Suffragette: No people of color allowed.

Comments

109
Some of these commenters are acting like the hats one puts on donkeys.
Right on. People of Colour have always been in Britain, and they've always been a part of the feminist movement even as they have been so purposely excluded by white women. You shouldn't have to put up with historical revision. Thank you for writing this article.
110
@104: That was my thought too. Is this reviewer going to write the same thing for every shitty blockbuster made of, by, and for white men, with maybe a token feisty lady or brown person or maybe not? Not that I'd been planning to watch this movie because I don't watch many of them, but I'm not buying that this of all the movies bears all the weight of racism in the entire world of movies.

We need more films by and about women and people of color. Suffragette is not the last chance ever to cover non-white-male perspectives.
111
@75 I don't think I need to read the reviewers body of work to think she missed the ball on this one.
112
Oops, 76 I mean.
113
I applaud your decision, I think it's the only correct thing to do, to start dismissing cultural products that intend to write off black people from history. I have thought of doing the very same thing, and I will follow this lead of yours to never again akcnowledge, or acknowledge only critically in this regard, this sort of products. It is appalling tome how these white fantasies are delivered with such nonchalance, how they have not already been shamed by the public. I guess that's what we ought to generate, to the best of our abilities.
114
@112: Your criticism was that she should have written about broader issues. She routinely does just that.
Again, I invite you to investigate her work. I think you will find it interesting.
115
@110: I entirely agree that we need more films about and by women and people of color. And this is how we get that to happen, by kicking a fuss.
And no one, certainly not the author, has suggested that this film is the last chance to do that. That is deflection on your part.
116
Welp, it will be a shame to lose your deep insight into film criticism, by which I mean you have a keyboard and studied poly-sci.
117
For those who have the 'damned if I do, damned if I don't' please look into what is known as 'intersectionality' this will both support and challenge how to become a more effective ally. Revolutions are never comfortable, and wow, what a party of change to choose to be in. https://www.google.ca/search?q=intersect…
118
@:116 Ah, another example of commentary demonstrating both an inflated sense of wit and complete lack of knowledge regarding Oluo's credentials, or the topic at hand.
Bravo.
119
The film depicts a period of British history where less than 1% of the population were non-White. A relative of mine born in 1922 in Bristol had not met a non white person until well into her 30's. The 'photographic evidence' she discusses in the article needs some corroboration because except for the deputation of Indian nationals present at the coronation match with their Indian independence banner there is not photographic evidence of any women of colour being involved in the British sufferagette movement. The women who starved themselves to death, were beaten assaulted and gave their lives fighting for women's rights did so for the rights of ALL British women, of every ethnicity, since the UK has never excluded anyone from voting on account of race. To say nothing of the fact that many of the suffragettes were fiercely fighting against apartheid and racism in the Empire at the same time as fighting for the vote. This piece is a cruel insult to the memory of these women who, often from miserable poverty and without education, opportunity or resources sacrificed themselves so that all British women would enjoy the right to vote. Shame on the writer for this hate-fuelled and ignorant piece.
120
what a fun mix of the usual racist trolls (that slog refuses to ban for some reason), and newly registered racist trolls! Keep it up editors, you're really fostering a safe place for rational conversation.
123
To the author:
Where in the world did you get the idea historical accuracy was Hollywood's job?
You want historical accuracy? Read a few books by well respected historians. Hollywood's strong point is separating people from their money.

It stuns me that people would expect the same level of concern for accuracy from movie studios as a university history department.
124
@119: No photographic evidence. No women of color involved. Sigh.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophia_D…

Your ignorance is an insult to all the women who fought.

Honestly, Google is your friend.

125
@121: Citation please.
Also asking that more information be presented rather than suppressed is not what censorship means.

Just FYI.
126
@123: Stories are how we propagate culture. Our indentity exists within popular imagination. What the author, and other members of marginalized groups, are asking is why is it always their part of the story that is excised?
Another good example of this phenomenon is the movie Stonewall.
127
Shorter Lissa:
Verification of facts doesn't matter if woman made statement favoring Lissa's opinion.
128
I agree with Lolapop! I grew up in a suburb of London - from 1943 on - and I didn't see a "person of color" until I was a teenager. The contention that the filmmaker is providing an inaccurate portrayal of the citizenry at the time the Suffragette movement got started is simply WRONG. Period. Also, I find the whole thrust of this review offensive in the extreme. Thankfully, we've come a long way since the early part of the last century, and it is my opimion that film making covering society today does a darn good job reflecting our multicultural society. So, let's cut out the racist rhetoric. Thank you!
129
@127: To what facts do you refer? That there were South Asian women, some of them quite prominent involved in the Suffragette movement? That the film makers chose not to include them?
That until a few days ago you didn't even know Princess Sophia Duleep Singh existed and yet feel confident that the author's credentials and thus her opinion on this topic, are out weighed by yours?

