“Votes for Women” and fashion

The status of women has always gone hand in hand with the multi-billion dollar fashion industry.  Today, Vogue Magazine publicizes the Mery Streep movie about Katherine Graham, while Laura Duca carves out new political territory at Teen Vogue.

In the days of the suffragists and suffragettes, it was “Votes for Women”, a magazine which does not even make Wikipedia’s list of suffrage publications, much less have its own article.

“Votes for Women” was started in 1907 by Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence and Frederick Pethick-Lawrence of the Women Social & Political Union. By 1910 it had a circulation of 30,000 a week.

The 1911 Women’s Coronation Procession, which again is missing any mention on Wikipedia, was heavily promoted by the magazine.  Women were asked to wear white during the June 17 procession for the Coronation of George V, and urged to buy their clothing from the magazine’s advertisers. The eventual procession was seven miles long, with 60,000 women participating. That’s a lot of corsets.

In 1912, “Votes for Women” editors Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence and Frederick Pethick Lawrence were arrested, and on their release from prison started to speak out in opposition to the window smashing campaign.

Christabel Pankhurst, who had escaped to France during the arrests, was now in control of the WSPU, and started talking about a secret arson campaign.  Anyone who opposed it was expelled, and the Pethick-Lawrences now published their own newspaper, Suffragette, although you will not find out about this from Wikipedia.

Sources:
“Votes for Women”. http://spartacus-educational.com/WvotesM.htm

“Fashion fit for a suffragette procession”, http://blogs.bl.uk/untoldlives/2018/02/fashion-fit-for-a-suffragette-procession.html

British Library’s Votes for Women online resource, https://www.bl.uk/votes-for-women

“Arson Campaign”, http://spartacus-educational.com/Warson.htm

“Suffrage Stories: Marjorie Hamilton: An Unknown Suffrage Artist”, https://womanandhersphere.com/2013/08/06/suffrage-stories-marjorie-hamilton-an-unknown-suffrage-artist/

Marjorie Hamilton poster
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