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Described as “the remarkable untold true story of the real foot soldiers of the Suffragette movement,” Suffragette follows a group of British women in the late 19th and early 20th century who advocated for women’s right to vote.

As the film prepares to hit theaters later this month, its stars are on an all out promotional offensive to spread the word about the movie. Too bad their latest effort is painfully tone-deaf and reinforces the notion that when it comes to feminism, all the women are still white.

Meryl Streep covers the latest issue of Time Out London to discuss her role as Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of Britain’s women’s movement; what she’d change about the film industry (she’d like to see more women in positions of power); and whether or not she considers herself a feminist (she doesn’t, she’s a “humanist”).

While the interview is perfectly ordinary, the visual of Streep and her cast mates rocking t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave,” has many crying foul.

While the quote comes from Streep’s character, Emmeline Pankhurst, the visual of the all-white Suffragette cast rocking a shirt that mentions a choice between being a rebel or slave–something many Black women in the 19th century did not have–it only furthers the erasure of women of color from the movement.

Despite the assertion of some who believe the Suffragette movement consisted of only well-meaning, concerned white women, all over the world women of color advocated  for the right to vote (even when white women shut them out because of their race).

A quick glance Suffragette’s IMDb page indicates the film only centers on the stories of the white women, missing a huge opportunity to give women of color involved in the movement in Britain (and its colonies) their just due, while reminding the audience of the importance of intersectional feminism.

Instead, Suffragette’s cast donned the problematic shirts to promote the film, and Twitter was not pleased.

What are your thoughts on the t-shirt campaign? 

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  • Barfin’ Biff

    LOL Intersectionality… sooooo dumb

  • Jones

    Hi dumbwhites

    (a group of which I am guessing you may be a member), thanks for the trolling accusation (seems more like your own trolling).

    Maybe compare the response of J’M’B to your own and see what a *conversation* looks like?