5 Anti-Suffragette Posters That Will Make You Laugh, Then Cry

by Jenavieve Hatch

Before Donald Trump had a Twitter account and Super PACS put political ads between every 10 minutes of The Daily Show, political campaigning  took another form: postcards and posters. And in the suffragette era,  many of these posters argued that women should not have the right to vote. It was actually difficult to narrow these down to only five, considering the many dozens of comically sexist yet regrettably authentic pieces of memorabilia from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but here’s a taste. We recommend a barf bag.

1. The One With The Halfway House For Man-Haters


This print – with the bachelor flying, mid-asskick, from the demon-faced, unmarried suffragist hell house – best exemplifies the exhausted assumption that happily married women want nothing to do with the right to vote, and that only the loneliest old maids can participate in the push for equal rights.

2. The One That’s A Little Pedophilic


When I was fifteen years old it was 2005, which meant that I was discovering the iPod mini and daring my friends to streak through other friends’ yards in the middle of the night. So I can’t personally identify with a fifteen-year-old living in Victorian England and what she does for fun. I’ll throw caution to the wind and guess that it likely didn’t have anything to do with holding a doll and being someone’s pet. Let’s remember what makes a pet a pet in the first place: blind loyalty, subhuman cuteness, inability to articulate thoughts or concerns, and so on. And by the time she’s fifty, is she yelling into a megaphone or wielding an axe?  I’m certain it’s an axe, but I’m not certain what men would fear more. 

3. The One With The Sad, Pants-Wearing Baby


One really charming theme in the dig through suffrage movement archives – aside from the tired trope that wanting equal rights is synonymous with miserable spinsterhood – is the complete fear of women in pants. This one takes the cake, though. Here we see a tiny person who has already eschewed her eventual duty as “Mother” by ripping the leg off of her doll. Bound for failure, she regretfully begins her transition from pink dress-wearing toddler to mouthy, mannish equal-rights-wanter. Poor dear. 

4. The One With John Bull


Poor John Bull. All he wants to do is kick back and relax for five minutes but NOOOO all those eyeless assholes keep engaging him in conversation.

Points for consideration, though. I think it’s actually kind of sweet that even though that one broad in the back – who is “already all mouth” – has no eyes, someone had the decency to make sure she could see out of her skin sockets by giving her glasses.

Extra bonus point for the word “RIGHTS” floating futile into the ether of John Bull’s limited brainspace, a space that almost certainly was the length and width of this postcard.

5. The One That’s At Least Honest 


At least they just came out and said it. No clever limerick or joke, just the good old fashioned truth: wouldn’t it be easier to silence women by locking their head into place and tying their hands behind their back and chaining them to a heavy weight so that they can neither move nor speak? John Bull & the Male Suffering Co. certainly think so. 


Photos Via Dangerous Minds and History of Feminism 


More from BUST 

 ‘Suffragette’ Director Sarah Gavron Talks Feminism, Race And Meryl Streep: BUST Interview

Those ‘Suffragette’ T-Shirts Are A Problem. Here’s Why.

10 Badass Female Revolutionaries You Probably Didn’t Learn About In School


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