Written by Steven Fielding.
Publicity for the movie Suffragette has not been exactly shy of linking the campaign for women to gain the vote before 1914, which it depicts, with the contemporary campaign for women’s equality more generally. Certainly many of those who have seen the film and have made their opinions known via the social media have described how inspiring they found its representation of a working-class women’s conversion to the cause of women’s suffrage. For some at least the past as dramatised on the screen has resonances for the real present.
But does watching Suffragette change how audiences think about gender equality today?
The impact of the media on attitudes has long been a matter of debate. There have been numerous American studies about how watching TV shows or films with political themes can shape how audiences think. The broad consensus of such work is that if a text’s message echoes opinions already held by viewers it can at least reinforce those opinions: but it can rarely transform an individual’s strongly-held view of the world if it conflicts with it. Continue reading The impact of Suffragette