As you start perusing the exhibition, you come across a timeline of the movement, which is worth looking at as a starting point. There are blurbs pertaining to each form of print used and its connotations. Whilst there are postcards from the time on display, what really catches one’s attention are the anti-Suffragette cartoons, initially printed in newspapers and other mass print media. These depict the pro-Suffragette women as almost masculine, law-breaking, destructive individuals and were, more often than not, depicted as “an ugly old-fashioned spinster.” Such cartoons mocked the movement and its supporters, and the patriarchal thoughts on the movement clearly ring through. The postcards on display are of a similar essence: women being shown as troublemakers and as a minor menace that can be easily dealt with. One postcard in particular caught my eye, showing a policeman wilfully smiling while carrying a petite pro-Suffragette lady in his arms. This shows that the movement was not taken seriously at all by most men.
“propaganda material is often of an ephemeral type, meant to create an instant buzz and then be discarded”
As propaganda material is often of an ephemeral type, meant to create an instant buzz and then be discarded, most of the print material from the Suffragette movement is lost to time. To signify this, an empty case is also on display towards the end of the exhibition. In addition to the main exhibition, also on display are three unique posters designed by three contemporary graphic designers to commemorate a hundred years of the movement.
Even as the location of the exhibition sets a suitable aura for the displayed artefacts, talks with one of the employees at the museum revealed their plans to set this short exhibition up in a permanent location. It brings to light the importance of print media in forwarding information and expressing opinions in the age when social media was not a platform. The Suffragette movement is an integral part of Irish history and inspiring to women and men to constantly endeavour for more equality between sexes, on all grounds.