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These 100-Year-Old Feminist Cartoons Eerily Predicted Women's Lives In 2016

American women gained the right to vote less than 100 years ago.

The 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, was ratified in 1920.

We've seen very slow progress over these past 96 years. First, it took a while for everyone to actually be able to vote, especially African American women. And voter suppression is still an issue today, like in the form of voter ID laws.

But since gaining the right to vote, women have begun to fill the government. We're still far from being fully represented, but it's better than the 100 percent of white men we started with.

This year, we have the first ever female presidential nominee for a major party in Hillary Clinton. This is the closest America has ever come to electing a woman for president.

Women had to fight HARD to get the right to vote.

The women's suffrage movement lasted decades before the 19th Amendment was passed.

women's suffrage parade white suits

Palczewski, Catherine H. Postcard Archive. University of Northern Iowa. Cedar Falls, IA

In the course of the fight, people around the country showed both support and commentary through cartoons.

This is something familiar to us, the Atlantic has pointed out. Everyone was basically sending one another memes on postcards.

No, seriously. They even included cats:

cat cartoon for women's suffrage

Palczewski, Catherine H. Postcard Archive. University of Northern Iowa. Cedar Falls, IA

Catherine Helen Palczewski, a historian, collected a ton of these awesome cartoons and postcards.

Many of these old feminist cartoons show sassy women demanding their right to have a voice in the government.

feminist cartoons demanding women's suffrage

Palczewski, Catherine H. Postcard Archive. University of Northern Iowa. Cedar Falls, IA

All the while, they're smacking men down for saying women are great, but not letting them vote:

feminist cartoons for women's suffrage

Palczewski, Catherine H. Postcard Archive. University of Northern Iowa. Cedar Falls, IA

Some feminist cartoons were used to explain why women wanted suffrage.

They explained their reasoning, and depicted how men were trying to hold back what was inevitable.

feminist cartoons women's suffrage

Palczewski, Catherine H. Postcard Archive. University of Northern Iowa. Cedar Falls, IA

Others showed women fighting for the right to vote from the perspective of their relationships with men.

This included one cartoon of a girl apparently stopping a boy from kissing her, demanding “suffrage first,” like women were supposed to demand “marriage first” under the norms of the day.

feminist cartoons for women's suffrage

Palczewski, Catherine H. Postcard Archive. University of Northern Iowa. Cedar Falls, IA

But these bossy attitudes weren't always drawn in a kindhearted or praising way.

Many cartoons showed an eye-rolling point of view when it came to the suffragists.

cartoon about women's suffrage

Palczewski, Catherine H. Postcard Archive. University of Northern Iowa. Cedar Falls, IA

There was also a lot of masculine fear shown in the old suffrage cartoons.

Many of them depicted husbands emasculated and left to do the “women's work,” like taking care of children.

cartoons about husbands in women's suffrage

Palczewski, Catherine H. Postcard Archive. University of Northern Iowa. Cedar Falls, IA

Today, many men are working as stay-at-home dads, just as women were expected to do for centuries in America. So, it seems like they were right to have those “fears.”

There was an almost cartoonish anxiety about what women would do if they were given the right to vote.

They might — oh my! — hang out with one another while playing cards and eating chocolate.

women's suffrage cartoon

Palczewski, Catherine H. Postcard Archive. University of Northern Iowa. Cedar Falls, IA

Some of these OG memes showed what was actually going on in the women's suffrage movement.

The memes included women joining up in local politics to fight for their rights and being arrested for marching for suffrage.

women's suffrage cartoons

Palczewski, Catherine H. Postcard Archive. University of Northern Iowa. Cedar Falls, IA

Many of these anti-suffrage cartoons depicted the suffragists as unattractive. They made them look like old, overly masculine spinsters. This was a means to say “real” women – meaning kind, young, married mothers – did not want the right to vote.

But despite the sexist detractors, women DID gain the right to vote.

And they celebrated this right with glorious, early Art Deco style.

feminist cartoons about women's suffrage

Library of Congress

Some of these cartoons were made to mock suffragists and women's dreams, but that humor doesn't really translate in 2016.

I mean…

women's suffrage feminist cartoon female president

Palczewski, Catherine H. Postcard Archive. University of Northern Iowa. Cedar Falls, IA

That cartoon may become a reality on November 8.

Elite Daily and 50 other media organizations partnered with Rock The Vote to register 100,000 women to vote. You can register right here (and men can use it too) :

Citations: The Atlantic, University of Northern Iowa

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Alexandra Svokos

Editor

Alexandra is the Senior News Editor at Elite Daily. She previously worked at HuffPost and has been published in Vox, Glamour, Refinery 29, Mic, Cosmopolitan and Quartz. Find her on Twitter / FB @asvokos and at tinyletter.com/asvokos
Alexandra is the Senior News Editor at Elite Daily. She previously worked at HuffPost and has been published in Vox, Glamour, Refinery 29, Mic, Cosmopolitan and Quartz. Find her on Twitter / FB @asvokos and at tinyletter.com/asvokos

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