Movie Analysis: Iron Jawed Angels
The movie Iron Jawed Angels is about a woman named Alice Paul, who strongly believed that women should receive the right to vote. Along with her friend, Lucy Burns and other women, they fought for women's rights and the ratification of the 19th Amendment. These activists showed their strong support by marching during President Wilson's inauguration and protesting in front of the White House during a war, which many men were angry about. The protests in front of the White House led to activists being arrested and charged them with “obstruction of traffic.” Inside the prison, Alice Paul and the other women went on a hunger strike and were forced fed by authorities with raw eggs and milk. Later, the harsh treatment of the authorities were publicized on newspapers which put pressure on the President that led to the ratification of 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.
Carrie Chapman Catt is the chairman of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) who did not see protesting, marching, and hunger strike as the procedure that women should take in order to achieve their goals. She believed that the constitutional amendment that gives women the right to vote will only be vetoed in the Senate and will be a waste of time. In other words, she as well as the other women in their group prefer a “state-by-state” approach While Alice Paul, thought that in order to achieve their goal they must fight for it no matter what it will cost them. The different views from both, led to Alice Paul getting out of the NAWSA group, and creating her own that they called the Congressional Union for Women Suffrage.
In my opinion, Alice Paul was not known too well by people as much as the other figures because she was not the only woman who fought for the voting rights for women. There were too many women that fought for it, therefore making it difficult for people to remember who exactly
succeeded. Also, the fact that our country do not like to pay attention to what women did for our society, because some still do not agree with the decision that gave women the right to vote. Still, a few people believed that women should not have a voice in this country.
The significance of the masturbation scene was to show how Alice Paul is longing for a man to lover her. But because she wanted to strongly fight for women's rights, she put all of her own pleasure behind and focused on the passage of the constitutional amendment for women. This scene also portrayed that women are seen as sex objects rather than as a person who should have a voice in the country like men does.
Overall, the movie was very good. I learned so many things that I did not know actually happened. The one thing that surprises me the most was the force-feeding during the hunger strike. I thought that the force-feeding was unnecessary and it was very disturbing. Another thing that I saw disturbing was the masturbation scene. It was a little offending to some women, because in my opinion, it shows how women are seen as sex objects and it lessens the value of women, loosing the full respect that women should be getting. I was very impressed on how Alice Paul and all the other activists sacrificed so many things just to have their goals achieve. For example, like the Senator's wife, she left her husband and children to join the group and fought for women's rights, which in the long run, she knew would help her daughters in the future. Another example was when this woman named Ines knew that she was sick she still agreed to fight. I thought these were very impressive decisions. For me, it was upsetting how women went through all of these hardships while men did not even have to and were automatically given these rights. It was unfair. The meaning that the movie was trying to portray was very powerful. And for those people who watched this movie were absolutely touched by the meaning of it, and maybe view things a little different now than before.