Stevie Martin | Staff Writer | Thursday, 8 October 2015

Feminists Protest At Suffragette Premiere

Suffragette Premiere Saw Protests From Female Activist Group Sisters Uncut

The Debrief: A hundred protesters stormed the red carpet over cuts to domestic violence services

At the UK premiere for the Carey Mulligan/Meryl Streep movie Suffragette, more than 100 women stormed the red carpet and were seen being carried out amid purple smoke bombs. Protestors were from domestic violence activist group Sisters Uncut, and wanted to raise awareness about the funding cuts to domestic violence services. 

Chants of ‘Dead women can’t vote’ and ‘We are suffragettes’ drowned out interviewers who attempted to speak to the cast and crew about the movie. Janelle Brown from Sisters Uncut said: ‘We believe that all women facing domestic violence should be able to access support and safety. Clearly the government do not share this belief, as they are removing funding for life-saving support services.’

Helena Bonham Carter, another star of the film, was seen to mouth, ‘Oh golly’ before telling Sky: ‘I’m glad our film has done something. That’s exactly what it’s there for,’ adding that the protest was the ‘perfect’ response.

Feminists Protest At Suffragette Premiere

Romola Garai, another star of the film, added: ‘I haven’t spoken to them [the protesters] or seen their demands but I’m happy to see the suffrage movement is alive and happening.’ Menahwhile, Carey Mulligan told the press: ‘Hopefully, this film will inspire everyone in the way they view the world. We are an unbalanced society – women and men – and films like this inspire conversations about how we can correct that imbalance.’

Latifa, one of the activists, who didn’t give her surname but spoke to the Guardian, said: ‘The struggle for women’s liberation isn’t over. At a time when two women a week are killed by violent men in the UK, we need to keep fighting because dead women can’t vote. This in the context of austerity. Access for women to social housing, benefits and legal aid have all been reduced and women are dying.

‘These cuts disproportionately affect women of colour. Of the 32 services for women affected by domestic violence that have been closed since 2010, they were all specialist services which helped LGBQ and BAME women.

‘This is timely because the cast of the film is entirely white and they are running with this slogan, ‘I’d rather be a rebel than a slave’, which implies passivity or acceptance of being a slave. But it also ignores the fact that women of colour were completely involved in the suffragette struggle. This film isn’t representing them.’ 

When asked why the protesters targeted a film that supported their feminist stance, Latifa added: ‘This film is talking about women’s liberation in a very celebratory sense and there’s this argument that we’re in a post-feminist era, so that means that our messages more than ever need to heard because there is this delusional element to it all.’

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Tags: Feminism