The video about the women’s suffrage movement highlighted areas of the movement that are usually not publicized. Firstly, it was interesting to learn that suffragettes started as abolitionists. These women were able to recognize that slavery was the biggest human rights problem that needed their support, and fighting for women’s rights had to take a backseat to fighting for those who had no voice of their own. Through the fight for abolition, women were able to realize the similarities between women and slaves. Women had no right to their own body once they were married. They were their husband’s property, much like slaves were their owners’ property. While there were obvious differences in the lives of slaves and white women, it was interesting to learn how the similarities encouraged women to fight for slaves before fighting for themselves.
There are also negative aspects of the suffrage movement that were discussed in the video. Facing a need for more support, suffragettes turned to white conservative women for support. The suffragettes were angered when black men were given the right to vote before women, and white conservative women were the angriest of them all. They believed that the reason white women should have the right to vote was to make up for the uneducated black men who had been given the right to vote. This opinion set women back in their fight for the vote because it showed that many of them were not fighting to improve the greater good, but had turned to only fight for themselves. The former abolitionists neglected their duties to the slaves that they had fought to free and the argument for their rights became racist and bitter, thus taking away from the true reasons why women should have the right to vote.
This video made me reflect on the groups of people that are still fighting for human rights in the U.S. right now. While groups such as the LGBT+, racial minorities, and women are all still battling an upward fight for equity with white men, the opinions of other often get in the way of what is actually being fought for. When people have racist, homophobic, and sexist views, they fail to see the fundamental human rights violations that are taking place in the country, much like what happened with conservative suffragettes and their views on black men. People need to focus on the bigger picture, which is that many groups in this country still are not treated equally, and it should not matter what people actually make up these groups.