The film, Iron Jawed Angels, offers a unique glimpse into the lives of Alice Paul and Lucy Burns in 1912, while demonstrating their drive and struggle to achieve woman’s suffrage in America. It portrays a seemingly accurate depiction of each significant character, as well as the tensions of the time period. The source highlights Alice Paul, a figure central to my research, as determined, witty, intelligent, stubborn, and generally fearless. She leads the charge as the idea-woman, and delivers her thoughts clearly without hesitation. Paul never holds back or struggles to speak her mind. I focused primarily on the nature of civil disobedience presented as well as the demeanor and comportment of Alice Paul, which went hand in hand.
One particular scene early on in the movie takes place at the bar of a restaurant in D.C., where Paul and Burns eagerly attempt to recruit support for the National American Women’s Suffrage Association. The dynamic duo bring to light an issue that continues to be relevant in the modern era: misconceptions surrounding the idea of suffragists. Today, these misconceptions concern the notion of what it means to “be a feminist.” They describe the radical stereotypes attached to the word suffragist, which are very applicable to those associated with the term feminist. Instead, they strive to redesign the image as a “single; young; independent; educated; and very, very beautiful” “warrior” (0:17:30). Rather than a stuck-up house wife, the pair chooses a bold, strong, self-sufficient figure to represent their movement.
The source does an excellent job of portraying the struggle, complete with accounts of push back and rejection from police and other women. It also provides insight into the role of colored women in the fight for equality, and illuminates the irony in equality for white women while black women continue to be viewed as inherently inferior. The source, while mostly historically accurate in both people and events, perhaps glorifies and romanticizes the process as to produce a more entertaining film. Overall, the movie lends valuable information to my research, mainly through it’s depiction of Alice Paul, her involvement in NAWSA’s civil disobedience, and the timeline of women’s struggle for suffrage.
To watch this film, click here.
Rolson59. “IRON JAWED ANGELS.” YouTube. YouTube, 23 Nov. 2016. Web. 11 Jan. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOrD0tH_WaM>.