19 historic ads opposing women’s suffrage that’ll make you sick, make you laugh, make you think, make you exercise your right to vote
96 years ago today, August 18, 1920, the United States ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. This was a tremendous victory for women throughout this country, a product of a hard-fought, 70-year battle for suffrage.
In honor of this important day in history, and in honor of the suffragettes who made it happen, we’ve put together a collection of 19 absolutely absurd anti-suffrage propaganda images, which tried (unsuccessfully) to keep the power of democratic participation out of the hands of women.
These images are cruel. They are insulting. They are ridiculous. There were times when I thought to myself while doing this research, am I really looking at this? But they are a hugely important part of our history, in fact, and a reminder of how some of today’s most spiteful political battles may look to the American citizens of the future.
1. “MEN: ALL WOMEN THANK YOU.”
Yes, thank you for “protecting” us from political duties. Each and every one of us really appreciate it.
2. Billy sure knows how to set Susie straight during playtime.
Cool it, Billy. That’s no way to treat the ladies.
3. Neurological evidence shows, there is no space in a woman’s mind for politics.
Hats, envelopes, chocolate, babies, dresses, men and puppies. Yep, that pretty much sums up what’s going on in my head right now. No room for politics in my woman brain!
4. Because demanding equal citizenship is a lot like toddlers trying to put on adult pants.
*Sigh*. I guess I’ll have to go acquire some political duties now.
5. LOOK WHAT YOU DID!
Everybody knows that nothing makes a baby more upset than his mother’s enfranchisement!
6. If woman’s work involves voting, who will do all the household chores?
Much of this era’s propaganda aimed to play on men’s fears of being burdened by childrearing, which was obviously the worst possible outcome of women voting. Because, you know, if a woman votes, she likely won’t have time to feed the cat.
7. Notice to fathers: you’re done for.
Seriously, what is this deep-seated fear of cleaning? And why would voting make women lazy and careless?
8. Suffrage leads to men’s suffering. Get it? Duh!
Suffragettes were typified as violent, militant women. Don’t you dare let your wife go join the suffrage movement; she’ll come home and beat you up (while you clean).
9. Danger! Women voting means more votes.
Danger is every woman’s middle name. Although, I would say my vote is fairly responsible.
10. Suffragettes are menaces! They have umbrellas!
My new punk band: Suffragists on the War Path. Check out our EP “Jump On Him.”
11. Beware: these trollops will seduce the vote right out from under your cummerbund!
At least the hat game is strong in this one.
12. Coming to a store near you (but men, you’ll have to do the shopping for this one).
Peace? Really?? You make me sick.
13. You leave us no choice! But wait, how will she clean?
What I would do with the anti-suffragists: umbrella smackdown.
14. This all begs the crucial question…
The answer is YES.
15. Voting?! What’s next…Pants?
16. Trying to steal our thunder, eh?
Pants really became embroiled in the fight for voting rights. Shout-out to the jeans I’m wearing right now (in 2015) for making me feel complete.
17. They’re ANIMALS!
America when feminized: chaotic rifts between chicken spouses and cold eggs.
18. Cats don’t care that they can’t vote. They told us so.
Back in the day, cat iconography was used to portray suffragettes as childish, inept, and not suited for political engagement. Which is silly. Cats are awesome.
19. Make up your mind, you felines!
Meow (yes, I do want my vote).
So, there you have it. These images, though abhorrent, are an important look at how far we’ve come in the fight for equality (in voting rights, as well as outerwear options). Share this to spread the shock. And get yourself to the polls to spite the anti-suffragists!