(Sometimes) it’s hard to be a woman: 1

Woke up and read the paper.  24 October 1912.  Better late than never.

Hard to imagine that this act endeared the local copper to women with nice hats.

In other news, a vicar in Malta found the time to get worked up about the hobble skirt.

 

He was angry not because the hobble skirt was stupid, but because it was far too sexy.  He demanded that a fashionably clad young woman leave his church one Sunday, and was promptly taken to court by the woman and fined 50 shillings.

The Evening Post took an early stand against the hobble skirt in 1910,

Good to see them getting in an anti-Asia slur.

Most of the rest of the reportage on the hobble was inappropriately gleeful articles about hobble-skirted Parisian women falling out of cars when alighting and breaking their bones, or American seamstresses rising up against the hobble skirt as un-American (Wisconsin outlawed them).

As with all good fads though, ubiquity kills it off in the end:

Bloody plebs.

Thankfully we have sufficiently matured to escape stupid, restrictive fashions.

Of course women are not a homogenous group and have never been so, for while one group of women in 1912 were pursuing the phantasm of fashion another group was plotting protest against oppression.

Force-feeding women?

One British suffragette, Mary Leigh – who was arrested, went on a hunger strike and then was force fed – described the experience:

“I was then surrounded and forced back onto the chair, which was tilted backward. There were about ten persons around me. The doctor then forced my mouth so as to form a pouch, and held me while one of the wardresses poured some liquid from a spoon; it was milk and brandy. After giving me what he thought was sufficient, he sprinkled me with eau de cologne, and wardresses then escorted me to another cell on the first floor. The wardresses forced me onto a bed (in the cell) and two doctors came in with them. While I was held down a nasal tube was inserted. It was two yards long, with a funnel at the end; there was a glass junction in the middle to see if the liquid was passing. The end was put up left and right nostrils on alternate days. Great pain was experienced during the process, both mental and physical. One doctor inserted the end up my nostril while I was held down by the wardresses, during which process they must have seen my pain, for the other doctor interfered (the matron and two other wardresses were in tears) and they stopped and resorted to feeding me by spoon. More eau de cologne was used.”

Amazingly, if you look at what the suffragettes in England were up to before World War One it feels like you are reading about a radical terrorist group.

Mary Leigh threw stones through the windows of the Prime Minister’s house, she climbed on the roof of a meeting hall and removed roof slate with an axe tossing the slate down on the police, and she threw stones at the car of the Prime Minister (stones wrapped in paper with the words: “Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God” written on them).  Later she set fire to theatre curtains and dropped small bombs in the theatre.  Mary Leigh and her terrorist compadres sought to create a situation where unrest and disturbance would make it impossible for the government to rule without the consent of all of the governed.

Sounds a bit like bloody communism to me.

It’s these kinds of stories that remind you to distrust official government reports when they deal with radicals.  The article above about the golf course says that people are indignant.  Indignant that someone has written a message on a royal putting green flag.  Not so much that political prisoners are being tortured, or that 50% of the population are denied the vote, or that the government lied about force-feeding people (which, of course, they did).

Never trust power.  It has a tendency to break the law it upholds when it is confronted with threats it believes are extreme.

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