Truly, God grant me the self confidence of a mediocre white man.
130
I think it is important to move this discussion beyond the confines of this particular story because there are some larger issues that deserve attention. The population of women upon which this particular perspective of the suffrage movement was undoubtedly predominantly white. Still, it appears that the director/producer neglected to seize the opportunity to include the presence of some women of color. Like the author of this post, I am not interested in seeing yet another film born out of the white middle class experience. Nor do I wish to see more movies made by white people about white people or films about people of color made by white people. Why? Because I want to see films that shed light on the narratives that have not yet been told, stories that have been suppressed or erased altogether--those that have the potential to broaden and enlighten our collective understandings of history, culture, race, class, gender.
131
@Lozlzbth

I have two ideas:
1. Don't watch movies you don't want to see.
2. Do watch (or create) the ones you like.

Problem solved.
132
@131

And...

3. Don't write reviews of movies you don't want to review?
133
Thank you for the two responses above and for your attempts to offer solutions. Unfortunately you have misunderstood my commentary. I suggest rereading it carefully so that you are in a better position to offer pertinent advice. My advice to both of you is to never be timid in asking for help when you don't understand unfamiliar language and concepts.
134
@133: May I offer you an Internet high five?
135
@133

Well done indeed!
136
Color conscious Ijeoma Oluo rants how she is not going to write a review of Suffragette and writes one anyway albeit a hatchet job. She doesn't say who had asked her for a review? I saw the movie and thought it was well done. It was a movie about women of the period in society, and marriage in England during the founding of the right to vote for women. She say she is "tired about writing about white people?" The movie was about the founding of the Suffragette movement, not about "white" people. I don't get it and that is a good thing.
137
@115, way to deflect my question: Is this reviewer going to write the same thing for every shitty blockbuster made of, by, and for white men, with maybe a token feisty lady or brown person or maybe not?

I'd give up ten shitty superhero movies for one good movie about pre-1950 feminists of color.
138
@136: I'm sorry but being proudly ignorant is never a good thing.
139
So what she is saying is, we should ask someone else if this is a good movie or not...
140
@138
If "proud ignorance" is not a good thing, then why are you so afraid to verify facts?
(And don't tell me that you know because it's obvious that you don't know.)
I hope you are never on a court jury (where something matters.
141
@137: Since I feel fairly safe saying that the author would also give up ten shitty superhero movies for one good movie about pre-1950 feminists of color I'd also say the odds are pretty good.
Perhaps you could follow her on Twitter and discuss it. My impression is that the two of you are pretty much on the same page.
142
@140: Again I ask you, as I did @129, what facts?
143
@140: As a matter of fact I have been on a jury. For a fairly high profile murder trial in Chicago in the 90s.
A cop from the township of Blue Island wanted to become a hit man and to impress an imprisoned mobster murdered the mobster's son in law.

He too had an unreasonably high opinion of intellect and credentials.
144
Oh wait, no. It was in the late 80's.
Facts are important after all.
145
@143
I hope that he actually was guilty.
I could well believe that you didn't even understand the evidence except that you didn't like HIM.
146
Oops! Of "his" intellect an credentials!
LOL, that certainly changes the meaning of thatsentence!
147
@145: You are really starting to sound ridiculous. Given the downward spiral of your comments on this thread why don't you just call me a poopy head and get it over with already.
It will save time.
148
Frankly, both this movie and Selma look terribly dull (which is not to say that women shouldn't have the right to vote and serve on juries or that African-Americans should be subjected to racial segregation and denied civil rights - obviously, they should).

