Suffragette Toys: A Steampunk Feminist Perspective

suffragette-card-game

A card game – similar to ‘Old Maid’

When I was growing up, I wanted science-based toys and books, and I was very lucky to have supportive parents who gave me a chemistry set and a bug catcher (among other outstanding gifts) for my birthday and Christmas presents. Dolls didn’t appeal to me, as I preferred living creatures like babies, puppies, and kittens – I ended up studying zoology at university to obtain a Bachelor of Science. I often wonder if there were girls from earlier era felt the same way. This got me to thinking about suffragettes.

Suffragettes were a social  and political phenomenon existing for over a century. Doll and toy makers would have to be tempted to capture the likeness of suffragettes in their items. Just a quick investigation turned up quite a few games and such. The suffragettes made a few dolls and games to sell at rallies to raise funds. Others were made by those politically against women’s suffrage, and were often less than flattering, if not downright scary (like the Jill-in-the-Box).

However, if I had been around in that era, I would have been purchasing suffragette toys for my daughters.  Because you can aspire to be someone you know nothing about. What I like about these toys is that they show the women active and involved, not passive. Even if they hadn’t seen representing suffragettes, they showed women with agency.

althof-bergmann-suffragette-drummer-toy

Althof Bergmann suffragette drummer toy

george-brown-hoop-toy-containing-suffragette

George Brown hoop toy

Mechanical toy of suffragette.PNG

Mechanical tin suffragette selling pamphlets.

Suffragette Kewpie Doll.PNG

Suffragette Kewpie doll

 

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1 Comment

Filed under History, Steampunk Feminist, Suffragettes, Suffragists, Uncategorized

One response to “Suffragette Toys: A Steampunk Feminist Perspective

  1. How amazing! I’d no idea such things existed. Thank you so much for researching and sharing this. Incredible pictures, and good to see the cogs in the pamphleteer toy!

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