a business and the first person to manufacture peppermint candy

Amelia Earhart (1897-1937)

American aviator and first female pilot to fly across the atlantic

Martha Graham (1894-1991)

American modern dancer and choreographer whose work revolutionized dance and theater

Anne-Cath. Vestly (1920-2008)

Norwegian author of children’s literature whose writing challenged gender roles

M. S. Subbulakshmi (1916-2004)

renowned Indian musician and vocalist who was awarded the  Bharat Ratna and the Ramon Magsaysay award

Nellie Melba (1861-1931)

soprano opera singer who became the first Australian to gain international recognition as a classical musician

                       Happy International Women’s Day!