Selma was recently criticized by Quentin Tarrantino or Brett Easton Ellis (or both of them, or something) for deserving an Emmy rather than an Oscar (as in being more like a 70s-era TV docudrama or miniseries rather than a big screen movie) and I think that's at least partially true (with the exception that the one thing that made it really stand out - it's apparent treatment of LBJ as not being adequately behind civil rights - is more the stuff of pomo multi-culti fictional revisionism and would probably have never made it into a 70s-era TV docudrama on the subject; if you want to raise questions about LBJ and MLK maybe it would be better to ask why Johnson's FBI was trying to get the guy to kill himself while at the same time he was supporting civil rights).

But this movie really does (not just in its whiteness, but its also probable absence of lesbianism or anything that might unsettle [and dare I say also genuinely, truly interest] its audience - is there really, truly anything cutting edge about women seeking the right to vote in the West?) sound like a 70s-era TV docudrama or miniseries. Of course, maybe the thing is the violence. (Do they beat the crap out of them?) We had the torture porn slave picture (which my fellow liberals said we should all see because you understand it's important and educational [that after bemoaning the torture porn Jesus movie a decade or whatever earlier {which conservatives said we should all see because it's important and educational}]). So, maybe that's the thing: the violence. It will be important and educational.
149
It pays to read your own sentences.

I meant:

Frankly, both this movie and Selma look terribly dull (which is not to say that women shouldn't have the right to vote and serve on juries [obviously they should] or that African-Americans should be subjected to racial segregation and denied civil rights [obviously they shouldn't]).
150
This sounds rather like a classic 'Friendly Fire' attack! Yes, representing racial diversity is important, but it was England in 1903 FFS - there were not a lot of women of colour in country, not to mention the suffragette movement. While the movie could have included Princess Sophia Alexandra Duleep Singh, the focus was on the working-class women who are often overlooked by history, rather than the aristocracy. Also Duleep-Singh was involved in a different part of the struggle - including her in this part of a complex story would certainly smacked of tokenism. Sulkily criticising one of the few movies that celebrates progressive politics because they've not majored on your particular minority issue seems a little myopic- rather like a vegan attacking their fellow dairy-phobes because they once ate an egg - while out there beyond the bubble, the other 99% of the population are chowing down on steak... Surely better targets to focus your ire on?
151
This lady sucks a film critic
152
Lissa! Princess Soohia Duleep Singh was an Indian national. A member of Indian royalty and whilst, no doubt, a fantastic woman would be a wholly inappropriate inclusion for a film about east end washer women.
Lolzbth- This IS a story that has never been told. The Suffeagettes have never been depicted on film before. Now, they may have been white women but they still fought and some still gave their lives. Many did so from nothing that could be described as a position of privilege being, as they were, utterly poverty stricken. They deserve your respect. Whatever your feelings about white people, these women fought to enable all British women to vote and their story is not meaningless simply because they don't look like you. Show some respect.
153
KateWheels- 'substantial contingency of South Asian women'?! What? What are you using to justify that statement the Coronation photo of the Indian delegation? All 7 of them? Who were Indian nationals. Fighting for Indian independence.
Any other examples?
154
The author's cause is just and important, but this is a bloody stupid way to fight it. You can't just rewrite history because it doesn't match your needs. I grew up in the multicultural melting pot that is South London. It's only anecdotal, but I've heard a lot of anecdotes: The London of my grandparents was extremely white.
155


@152: Lolapop, first let me say that I agree this is an important story and to tell it using a class perspective is a valid and interesting choice. But the fact that you had no idea until I told you who Princess Sophia Singh was and insisted that, and I quote:
there is not photographic evidence of any women of colour being involved in the British suffragette movement from the time period depicted in this movie is the crux of the issue we are discussing.

As I’ve said earlier, stories, and in the 21st century that means films and television as well, is how we propagate culture. Our identity is held in the popular imagination. We routinely excise the parts that people of color play in the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, and this is the result. You didn’t think they even existed in this historical context.

But they did.

Now you have shifted your position from one of believing that South Asian Suffragettes should not have been depicted in this film because they didn’t exist to Princess Sophie is ineligible due to her class. To which I say, there are quite a few middle and upper class white women depicted in this film.

Erasing women of color does not help, or show respect, for women.

Here are some links and materials that you might find helpful and/or interesting.

http://fwsablog.org.uk/2014/01/09/asian-…

Rozina Visram, Asians in Britain: 400 years of history, Pluto Press, 2002

Anita Anand, Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015

British Library Learning – Asians in Britain, http://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/as…
156
@126 "What the author, and other members of marginalized groups, are asking is why is it always their part of the story that is excised?"

