Petitions. Do they work? Personal suspicions point to no, but get enough signatures and, while a petition might not succeed in it's stated goal, it can get more people talking about its chosen subject. Getting the Nation talking is not as easy as dull Twitter trending topics might lead you to believe. So X amount of signatures in you can usually attribute a mixed success to your petition, whether that will translate to action is hard to say.
Recently I wrote on XOJane.co.uk about why I had chosen not to sign the No to Page 3 petition. Some people agreed with my reasons, others misinterpreted the piece as pro-Page 3. I was told in the comments section that I was a bad feminist, anti-mother and compared to women who aligned themselves with the anti-suffragette movement. For what it's worth (though without a time machine and possibly a wicked case of amnesia there's no telling for sure) I don't believe I would have been a suffragette, in fact I'd have been irked by the pejorative term 'suffragette' and actively identified as a suffragist. Letter writing, peaceful marching and yes, petitions would have been my game. Words and deeds, if you will. I have never found convincing evidence that violence brings social change for the better. Nor am I sure a correlation between bare breasts and voting has been found.
A recent petition asking for my signature was concerned the suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, who may or may not have deliberately martyred herself beneath the King's horse on the 4th of June 1913. The Emily Wilding Davis Memorial Campaign: “On the 100th anniversary of this, the most famous of all suffragette protests, we call on 2013′s Derby to observe a minute’s silence in tribute to Emily Wilding Davison and the sacrifice she made.”
it seems like I am signing the obvious register -poverty and suffering? Well I'm against it!
The Emily Wilding Davison campaign has gained messages of support from Bonnie Greer who said: “With pleasure and gratitude, please include my name for this minute of silence for Emily” and Miriam Margoles (from whom you could never, ever tear my loyalty away) commented: “Of course we should commemorate that brave woman.” So far this petition has 1081 signatures so far and The Emily Wilding Davison Memorial Campaign plans to organise several high profile events.
Does this compliment the Suffragette slogan 'Deeds not Words'? A petition and a minute's silence?What would Emily Wilding Davison do? What would the Pankhursts say? Whether your vagina takes an active interest in your voting habits or not the story of suffragist and suffragette sacrifices are mentioned for any woman who reveals herself unregistered to vote. It's worth noting that I've never heard apolitical men be chided with stories of the Chartists, which is a shame. Perhaps we could use this minute's silence to remember all people who have to fight for their voting rights.
It is no coincidence that I chose to write about this today. It's the day after America voted in the presidential elections and it was American women who turned out in their droves to exercise their right to vote. Figures show that 54% of voters in the US this election were women, confirming the medical belief that women's bodies have ways of shutting things down. And perhaps now is the time for reflection.