Red, white or pink? Women’s rights don’t come color-coded

( CNN ) The colouring was red for International Women’s Day, although red used to signify concern for women’s heart health and before that, well — The Reds! Pussy hats were pink at the big women’s processions in January, but pink signifies breast cancer awareness, or did. Does it still?

While I support any persons out there protesting and was acknowledged by a knee-jerk aversion to describing women in terms of what they are wearing, turning political activism into a colour war does have its limits. I understand that visual symbols of solidarity are important, but when meanings are ascribed to these colourings, as they are, we run into peculiar and often misleading interpretations of history .

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But the long ago images are also misinforming. They portray to represent “the suffrage movement, ” which was not a monolith, but a decades- long sprawl, a tangle of populations and ideas, often in conflict with one another, leading, by 1920, to passageway of the amendment devoting females the right to vote. The 19 th-century innovator generation — Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and their allies — dedicated not a hoot for the colour of their clothes nor for marching around in public. Public spectacle came in with the next generation, who “took it to the streets, ” with street corner soapbox speakers and processions, which appalled more conservative members of the movement .
Early processions were fueled by white working class females fighting the exploitations of industrial capitalism. Believing that winning the vote would help that fighting, they carried signs demanding equal pay for equal work and an objective to sweatshops. By 1912, socialists carrying red or purple posters marched, singing “La Marseillaise, ” along with suffragists who were not always so pleased to have them there. No African American females were present, partly because they were not wanted in public demonstrations and partly because their activism had taken a different, less visible turn .
As the movement grew larger and more popular, public support for granting voting rights to educated white females became strong. But the majority of the American public and foes of woman suffrage did not believe “other” females — immigrants and workers, Chinese women in California, Jewish radicals in New York and African-American females everywhere — deserved the vote. Leaders of mainstream suffrage organizations kept these “others” out of sight for, they would say, “tactical” reasons.
The result is those suffrage tableaus that maintains popping up in the media today. Everyone dresses alike, to display solidarity. Absolute order and discipline in the line of march are paramount. Class ideas are enshrined — women on horseback actually own those horses. All is respectable , non-threatening and, to some, beautiful. As the country floated toward entering World War I by 1916, suffrage leaders offered themselves to that endeavor, and the whiteness took on the extra added patina of patriotism .
These lovely images that purport to represent the suffrage motion, then, are sanitized pictures of a particular day and particular people. Although we could not have gotten to today without that motion, I say that if we’re nod to anything, we should nod at the mirror, because out there agitating for women’s rights right now is something that looks like America .Read more: http :// www.cnn.com/ 2017/03/ 10/ sentiments/ colors-of-protest-suffrage-bernikow-opinion/ index.html