My Complicated Feelings After Seeing “Sufragette”

The powerful 2015 film has some important lessons for us

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Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash

Shame

At my country for so long trying to silence these women, and doing it in the most brutal, most punishing, most dehumanising of ways.

Pride

Also at my country for sparking this so-important, worldwide movement, from which I and countless others have reaped untold benefits all our lives.

Guilt

I know I wouldn’t have been brave enough to fight with them. I would have been heartbroken by their plight and appalled at the injustice; I would have prayed, perhaps long and hard, maybe even fasted. But I don’t think I would have had the courage to face even arrest, never mind jail. Never mind a hunger strike.

Outrage

At the injustice of the plight and place of women, especially poor women: having no rights to use their own money, no say over their children’s fate, no hopes for a better life for themselves or their daughters.

Compassion

The human stories behind unequal rights are heartbreaking.

Admiration

At the price these women paid for a cause in which they believed — the benefits of which would be reaped by future generations, and almost certainly not by them.

Judgmentalism

The price was not only paid by them. It was paid in their broken marriages and by their hurting and confused children. Not everything they did was okay. It’s not okay to blow up someone’s house, even if no one is living there. Not everything they did was justifiable. Certainly, not everything they did was harmless. Who knows what was in the postboxes they blew up? Maybe things that would have changed or bettered someone’s life. What if someone was trying to call a doctor when they cut the phone lines?

Thankfulness

I live in a better, more just world because of these women. I am so glad to be alive now, in the 21st century.

Hope

Injustice doesn’t have to last forever just because it has lasted so far.

Inspiration

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

Editor of WALK WITH US: How the West Wing Changed Our Lives; author of the novel UNSCRIPTED and of CONQUERING BABEL: a Practical Guide to Learning a Language.

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