Why? It is so simple I can't believe people miss it. You miss the point of the the movie making endeavor: to make money telling a story. A LOT of money. They will spend a ton of money in hopes that a ton of people will see it, thus striking a mainstream note rather than an edgy one is most likely to net the most people seeing it.

I'd bet my writing hand there was marketing research related to the making of this movie showing the appeal of this story to college-educated, professional white women making >$75,000 per year. That there was a potential of $$$$$ sitting in the bank accounts of these women - and they want this money.

No nefarious plot. Just looking for the biggest ROI.

Finally - does no one notice the lack of diversity within WHITE people in the movies? Same weight; same height; same duck lips; same cheekbones; same square jaw....

Hollywood can't even do diversity within mainstream white people!!!!
157
@156: And?
That the film industry has a broad based diversity problem is not new information. Neither is the notion that money plays a role in what gets the green light.
Neither of these reasons are an adequate excuse,
nor a reason to cease pushing for more diversity.
Your argument boils down to ( to make a cinematic reference)
"Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown"
158
Movies are old news anyway - can't you see it for the dinosaur it is"? Instead of bitching, the author could have PROMOTED a show like Netflix's "Master of None" written by Aziz Ansari:

http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/master-none…

The fact the author chose an easy target, The Dinosaur Movie Industry, instead of PROMOTING the type of shows out there that are being made right now featuring more racial/ethnic minorities - very telling.

159
@157: Wait, which is it?
Are you under the impression that Netfix is not influenced by profit?
And are you really saying you think different purveyors of pop culture have intrinsically higher values based on their media platform?

Come to think of it that's where your whole $$$ is why movies aren't more diverse really falls apart.
The music industry for example, regardless of platform is wildly diverse and I don't think we could say not motivated by profit.

You keep shifting your arguments as each one is questioned and seem really invested in finding something you can point to to prove that the author is Doing It Wrong.
As you say-very telling.
160
D'oh!
@158 not 157
161
"I didn’t want to write this review because I’m tired of writing about white people."

Racist.
162
"It gets really disheartening to see yourself written out of popular culture, written out of history time and time again."

As if by virtue of being born with a different amount of melanin one is somehow guaranteed a spot in pop culture or a place in history.

That "woe is me" line immediately brought to mind

A Man Said to the Universe

BY STEPHEN CRANE

A man said to the universe:
“Sir, I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”
163
It's set in Britain where the black population was between 10000 and 15000. This compared to an overall population of between 16-20 million. I would understand the writer's grievances better if she could see we are dealing with two vastly different cultures, with far different demographics, population numbers and attitudes toward slavery and people of color in general. Thos eof color in Bristain didn't live among these women, they just didn't, they lived in port towns and cities dotted around the nation. Now, if they are to make a similar film
depicting the US suffrage movement she has a more marked point.
164
@162: Oh Chollie. How nice for you that your history is called history in school, and anything about the brown citizens of our country is taken as elective.
165
@163: So South Asians didn't live in London.
Where this film is set.
Which, correct me if I'm wrong, was and is a large port and city.
So there's that.

Here are some links and materials that you might find illuminating.

