I went to see ‘Suffragette’ last month and although I enjoyed it, I do have some reservations about its production. For one thing it seems sad that Meryl Streep got to be Emmeline Pankhurst (even if she was only in it for about five seconds). As a feminist, Emmeline and her daughter Christabel have always heroines of mine and it seems a pity that in order to attract the American market we had to hand over one of our greatest female role models to the US. Not that I have anything against Meryl Streep; she’s a fantastic actor, but she got to play Maggie. Did we really have to hand over Emmeline as well?
It also occurred to me that it’s high time we had a film based on the fantastic Pankhurst women. When I was younger I was always more than a little smitten by the fragile prettiness of Emmeline and Christabel, but as I‘ve got older I’ve learnt to appreciate the more principaled charms of Sylvia, who believed that universal suffrage and economic equality were the right of everyone, regardless of gender or social status. Emmeline and Christabel, much as I love them, had some fairly dodgy views on exactly what sort of person should be allowed the vote. Adele, the younger sister, is rarely spoken of and I can see why. She had some extremist views herself and argued with her mother and sisters so violently she ended up emigrating to Australia so as not to be in the same hemisphere as them. There were also two sons who rarely get mentioned, one dying at the age of four, the other as a very young man. The life and times of the fighting Pankhursts have enough material for several films. Surely one film isn’t beyond the British Film Industry?
Finally for me personally, the film got me thinking about a novel I wrote some years ago with a suffragette as the central character. I got stuck halfway through and put it aside in favour of other projects. But seeing the film has re-galvanised my enthusiasm so I had another look at it and am hoping finish it off in the New year.
Jacqueline Farrell writes historical and paranormal romances with The Wild Rose Press. Her two paranormal novels ‘Sophronia and the Vampire’ and ‘Maids, Mothers and Crones’ can be purchased from Amazon. Her latest novel, a historical romance, ‘The Scarlet Queen’ is available from Amazon and all good e-book stores. Follow her on twitter @jacquiefw1 and on her website www.jacquelinefarrell.co.uk