The image of the historical campaign for votes for women is continually reinvigorated and reinvested with meaning by later feminists. An investigation into the ways in which the campaign is framed on the UK online parenting forum Mumsnet demonstrates clearly how women in the 21st century use their feminist foremothers to support their own political purposes. In particular, gender-critical feminists on Mumsnet are able to performatively invoke their suffragette heritage as militant, radical feminists, and imbue their cause with legitimacy. Use of suffragette pen names and WSPU colours allows gender-critical posters to identify each other both on and offline. Discussion of the campaign on Mumsnet demonstrates a good amount of knowledge, including distinctions between the contributions of militant and constitutional campaigners. Nonetheless, when the discussion turns to the necessity for women to vote, the dominance of the image of the suffering suffragette becomes clear. However, the suffragettes can also be used as justification for women not using their vote: as long as this is framed as a thoughtful decision, made out of anger at the political choices available, it can be presented as 'what the suffragettes would have wanted'.
PEDERSEN, S. . It's what the suffragettes would have wanted: the construction of the suffragists and suffragettes on Mumsnet. Feminist media studies [online], Latest Articles. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2022.2032788