http://fwsablog.org.uk/2014/01/09/asian-…

Rozina Visram, Asians in Britain: 400 years of history, Pluto Press, 2002

Anita Anand, Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015

British Library Learning – Asians in Britain, http://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/as…
166
Lissa. I'm confused....I knew exactly who Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was. I happen to know a great deal about this period of history, more than you it appears as your still insisting that Suffragism at the turn of the 19th century in Britain was a diverse movement! Hilarious to anyone who works in the field. And again I state. Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was not a middle class women, she was not even a wealthy woman....she was an aristocrat! A member of the Indian Royal elite. The class divide between her and even the highest echelons of the Sufferagette movement were enormous. It was not a diverse movement because it was not a diverse country. The film has t been whitewashed because such a minute proportion of British Suffragettes were WOC that their is no historical record of them (don't bring up the coronation photo again and reveal your ignorance). The fact is that they were to a vast extent white women. But they still fought, they still died, they still sacrificed, they were beaten, raped, excommunicated and lay on cold prison floors while feeding tubes were shoved down their necks and they vomited blood for hours on end so that all British women could vote. This article is a cruel, unfair, belittling and....I have to say....pretty racist attack on this film and the women it attempts to memorialise. Especially since a number of suffragettes, notably Sylvia Pankhurst and Dora montefieore were prominent a t racisism campaigners as well! And many, many suffragettes were descended from notable liberal families who were the force behind emancipation.
This film depicts a section of history in the women's movement. It is the very first film to do so. Ever. I'll be intrigued how future filmmakers fare when trying to raise finance for future projects on the subject of women's emancipation knowing that other women are going to be their greatest enemy.
167
Lolapop, thank you for saying it perfectly. I've often wondered why anyone with good intentions would put themselves out there to highlight or honor any minorities or oppressed people anymore, when all they get in return is bitching and moaning, "Not good enough! You're doing intersectionality wrong!" Just look what's happened to Quentin Tarantino, Patricia Arquette, Gloria Steinem, Martha Plimpton, Lee Daniels, Joss Whedon, Ryan Murphy, Jon Robin Baitz ... the list goes on and on.
168


Lolapop, I have gone back and read the other three comments you have made to be sure that I have non mischaracterized your words. And again, before we go any further, as I have said to you before I agree with you that the story of the Suffragette movement is extremely important, to tell it through a lens of class is an interesting and important point of view.

In your first post you said:
“except for the deputation of Indian nationals present at the coronation match with their Indian independence banner there is not photographic evidence of any women of colour being involved in the British suffragette movement.” (oh and I have never mentioned this photo FYI. You are mixing me up with another poster)

Considering at the time you made that comment you “knew exactly who Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was” I am surprised that you did not mention her, and seemed unaware of the “photographic evidence” of her standing on a street corner selling the paper, Suffragette in 1913.

Since you know exactly who Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was, and have such a depth of knowledge regarding the movement at that time I am also surprised that you seem unaware that she was friends with the Pankhursts certainly “members of the highest echelons of the Suffragette movement” you will agree, and actually led with Emmeline Pankhurst the march on the House of Commons in November of 1910 known as Black Friday, which is depicted in the film. And yet, where is she?

She even eventually became the President of the Committee of the Suffragette Fellowship following the death of Mrs. Pankhurst.
All this despite the class divide.
I would also suggest perhaps that due to her work as a “prominent anti-racism campaigner” Sylvia Pankhurst might not be as sanguine as you are to have her friend and comrade’s contributions erased.

http://www.bl.uk/learning/timeline/item1…




169
@167: If you mean by "doing intersectionality wrong" completely writing people of color out of the story, you are correct.
That's doing it wrong.
170
Lissa, I certainly am no scholar of early 20th-century demographics in London, but from what I've read in the articles provided, what you've said here--in comment after comment after comment--doesn't convince me that a blue-blood from India deserved any place in this particular film, no matter her gender, politics, or awesomeness.

But even if she should be in the film (I'm not convinced, but let's play along), that fact isn't going to lessen my interest in seeing it or my enjoyment of it because I'm beyond exhausted with identity politics and outrage porn. It seems to be nothing more than a hobby to people now. And it's ruining everything. Nobody can simply relax and enjoy anything anymore.

I can watch film or TV show that isn't a tortured, token-filled, pandering piece of phoniness that every single person who isn't straight, white, male, and able-bodied can recognize him- or herself in, and I can enjoy it. I can read and appreciate good works of literature that don't include "strong women" or people of color. I can listen to gorgeous classical music by racist, misogynist, white men from Europe and be moved to tears. I can look at works of art depicting scenes from Imperial England and barely think about the people they ruled over (and if I do, it won't lessen my enjoyment). I can even walk into mighty cathedrals in Italy, and the knowledge of how they were built (and whom they were built for) won't lessen my awe of them.

I'm old. I possess a classical, Western-based education. I can still enjoy art for art's sake. I refuse to blindly trust diversity for diversity's sake because I've witnessed firsthand the mediocrity that comes from the vast majority of it. So, yeah, I couldn't give less of a fuck that some princess--of all people--was left out of this film. I'm just not that good of a person to care all that much.

I'm absolutely thrilled that a movie about the suffragettes has finally gotten made, though! And if it had been made by a man? I wouldn't have cared about that either if it's good.
171
too am old and possessed of a classical western based education, and I too am capable of enjoying all the things you mentioned for all the same reasons.

