Postcards as propaganda: Women’s suffrage movement, 1902-1915.

The battle of the sexes has been waged much longer than we would imagine, here and now. In the early 20th century, the women’s suffrage movement strengthened its foothold across both sides of the Atlantic, and in the face of this visible, growing strength, the (threatened) men in opposition deployed blistering propaganda targeting the opposite sex. The weapon of choice, of course, was the extremely popular postcard. To quote researcher John Fraser (The Oxford Art Journal, October 1980): “that the pictorial postcard was ‘possibly the great vehicle for messages of the new urban proletariat between 1900 and 1914’ (it was cheap to buy and to post, simple to use, and quick to arrive in an age of frequent postal deliveries).” From the blatantly misogynistic to the provokingly laughable, a range of these early pre-electronic mass media propaganda survive to this day. The right to vote was, and still is, a terrain of contestation and negotiation. Take a look.










These featured postcards are from the collections of Professor Catherine H. Palczewski, Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Northern Iowa, USA and Professor June Purvis, Emeritus Professor of Women’s and Gender History, University of Portsmouth, UK.


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