Via Rebecca Onion at Slate’s The Vault and the Bryn Mawr College library:
In this piece of anonymously-authored ephemera [Ten Little Suffergets], suffragettes are pictured not as men, but as roly-poly three-year-old girls. They bear an array of placards whose slogans mix the actual platform items of women working for the vote (“Votes for Women,” “Equal Rights”) with petulant and childish demands (“No More Early Bedtimes,” “Cake Every Day”).
In the course of the book, the weak-willed protestors leave behind their goals one by one, after kissing boys, eating too many sweets, or simply falling asleep—a story that paints women’s desire for suffrage as frivolous and shallowly felt.
Get it? Suffer-gets instead of “suffragettes,” which was already a patronizing term (as opposed to “women’s sufferage advocates”), but apparently it wasn’t patronizing enough!
Who bought this stuff? Probably the same tedious people today who buy children’s books by Lynne Cheney and Rush Limbaugh–the kind of people who buy books that suit their interests, not those of the children they’re buying for.
7 thoughts on “Right-wing agitprop for the preschool set”
I am disturbed by the normalizing of violence against women in the particular image included with this post. Women protestors are whipped and then drop out of the public realm.
I’m sitting in Bryn Mawr Special Collections right now and didn’t know we had this doozy of a book — thanks for sharing, Historiann (and Rebecca!)
GayProf: what does it say about me that I found the images of the cast-aside and broken doll towards the end of the book even more disturbing than the notion of a real child getting a beating? Nothing good, I’m sure.
Monica: awesome!!! And happy hunting, today & always.
I what Gay Prof is saying is that you should have included a trigger warning.
Seriously now: I wonder how much other sexist stuff BMC has collected (when they aren’t sending fatso warnings to the students)? Did you know that the LDS archive has a *huge* collection of anti-Mormon literature?
I looked into the “fatso” email controversy, and so far as I can tell, the only student who has gone public with her complaints is a student who received the email in error. (That is, her argument is that it was offensive to tell her she had a high BMI because in fact she doesn’t.) This seems to me to perpetuate anti-fat prejudice, not to challenge it. No people with high BMIs have complained about the email publicly, and several took the heath center’s offer to get them on a fitness program.
That said: as someone who attended Bryn Mawr in the 1980s and 90s, the bigger issue then was eating disorders like anorexia and bullimia. We used to joke about people stealing food and ice cream out of the dorm kitchens. It was really irritating, but also probably evidence of a sad problem.
Just a reminder about intersectionality, eating disorders and obesity — not all binge eaters purge.
True enough, cgeye. It’s good to hear from you–I hope you are well.