Suffragette

Seldom has a historical feature length film touched and awoken a core belief of mine that has influenced so much of my life decisions and interests. Suffragette honours the legacy of the empowered women who saw the unfathomable injustice during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and gave everything they could to prove women are neither inferior nor superior to men, but are, in fact, equal, starting with securing women the right to vote.

Directed by Sarah Gavron, the film is set in 1912 and excellently encapsulates the tensions of the era, and in some cases the tensions that tragically continue to haunt us today. The character development in Maud Watts (played by the darling Carey Mulligan) is symbolic of the shifting attitudes to women's involvement in society, particularly in domestic matters and politics, and the presence of women as human beings with real ability and capacity for greatness rather than mere cogs in the capitalist, patriarchal machine. Helena Bonham Carter is exceptional (as always) as Edith New, a character who is respected as intimidatingly intelligent and inspirationally headstrong. The immense control men held over women, the sense of ownership bordering on slavery that Suffragette brings to life is emotional viewing because it resonates with such a wide audience, from people like my mum who studied the movement for her O-Level history project to the new wave of feminists who continue to bring attention to gender issues.

It's impossible for me to say "yes, I'd have definitely been out protesting and rebelling on the streets with them if I was alive at that time" because the struggles I've witnessed and experienced are relative to the society I live in, which is a fairer place to be because of the tough battle the Suffragettes and many other women's rights activists fought for us. But Suffragette has succeeded in settling any doubt that remains in the modern understanding of the true extent and drive of Emmeline Pankhurst and her fellow pioneers of gender equality, because the buzz surrounding the film has reinvigorated the important discussion of oppression for contemporary campaigns involving women, LGBT and other underrepresented communities.

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