Political Cartoons' Dynamic Progress Of Women's Rights In Canada

2149 words - 9 pages

One of the best ways to judge the different political arguments in Canada from the early 20th century is by reviewing the different political cartoons that were released. These were an effective way of educating the masses because it did not require an advanced education or vocabulary to understand where each side was debating. One of the more popular conflicts that were ongoing in the first years of the 1900’s was the fight for women’s equality. This included the right to vote and the right to participate in government. By comparing political cartoons from before, during, and after the First World War the changing context of Canadian society also affected the public opinion and the power ...view middle of the document...

It was therefore something that the Women Suffragettes wanted to clean up. But, because they were not men, they did not have the “special privilege” needed in order to come into a room to be involved in discussions.
The second cartoon from 1910 depicts an anti-suffragette prediction of what Parliament would look like if women were allowed to participate. This drawing is in reply to a statement made by a British feminist who says “The day will come when women will sit in your Canadian Parliament.” On one side of this cartoon, the Canadian Parliament is filled with women who are busy trading recipes, worrying if their hat is on straight, petty topics to discuss in parliament. On the other side there is Prime Minister Borden busy flirting while a minister behind him is arguing: “the appropriation for doilies and tidies for members desks is, I claim, not inadequate to the dignity and toodleyumptyido of this house.” This is a kind of vocabulary that is not at the same high standard that is associated with politicians, therefore bringing down the quality and intentions of the debates in Parliament. In the upper left-hand corner there is a man saying, “Well I’ll be damned,” while leaning on a balcony beside a snail, which symbolizes the rate of progress that parliament would assume if women were allowed to participate. This is a demonstration of the importance of the male dominance in government, and an argument against the suffragette movement.
The final pre-War cartoon is another anti-suffragette opinion in response to the 1912 arrests of protesting women. It is titled “My Wifey Is In Jail” and depicts the husband of an incarcerated suffragette attempting to take over the traditional role of his wife in the kitchen. The result can best be described as chaos. The husband is spilling from the bowl he is stirring; the kettle and pot on the stove are boiling over, while the food in the pan is filling the room with smoke. There is also broken dishes in the floor, and piled high in the sink needing to be washed. According to the clock above the sink, it is either eight o’clock in the morning or eight o’clock in the evening. Assuming that it is morning, this would make the husband late for work, since this was the start time for most establishments. Similarly, if it was evening, then it would be late to be cooking dinner, making both time scenarios unacceptable for society in that time. As mentioned before, it was the traditional role of the wife to maintain the order of the household while the husband would be away earning money at work. It was socially unacceptable for the wife to dismiss her duties, and the resulting chaos that would ensue from the men taking over demonstrates a failing household. However, this cartoon can describe two viewpoints; the suffragettes are too busy protesting for the right to vote that they are neglecting their household duties, or the suffragettes are being arrested because they want the right to vote and have to leave...

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