Contesting Women’s Right to Vote: Anti-Suffrage Postcards in Edwardian Britain

O'Hagan, Lauren Alex (2020). Contesting Women’s Right to Vote: Anti-Suffrage Postcards in Edwardian Britain. Visual Culture in Britain, 21(3) pp. 330–362.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14714787.2020.1827971

Abstract

This article uses multimodal critical discourse analysis to explore the messages promoted by anti-suffrage postcards produced in Britain between 1909 and 1914. It identifies five salient themes across the postcards (subversion of gender roles; physical ridicule of women; mental ridicule of women; violence towards women; and an imagined future), arguing that, despite their aim of presenting anti-suffragists as united in their objective of opposing women’s suffrage, they contained clear paradoxical messages. It concludes that the postcard campaign ultimately failed because of the power of militancy, mass opposition to the brutal treatment of suffragettes, and the outbreak of the First World War.

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