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Picturing a World

Suffragette—the Movie

This week, I saw the movie Suffragette, about the working women who responded to Emmeline Pankhurst’s call for the suffragist cause in Great Britain.

First off, let me tell you that, yup, it passes the Bechdel Test on every criterion! Female director, female writer, and lots more than one scene in which two women discuss something besides men.

Just as important for me, it had visceral impacts that I hope stimulate my imagination for the suffragist sections of ANONYMITY. For instance, I have included a garment worker as a minor character. Seeing the laundry workers in the movie brought home how I need to think about what drives Hester even though I plan no scenes in her factory.

The movie portrays the violence of 1912. Although that was an important year in the American suffragist movement as well, I have set my novel in 1908 because the frustrations that built toward a felt need to change fits better thematically with the rest of Mattie's story. If anyone has thoughts on what makes for a era to explore in fiction, please comment!

For a website on the movie’s combination of historical personages and characters modeled on other real people, click here

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