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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

from Facebook: feminist protesters crash #LFF2015 premiere of Suffragette

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easter eggs
  • LaSargenta

    Did you see those “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave” t-shirts? I get that was something Pankhurst said, but, considering (a) she said lots of other things, too, and (b) when seen ever so slightly out of context in the US it has a TOTALLY different association, I think they’re very unfortunate.

    Interesting that protestors there brought it up. (Late in the article.)

  • Bluejay

    Apparently Pankhurst also said women’s condition was “the most appalling slavery, compared with which negro slavery falls into insignificance.” Ouch.


    Obviously this doesn’t reduce Pankhurst’s heroism one bit, or take away from the rightness of her cause, but hopefully we’ve learned a bit more about intersectionality since then.

  • The cast wore those shirts in a photo shoot for a British magazine. And not all references to rebels or slaves refer to U.S. history. In this context, and in the context of the film, I don’t think I would have seen it as problematic

  • LaSargenta

    I know, but at the minimum, Meryl Streep *is* American, and the pics turned up in various US on-line media and *here* it is problematic. Given the global aspect of all media nowadays and given the obvious connection (although incorrect) in the US, with those words (yes, yes, said in a totally different context) I’m surprised that was the statement that made it onto the t-shirts.

  • LaSargenta

    I’d like to think so. It is to be noted though that Pankhurst probably had only theoretical contact with “negro slavery”. I know very little about the details of her life, but, I doubt she observed any chattel slavery first hand anywhere. Thus, her mental picture would probably have been from Uncle Toms Cabin and other similar works, not from works written by the (former) slaves themselves.

  • My point is, though, that the “connection” is most certainly not “obvious” to everyone. This movie is not about the U.S., it’s not about the American Civil War, and it’s not about slavery in the U.S. or about the Atlantic slave trade. It doesn’t come *anywhere near* any of those issues.

  • LaSargenta

    Nothing is obvious to “everyone” but, I have to say, even as a white person in ethnically diverse New York City, I saw it, and it was jarring. Then, about a day later, I overheard two also NYC-based black women talking about it saying pretty much the same thing. Another woman of color I know made a crack about the movie after seeing the trailer and then mentioned the t-shirt — said she saw the pic on the web and had to google Pankhurst quotes and that quote didn’t even turn up in the first half of any of Pankhurst’s quote pages, she had to search for that specific quote to get the context. And she was saying “I get it! I get it! But, damn…it first felt like a kick.”

    OK, anecdotes, and maybe there’s gong to be lots of people saying “oooh you’re too sensitive!”, but, it is, at the least, unfortunate.

    Consider, too, that when I went and did the quote search, I got Pankhurst commenting on the US Civil War before I found this particular quote.

    Here’s two nifty short quotes that also would have worked on a t-shirt and wouldn’t risk being a problem in any country:

    What is the use of fighting for a vote if we have not got a country to vote in?

    • Justice and judgment lie often a world apart.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Personally, I find it a tad sad — and in a way, a bit amusing — that a quote about not wanting to be a slave has become politically incorrect.

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