Tuesday, September 21, 2010

the race of women


via Christina Bryant

Okay, this one doesn't have much of a class component. I just like the pic and the sign.

At least, it doesn't automatically have a class component, since I don't know the history of these individuals, but the women's rights movement has a strong class component: Some of the leaders wanted suffrage for upper class women, but not for working class women. After all, someone has to clean up for rich folks.

From the Encyclopedia Britannica:
Suffragist leaders, reflecting that shift in attitude, began appealing for the vote not on the principle of justice or on the common humanity of men and women but on racist and nativist grounds. As early as 1894, Carrie Chapman Catt declared that the votes of literate, American-born, middle-class women would balance the votes of foreigners: “[C]ut off the vote of the slums and give to woman…the ballot.”

This elitist inclination widened the divide between feminist organizers and the masses of American women who lived in those slums or spoke with foreign accents. As a result, working-class women—already more concerned with wages, hours, and protective legislation than with either the vote or issues such as women's property rights—threw themselves into the trade union movement rather than the feminists' ranks.