93 years ago this month, American women won the right to vote. But not before they were ridiculed and vilified.
Throughout history, there were people who did not want women to vote. Women would work, they would pay taxes, they would technically be considered citizens... but voting was for men. In America, when the right to vote was extended to include all races, all social positions, and all incomes, women were still not included. It didn't matter if a man was illiterate, had been to jail, or if he was the town drunk. He could vote, and a woman, no matter who she was, could not.
Women suffragists (suffragettes) began campaigning in democratic countries all over the world to change this, starting in the mid-19th century. Their campaigns were largely peaceful and dignified... at least by 21st century standards. But by 19th century standards, these women were abhorrent and indecent, making fools of themselves by demanding to be treated like men.
One of the most notable things about the arguments put forth by the anti-suffragette movement was how weak its position was. Anti-suffragette arguments relied heavily on emotional manipulation and downright hateful nastiness. Humor was a much-used weapon against suffragettes. They were easy to depict as embittered old maids, brutal scolds, and cigar-smoking transvestites.
August 18 will mark the 93rd anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed American women the right to vote. In commemoration, we present a selection of anti-suffragette cartoons. And for an even more entertaining look at the fight for women's suffrage, watch the fantastic educational tribute to both suffragettes and Lady Gaga, Bad Romance, by Soomo Publishing. (Therese Oneill/The Week).