‘I’d rather be a rebel than a slave,’ is what Emmeline Pankhurst said at a London rally in 1913. ‘Emmeline Pankhurst chained herself to the railings so you could vote,’ is what my mild-mannered mum said, when at 18 and first eligible to vote, her lazy, idle, good-for-nothing daughter couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed, to do so.
I have never forgotten this. And being shamed by my mum once was enough; ever since that day, I have always been up at the crack of dawn to carry out my civic duty.
The film Suffragette is top of my autumn must-see list. Written by Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady) and directed by Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane) it stars some of my favourite actors: Anne-Marie Duff, Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan, Romola Garai and Natalie Press. There was a great feature on the film and feminism in Time Out this week, including interviews with four of the leads. When asked ‘What’s the most annoying question women get asked in interviews that men don’t get asked?’ Anne-Marie Duff replied:
‘”Are you worried about ageing?” It’s totally passive-aggressive, like : “You should be. “If I have to answer it one more fucking time…’
The fight for equality continues. There’s a trailer for the film HERE. And the full Emmeline Pankhurst quote is:
“I know that women, once convinced that they are doing what is right, that their rebellion is just, will go on, no matter what the difficulties, no matter what the dangers, so long as there is a woman alive to hold up the flag of rebellion. I would rather be a rebel than a slave.”