This movie depicts a march on Parliament which devolved into a riot and was a pivotal event in the movement and a pivotal event in the film. The march was led by Emmeline Pankhurst and Princess Sophia Singh. Emmeline Pankhurst is depicted in the film, as the leader of that march and Sophia Singh was erased. They were both there.

They were both leaders of the movement, and yet you are fine with one of them being just, poof disappeared for no other reason than the color of her skin, and feel it inappropriate, ”identity politics” when someone complains about it.

The issue isn’t one of adding people of color who were not there, the issue is one of removing people who were there. That’s not diversity for diversity’s sake, in fact what we have an example of in this movie is a deliberate lack of factual diversity for convenience sake.


I do not wish to characterize you, as you did yourself, as not that good of a person, but your comment depresses me profoundly.
172
Wow, who knew that so many experts on the 19th century English Suffragette movement hung out on Slog. Amazeballs!
173
absolutely fascinating that Lissa is so sure of her facts.
not even willing to discuss that facts may be in dispute.
yet she claims no expertise e.g. "I have MA in British History."
174
Lissa. The fact that you haven't seen this film is making it very difficult to have a relevant discussion without you about its importance. The riot scene depicted in the film which is a fictionalised account of Black Friday depicts only Maud and Violet (the laundr workers) who meet up momentarily with the character of the Pharmacist played by Heleana BC and The MPs wife. The Prime minister comes out and says the bill has been rejected and then the riot scene ensues. Pankhurst, Singh or any other the other leaders of the moment who gave speeches at the rally are not depicted in that scene. In fact Pankhurst only appears in one scene of the film to give a speech. The entirety of the rest of the film focuses exclusively on the political awakening of one woman, a laundress; Maud.
And I feel that I can say, with total confidence, that Sylvia Pabkhurst would not be happy to hear that women were writing articles and boycotting the first film ever made about their struggles and sacrifice, calling them racists, and humiliating their cause because one figure from the movements elite who NEVER went to prison herself or went on hunger strike was not depicted. I don't think she'd be happy. And neither do i think, that Princess Singh would be. She believed in rights for all women. They did not devalue each other along the lines of race as I can't help but feel the thirst of this article, and your defence of it, reveals.
175
Can I just add that, as I mentioned before, if Abi Mogan, Sarah Gavron, Faye Ward and Alison Owen wanted to commission, write, produce and direct a biopic about Princess Sophia they would find that MORE difficult to do so now, not less so; as a result of articles like this. The film industry is financed on the basis of precidents. So Brick Lane, the film about the Bangladeshi community that they made previously (which has no white characters in it) performed pretty badly because no one went to see it.....not even the social justice brigade who claim to desire to films that depict WOC. No support. No articles celebrating its diversity or raising its profile. It sunk without a trace.
Suffragette has performed amazingly well in Britain, where no one seems to have been offended by its depiction of white women. But it has struggled in America where it has been relentlessly criticised by people like you.
You do t realise it but by slamming, reducing, minimising and humiliating the film makers......women who fought for 10 years to get this film made.....you only make greater diversity in film less likely, not more so.
176
But they feel so good, Lolapop. They feel so damn good about themselves.
177
@173: MFA actually. In theatrical costume design, which is a field that entails a lot of research.
Which is how I obtained all the information I've presented here. Research.
Perhaps you might go back up thread and take a look at some of the links and references I've provided while the grown ups are talking.
178
@176: What I feel is depressed and exhausted.
179
@174 & 175: You are absolutely right, I haven’t seen it yet. I’ll be seeing it tomorrow with a girl friend from out of town. Because as I keep saying to you, I think the story in an important one and presenting it through the lens of class is a valid and interesting choice.

I was, and am, aware how the film makers framed their telling of the story and that Meryl Streep as Mrs. Pankhurst played a cameo role. As I said way, way back at comment 90 before this all turned into Battle of the Research Librarians (Hi mom!): “The movie is about a working class woman, and the big historical players like Pankhurst are peripheral. Why not have a cameo appearance by Sophia Duleep Singh as well?”

I still don’t think that is unreasonable, and I stand by it.

