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Meet the Suffragettes: The Original Media-Disruptors | BFI

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Published on Oct 8, 2015

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"Make more noise”, urged Suffragettes’ leader Emmeline Pankhurst. Her supporters obeyed with fervour, dedication and fearlessness to achieve one goal: votes for women.

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‘You have to make more noise than anybody else, you have to make yourself more obtrusive than anybody else, you have to fill all the papers more than anybody else’ - Emmeline Pankhurst (Nov 1913)

Appalling behaviour, noise, clamour and violence are not usually traits associated with the British female, but for the first 15 years of the 20th century many fearless women battled with the authorities, and society at large, to make themselves heard. This coincided exactly with the development of film – so their entire struggle is captured for us, and it’s proven that female emancipation wasn’t just a result of war-time changes, the pill or the miniskirt. This special programme from the BFI National Archive mixes fascinating actuality films of the suffragettes’ public activities with the comedies of the period, revealing that these girls and women were already acting differently from their grandmothers.

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