Riffling through old suffragette postcards earlier this week, I was struck by the images of men used by opponents of the movement. They showed how the contested social territory of the aughts and teens of the young 20th century remains contested ground even 100 years or more later. Giving women the vote was fraught with social peril, these images suggest, for women's formal emancipation might upend gender relationships so much that it would lead to men also taking on womanly tasks, such as caring for babies or doing the laundry. The horror!
The "Suffragette Madonna" was a popular though gentle image among those who questioned the movement for women's voting rights in America, according to Kenneth Florey, who maintains the Woman Suffrage Memorabilia site.