However, since as you so rightly point out none of the organizers of the Black Friday march are seen on screen during that scene, I reeeeeeally can’t bitch about which of the organizers weren’t depicted in that scene now can I? No I cannot. : )

You seem to be of the opinion that there should be no criticism of this movie, that feminists of color should suck it up and be grateful that it exists at all. That if they voice their concerns and frustrations it will scare future women film makers so badly that they will never dare to make another movie covering feminist or social justice themes. I have a higher opinion of both the thickness of the film makers' skins and their commitment to telling women’s stories. Especially in light of, as you point out, how hard they worked to make this film.
I think they can bear the critique.
And I think the days of white women telling women of color in the movement to shut up and sit down should be over.

That Brick Lane did poorly does not ensure that future movies about people of color will do poorly. The success of Straight Outta Compton comes to mind. Django Unchained and Selma as well. Although it’s reception was indeed disheartening, if your argument is that the box office failure of Brick Lane proves that no stories but white stories can/will/should be told, I suggest you apply that same logic to this film. Similar arguments regarding the box office draw of women's storie were very likely applied to it as well, and yet they persevered.

But time will tell! Suffragette is doing well at the box office, and I think that, and the controversy that has been raised, in aggregate is a good thing. God knows everybody here, myself included, knows a whoooooole lot more about the Suffragettes and Sophia Duleep Singh than they did last week.
180
Lissa's unrelenting, dismissive insults depress and exhaust me. It's not enough to disagree with and refute an idea. The person holding that idea must be seen as incapable of having a valid opinion. This is the state of the "conversation" we're encouraged to have. The left and right both demand homogenized thought. Step out of bounds and you just don't get it. You become the enemy and must be diminished and vanquished. Polarization ensues. And, yeah, I did read the links and they don't "prove" your opinion is necessarily the right one. Please insult me now. I'll help-I'm a white male. Have at it dearie.
181
'Concerns and frustrations'! She refused to review the film! She boycotted it! She encouraged her readers to do the same! That is not raising concerns! That is telling white women to 'shut up' and stop banging on. Not nice is it? Either way round. But I'm glad to see your not taking her advice and actually are going to see it.
And my point about Brick Lane was not that its performance meant it shouldn't have been made but simply that it didn't recieve the same approbation as this film did condemnation. That's all. That it wasn't celebrated as this film was denegrated.
182
Noticing that the author responds to pretty much every comment on this article, I popped back to see if there'd been a comment on my comment (#150) Sadly not. The lack of troll attention leaves me feeling somewhat neglected (sniff). However I was impressed by #174 - which rather neatly exposes the huge flaws in the review's assumptions. Might I suggest with all due respect that, rather than spending vast amounts of time trolling your own readers (really!), you invest a little of that time watching the film. This would be a worthwhile investment as its really quite good - and it might have saved you a lot of time and blood-pressure fluctuations writing defensive justifications of your non-review of a film you've not even seen.
183
@180: I’m glad you read the links. I try to back up my positions with evidence. What you do with the information, or conclusions you may draw is up to you. I think that the internet does tend to facilitate polarization in conversations/disagreements like this one. People harden their opinions as the threads grow longer. As for my being dismissive and insulting, I pretty much try to keep it to a dull roar, but I like a brisk debate and as the saying goes, I don’t suffer fools, or people who don’t think out there arguments, gladly. And please do not misinterpret that to mean that I think everyone who disagrees with me is a fool. I don’t. I disagree with Lolapop for example, and she is, from what I can see, far from a fool.

