Book Reviews, Bookish Life, Social Justice

Book Review: Stories from Suffragette City edited by M.J. Rose and Fiona Davis

Stories from Suffragette City Cover

Have you ever thought about your right to vote as a woman? Have you ever taken it for granted? You won’t feel that way after you read Stories from Suffragette City. This compilation of short stories, edited by M.J. Rose and Fiona Davis, showcases the fictitious lives of women and men in 1915 – when the women’s suffrage movement was in full force and right before (white) women were finally granted the right to vote. Although fiction, these stories do a fantastic job of getting into the heads of what it must have been like to be right in the middle of the suffrage movement.

All of the stories are based around the Women’s March for Suffrage in 1915. Whether it’s a story of the first woman ordained as a reverend helping young women who have been kidnapped from their families or an Irish runaway who decides to take ownership of her life path after being abandoned by her father, all of these individual stories are centered around this single day and the effects that this movement has on so many groups of people. Although all of the short stories are written by different authors, some of the characters make appearances in multiple stories, tying together the idea that all the women in this movement impact each other and are connected by the same cause.

Stories from Suffragette City will make you feel grateful, empowered, feisty and ready to stand up for what’s right, especially now. This collection of short stories shows a variety of different angles of what it must have been like to be a suffragette during this time, whether a man, woman or a child. There was a powerful force behind this movement and it, eventually, paid off. But there was one story that stood out to me that highlighted a disparity in the suffrage movement and, ultimately, in the feminist movement.

With the mix of perspectives, this novel helps showcase how the suffrage movement affected different groups of women. One story that really stood one to be was “American Womanhood”. This story was about a Black woman who was not allowed in the march because of the color of her skin. Black women did not gain the right to vote until 1965, much later than when the suffrage movement was going on in the early twentieth century. As a society, we cannot honestly say that “women gained the right to vote in 1920”. That is a false statement. This all goes back to the point of intersectionality within feminism. Can we consider women’s suffrage a feminist movement? It helped white women gain the right to vote. But bear in mind – not all women are equal until all women are equal. That includes Black, Latinx, Trans, Indigenous, every group of women in our society must have equal rights before we can say that we have succeeded as a feminist movement. The Suffrage movement was a fantastic step in the right direction, and I am forever grateful that women have the right. The suffrage movement was a step in the right direction but we need to continue fighting until all women are equal!

Yasi Agah is a born and raised Californian living out her dreams in New York City. She loves to read, write, listen to podcasts, and teach yoga. Becoming by Michelle Obama makes her cry every time she reads it.

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