A true capitalist can see the value in any political movement if there is enough money to be made from it. In 1911, women in England were working to achieve the right to vote. A large demonstration was planned for June 17, to coincide with the coronation of George V, in which participants were urged to wear white in solidarity. That, of course, meant buying new clothing, and there was a mad scramble for customers who wished to vote.
Readers of the weekly newspaper, Votes for Women, which was edited by Frederick and Emmeline Pethick Lawrence, were urged to buy their outfits from firms that advertised there. ‘If they find it pays them to advertise in VOTES FOR WOMEN they will advertise – if they find it doesn’t, they won’t. The more money that flows into the coffers of our advertisement department the better our paper can be made, the wider its influence reaches. Therefore let every woman who believes in this cause never enter a shop that does not advertise in VOTES FOR WOMEN, and let her deal exclusively with those firms that do, and inform them why.’
Women who obeyed this call to arms would have had a good choice of items to ensure a suitably modish appearance during the procession. Advertisers enticed them with pictures of dresses, dainty blouses, charming hats, smart coats and hair care products. The procession through London from Westminster to the Albert Hall comprised around 60,000 women from around the world carrying 1,000 banners and stretched for seven miles. One hopes that they also bought the comfortable shoes on offer!
On the one hand, it helped the cause that so much purchasing power could be harnessed in the fight to change hearts and minds about the rights of women. On the other hand, third-wave (and even second-wave) feminists have to cringe at the image of women buying new corsets, wigs, and "charming" hats for a suffrage demonstration. See more of these ads at The British Library. -via Strange Company