caution&daring on the other hand………

In conclusion, if you are looking for a lady to insult you, may I suggest you try the back pages of the Stranger? I’m sure you will find a professional there able to accommodate your tastes.
184
@182: I am not the author. Ijeoma Oluo is the author. And she did see the film, and interviewed the director as well.
I refer you to the byline, and 1st and 3rd paragraph of the article.
I did not respond to your comment @150 because you weren't making a new argument, it was already under discussion, and I am not the author.
You might try her on Twitter.
186
Lolapop, you've convinced me to see it.
Lissa, for chrissakes, you're often my heroine on here, but you've posted a hundred or so comments about a film you haven't seen! GO SEE IT! Ijeoma has raised an arguably interesting point -- one I'll surely keep in mind as I SEE the film but sheesh.
187
@186: I am going to see it, as I have already said. I'm taking my friend tomorrow. And it was kinda more than about the movie itself, but ya know what ever. The point got lost once it all turned into a game of dueling Reference Librarians, and I have to take the blame for that.
188
@12
you assumed the author is a woman. He's a man.
189
@188
My mistake...
190
Sorry if this was mentioned already, but I just want to point out that there /was/ an HBO movie about the US suffragette movement starring Hillary Swank, Julia Ormond, Anjelica Huston, and others in 2004, "Iron Jawed Angels." So I don't really think its fair to say, as I've seen here, that this has never been represented in film, unless the remark was supposed to reference the UK suffragettes specifically. Sure, it might not be the big screen, but HBO isn't some no-name company.
191
It's* (dammit).
192
White boy here. Very welcome points, Ijeoma. I admire your point of view. Corporate film always goes where the guaranteed audience money lies. Don't place too many expectations in any of these purported 'definitive' films, though. This film is only one statement, one perspective. It should not be raised on too high a platform. Write your own version. Better yet, I'd love to see a defining epic about (ancient) Zimbabwe - you know, the great ruins, in their heyday. You script it and star. Get Spike Lee to direct - or whomever. Make it what you want. Hell, Jay Z could fund it with his weekend spare change. Your complaint is duly registered. Now, people of colour, blow us away with some high-powered, high-quality product.
193
I would add that Indian cinema is gigantic, and has been going on for practically as long as Western film. Persons of no colour rarely, if ever show up in Indian films. If so, any more, they are usually blonde dancers from Ukraine, used as filler in Bollywood dance number sequences. Japanese cinema usually has... Japanese people in it. Chinese... too. Nigerian cinema is a pretty big deal, too. Western cinema, despite all its corporate and preferential horrorshows, is actually very much more diverse than any of these...
194
Conversation at any sane publication:

Editor: Hey, do you want to review this movie Suffragette?

Writer: No, I don't, because it doesn't have any people of color in it.

Editor: Okay, I'll assign someone else.
195
I'm glad she brought up this issue. Because of this (non)review, I looked up British history and found that yes, they DID prominently include women of color - and that American suffragettes, despite working with Frederick Douglass early on, were very disenchanted that poor black men were given the right to vote long before white ladies like themselves. Later, American suffragettes deliberately excluded black suffragettes, deciding they should be separate groups. Meanwhile in Britain, SOME upperclass women got the vote - only if they personally had property (rather than their husbands). So English working women like the "sympathetic composite character" were shunted aside and didn't get the vote until eight years after all U.S. women did. I wonder if they included that "inspiring" moment in the movie?
SEE http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/fem… AND http://time.com/4084759/how-british-suff…

196
Women make up half the population, yet many movies never include women. Directors like to imagine that women never have to kill food, never end up in war zones, never have to earn a living, never engage in a philosophical discussion... which is obviously bullshit. Women were always there, and not just in the hero's bed. (For one thing, every hero has a mother!)
People of color make up the majority of the audience (domestically & internationally). So if you want your movie to be seen by more than a few people, then it's worth your while to ask, "Weren't there people of color present? If not, where were they, and what were they busy doing?" For example, even Costner's crap "Robin Hood" realized that a white medieval Crusader had a high probability of meeting a person of color from North Africa, and they smartly used that to demonstrate the higher civilization of that continent, and to pull in a wider audience.
If that sounds belabored, consider all the movies about Mandela and MLK that invented mamby-pamby white characters to be "the main character", rather than use the rich exciting material provided by the actual experiences of civil-rights heroes. "Biko", "The Help", "Mississippi Burning"... the list goes on & on.
Why keep donating your pay to see half-assed scripts with white men who outrun bullets, nagging bimbo girlfriends and black comedians who are the first to die? It's no wonder that people don't pay to watch such crap anymore, and it's not because we'd watch it for free either. I don't want to watch a stupid movie, but I also don't want to watch an incomplete film that purports to depict "actual events".
197
@196 "mamby-pamby white characters"

Racist.
198
Namby-pamby ---> "lacking energy, strength, or courage; feeble or effeminate in behavior or expression."

199
Lolapop thanks for the sanity. I find it incredibly racist and offensive to imply that the struggle for the vote endured by these women, to the eventual benefit of ALL women, somehow lacks validity because the suffragists committed the unpardonable crime of being born white. EVERY woman of EVERY color owes a debt to them. Their story unfolded in a country that was over 99% white
Grow up.
200
Looks like The Stranger will be looking for a new movie reviewer. Surely we can't be tolerant of any writer that refuses to write what the job description requires, regardless of personal prejudice (aka discrimination).

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