Symbols of Suffrage: The Unlovable Feminist

Equality? Voting Rights? Government Representation? You wouldn't be hurting your pretty little girl head with politics if spent your energy doing what women are supposed to; making a man happy and staying in the kitchen.

I bring you back to a time before women were pandered to politically, when the "war on women" was waged about voting rights. Some of these images are from England, some from the United States of America.

This collection of images is broken down into archetypes which are described in four separate posts. Together they represent the story of the woman anti-suffrage propaganda wanted to tell; the unbearable political woman and her secret agenda to feminize the nation and make men house slaves. I also explore the modern versions of these archetypes as they live in today's media.

Meet The Unlovable Feminist.

Women are frequently infantilized in the media. Notice the disarray of the household and neglect of those in her care (the broken baby) in the background ... we're setting up for the Martyred Man Wife's habitat.

To be fair, Willie Jones is quite a catch.
Ladies, ladies, surely you have better things to do than involve yourself in men's business? (Obviously she needs to get laid! That would calm her down!)

The Feminist; typically too ugly for love! One kiss would cure her foolish passion for lady voting!
A man is tossed out of this "Home for Lost, Stolen or Strayed Suffragettes."
Suffragettes were typified as being violent and militant. Marching, waving umbrellas around (that's England for you, I guess!) and beating up men were just a few of their preferred activities. Right before a man's eyes, a wild pack of suffragettes could come around and rip his precious, politically uninterested and stereotypically feminine wife apart!

Oh, Unlovable Feminist, you've lost your umbrella and gotten a haircut, but your basic characteristics remain the same...

The Unlovable Feminist today is often cannon fodder for humor aimed mainly at men, but unfortunately, the stereotypes have stuck even if most of the depictions are supposed to be funny. The fact that most images of feminists in the media are comedic is a two pronged problem; it treats the Woman's Movement literally as a joke and disarms complaints against it's content. Feminists themselves are seen has having no sense of humor at all.

Generation after generation, the Unlovable Feminist rears it's ugly head- literally. A feminist will always be portrayed as ugly (ugly compared to the beauty standard, that is!) and in the least, our modern interpretation of "unfeminine"; makeupless, plain faces, wild and unmanageable hair (if it's not tied back in your camo bandana, or cut extremely short, or completely gone,) body unshaven (which many people will also tie to cleanliness or "daintiness"), usually dressed in men's clothing, to match her manish aura. The Unlovable Feminist's plight is that her ugliness has left her unable to attract a man, and that sexual frustration and anger that leads to feminism because, what with having no kitchen to clean, she has nothing better to do and is resentful towards all males. The cure for the Unlovable Feminist is obvious ... a man.

Glee's "Coach Beistie", the manish, tough football coach ... what was responsible for her rough demeanor? The fact that she had never been kissed. Thankfully a handsome guy was around to save the day!

All the feminists in PCU needed was a little booze from boys! "It's, like, if you're nice to them, they bring you things?" she says later in an epiphany.

The most harmful effect of the Unlovable Feminist archetype isn't the image, however, it's the generalizations associated with feminism, best summed up in the image where the suffragette holds a sign proclaiming "Down with the Men, Up with the Women." Many people, both men and women, grow up with the assumption that at the same time that feminism attempts to uplift women, it degrades men; that the only way for women to feel better about their place in society is to take over "men's roles" instead of living in equality.

The key issue in any civil movement is just that- equality- not a declaration of one group of people being better than another. Actual feminists are frequently dismissed as being "man-hating", "whiny", "militant" or "bitchy." Men are encouraged to stay out of feminist issues simply because they are not women, hardly realizing that on the flip side of every stereotype about women is a stereotype about men. For every wild radical feminist there is a scared victimized male, for every sex kitten bombshell there is a shallow, arrogant bachelor, for every nagging housewife there is a dimwitted husband.

And speaking of incompetent males, in our next post we will look in at the Martyred Man Wife and see how he's surviving in our feminist society.


Anti-Abortion Images from the Past

In the wake of the "War on Women" in America, some vintage Anti-Abortion propaganda to enjoy:

From always incredible Comics with Problems, a few pages from "Who Killed Junior?", an anti-abortion comic book from your friends at Right to Life, circa 1973.

Here's one from the Canadian Party of Labor, 1973.

Blue Wave says "The pamphlet does not argue strictly from a perspective of fetal personhood but it is assumed throughout. The main thrust of their argument is that abortion amounts to the genocide of blacks and the working class, and that 'under capitalism, free abortions are forced abortions.' Many of their arguments presented are the ones we bourgeois pro-lifers use today. Sometimes it’s a little painful to read, because their hearts were in the right place, but they genuinely believed that once socialism was in place, women won’t have to abort! They’ll have everything they need to raise children."

This next one is in Russian; thankfully Viz has a translation!

"I came across this Russian anti-abortion poster from 1925, and thought it was pretty striking.  The text translates to:  "Abortions performed by either trained or self-taught midwives not only maim the woman, they also often lead to death."  It shows a woman talking with a midwife, then a woman in a hospital, and then a coffin being lowered into a grave with mourners looking on.  What struck me about the image is that the argument is essentially that abortions are bad because they endanger the lives of the women who get them.  The pathetic appeal depends on the viewer's sense of identification with the woman."

Finally some more modern images from a seemingly surprising source, feministsforlife.org. These images are also identifying with the woman, asserting that they deserve better than abortion, that if they only had the resources available they would not choose it. Sounds a bit like that Labor Party ad, above. Also it frames the argument strangely from the beginning with phrases like "Abortion advocates pit women against our children." and "Gone for abortions, almost every one."