( April 8, 2017, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Pankhurst sisters and the suffragettes liberated the grievances that women were bottling up over centuries and won voting rights in late Victorian Britain. It appears that a century later women’s rights in Britain are still being fought over. In recent years great strides however are surely taking place. Women are now not throwing themselves under horses anymore. They are gaining freedom to express sexuality and reproductive rights, more than handbags and heels. They are taking a lead role in facing injustice, as seen on Twitter. Well, yes quite, within hours after the banned nerve agent sarin gas was used in the Syrian chemical attack on women and children.
In another show of strength we saw the other day, in the candlelight vigil for the Westminster murders, more women seen as charging men everywhere of “the cowardice of the radicalised perpetrator”. In other words the focus of women particularly is not so much on the target’s fear, but on “the charge of defeatism of extremism in the name of religion by men,” a unique way of curbing terrorism and advancing feminism. Many women are not afraid to say that the one main issue facing modern feminism is men?
In simple words the message of women today is: “creeps like you will never get away” thus attempting to negate the validity of radicalism in all its forms, causing injustice, bigotry and instigating violence.
The tactics of the Suffragettes
British suffragettes were mostly women from upper and middle classes, frustrated by their social and economic situation. Hunger strikes, forced feeding, use of colour symbolism in banners and flags –purple for dignity, white for purity and dark chartreuse green for hope – the visibility of women’s marches on the streets – all strived both as rallying points for the women’s movement and a show of diversity of women’s achievements, to obtain the extension of the franchise or the right to vote in public elections.
The dominance of the Boys Club in politics is over
Anger is a legitimate emotion in face of injustice then and now. Women now try the shaming tactic on men to best use by revealing the callous indifference to the “humanity of man”. ”You need to get over your anger at women,” are words not spoken, but demonstrated by the action of almost all women, in different walks of life.
The Old Boys Club that dominated British politics for centuries now don’t speak for men, Could it be dead?
The impressive performance of female politicians to compete with men on equal terms, for influence more than seats, has it appears created smart, tougher women politicians. Most men quietly admit it is a victory for female levelheadedness and generally for common sense.
Women empowered in Parliament and in business
Twenty nine percent or 191 MP’s elected at the last General Election in 2015 are women. Twenty six percent or 211 women are in the House of Lords. Just over one third or 35% are women members of the Scottish Parliament. The key statistic is that British Prime Minister and Scottish First Minister are both women and other women leaders are seen heading business endeavours, besides eight women hold Cabinet rank in UK. This is a staggering feat and a watershed moment in British politics for women.
Liberation of Women
“Legs it not Brexit” was the recent Daily Mail headline that went viral or biological, when a woman Mail columnist named Sarah Vine, intended her story to be light hearted verdict on the “Big Showdown” between two Women Leaders – Prime Minister Theresa May and First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon.
It is not the first time that the Daily Mail has commented about “legs”. We read the comment: “hasn’t she inherited her model mother’s legs.”We now know that it was a well thought out strategy of Downing Street to play down the Scottish request for a Second Referendum, inspired by none other than a former Daily Mail Editor, on the payroll of the British Prime Minister.
What stand out between the two women are their legs, as reported. The Speaker in House of Common always proclaims a successful decision on a parliamentary motion: “The Aye’s have it, the ayes have it.” Here it was “the eye’s have it.” Here it was more than “Legs it “but using innuendo to calm breakup of the Union of Great Britain & Northern Ireland.
A new political strategy
Both women may consider their “pins” to be “the finest weapon in their physical arsenal,” Theresa May’s famous long extremities are “somberly arranged.” Sturgeon’s shorter but “undeniably more shapely shanks are altogether more flirty,” according to the Mail.
If liberation of women is judged by their legs, women politicians’ perhaps have shaken minds. Both women arguably are among two of the most accomplished, smart, fearsome women in our galaxy. To the Victorians this photo of women’s legs would be “offensively sexist. Strong women whether in politics or in other walks of life are “stigmatised” labelled as “pushy.” When push comes to shove, the media focuses on the personal grooming and fashion sense of women. Hardly do we hear much about men’s hairy legs? Whether we like it or not, women’s rights have still to be fought and won. Yvette Cooper, a fearless labour MP critic of the Prime Minister tweeted: “two women’s decisions will determine if UK continues to exist”. Downing Street diplomatically refused to be drawn into the row.