The Anti-Suffrage Propaganda (Badges)

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I explored the Anti-Suffrage postcards in my previous blog post. Now, I will investigate a slightly different form of propaganda. Badges. So what makes badges significantly different to postcards? What it symbolises. People wear badges, they represent an identity; someone only typically wears a badge if they associate with what the badge represents. However, postcards do not always represent the individual who is reading it, they highlight the artist’s impression/the person that commissioned it. Subsequently from analysing Anti-Suffrage badges we can understand the members of anti-suffrage groups in greater deal.

The first badge I examined was given to members of the Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League in 1908 [1]. The most crucial aspect of this badge is the image. It is very traditionalist in outlook as it features a woman looking after her children with the absence of the father who is presumably at work. It represents “the ‘ideal’ or ‘perfect’ woman as filling the role of wife and mother”[2]. This is significant when compared to the typical anti-suffrage postcards I examined previously. It was not over the top, it was not satirical, it was not trying to undermine the suffrage movement. It was depicting the organisation’s viewpoint. Perhaps the reason for this was because its purpose was to represent the current members’ identity rather than trying to convince others to join therefore it did not need to be extravagant. As I stated previously, the people who wear these badges are going to be members of the Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League. The fact that they would be more than willing to wear these badges suggests to me that the reason the members of this group were against female enfranchisement was because they were traditionalists.

The second badge was also given to members of the Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League; this time between 1908-1910 [3]. There is a lot less to dissect in this badge, however the three different flowers represent the national flowers of Scotland, Wales and Ireland. the one of the left is a thistle (Scotland), the one in the middle is a daffodil (Wales) and the one on the right is a clover (Ireland).This suggests that the Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League were trying to unite the entirety of Great Britain to oppose the vote. If they cared about all of the British nations they would undoubtedly have greater support. Again, this is extremely different to the postcards anti-suffrage groups produced; they are attempting to bolster anti-suffrage support rather than undermine suffrage support.

There is limited academic work produced on British anti-suffrage badges however Kenneth Florey investigated American anti-suffrage badges and he declares that some of the badges incorporated other issues into suffrage, predominantly “temperance societies”[4]. For example, one badge stated “Suffrage Means Prohibition” therefore they were attracting the support of alternative groups (in this case people who were against prohibition). This tactic can be seen with the second badge I examined, they were attempting to gain the support of the rest of Great Britain, not just England.

 


See my previous blog post here: URL: https://edwinhistorysite.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/the-appeal-of-womanhood/


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Bibliography

[1] Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League, “The Opponent’s View” The British Library,(1908), URL: http://www.bl.uk/learning/images/makeanimpact/suffragettes/large12624.html  (Last accessed 01/03/17)

[2] British Library, “The Opponents View”, Date published N.A., URL: http://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/21cc/struggle/suffrage/sources/source7/opponentsview.html – Last accessed 01/03/17

[3] Gillian Murphy, ‘Women’s suffrage,”The first humble beginnings of an agitation…” Helen Taylor, 1866.’ Date Published N.A., URL: http://www.lse.ac.uk/Library/Collections/Collection-highlights/Womens-suffrage – Last accessed 01/03/17

[4] Kenneth Florey, Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia: An Illustrated Historical Study, (North Carolina: McFarland, 2013), P.47

Images

[1] Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League, “The Opponent’s View” The British Library,(1908), URL: http://www.bl.uk/learning/images/makeanimpact/suffragettes/large12624.html  (Last accessed 01/03/17)

[2] Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League, “Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League” (1908-10) URL: http://www.lse.ac.uk/Library/Collections/Collection-highlights/Womens-suffrage – Last accessed 01/03/17

[3] Author not specified, “Suffrage Means Prohibition”, Year Published  N.A., Produced in America, See. Kenneth Florey “Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia: An Illustrated Historical Study”  North Carolina: McFarland, (2013), P.47

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4 thoughts on “The Anti-Suffrage Propaganda (Badges)

Add yours

  1. Another insightful and well developed blog post. I particularly like the fact that this post is a continuation of your last, only with a new focus as to make comparisons. The use of a slide show also adds an interactive edge, and makes the experience that bit more enjoyable. In addition, your comment on the limited historiography on British anti-suffrage badges is itself interesting, why do you think this could be the case compared to the work on American badges? Overall, great job on another interesting blog post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment. I believe the reason for this is because of the limited amount of sources. There are very few known badges created for the anti-suffrage movement therefore there it cannot be examined in as much detail as other sources such as postcards and posters.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree, the clear focus on anti-suffrage badges makes this an interesting read. However, since you mention the limited sources and I wonder how much further it is possible to go with this topic? Perhaps the records of the anti suffrage societies might contain more information on the numbers of badges produced and whether they were sold or given away and to whom.

    Your blog is technically impressive. More attention to presentation and proofing would be good. Also, I recommend you revisit your “about” page and think about whether the description really reflects the content? Is it really all about “promiment suffragettes” anymore?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the comment. I will investigate that to see if I can find some statistics on Anti-Suffrage badges. I have taken your recommendation about my about page and have updated it accordingly.

      Like

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