Meryl Streep and her fellow Suffragette cast members have caused a media firestorm while promoting their upcoming film.
According to The Huffington Post, a recent Time out London photoshoot featuring the cast of Suffragette has been making its rounds and causing fierce criticism. The photo in question shows the films stars Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep, Romola Garai and Anne-Marie Duff posing in shirts that read, “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave.”
— Miz Jenkins (@TheChangeU12C) October 5, 2015
The quote stems from Emmeline Pankhurst’s 1913 speech, where she declares, “I know that women, once convinced that they are doing what is right, that their rebellion is just, will go on, no matter what the difficulties, no matter what the dangers, so long as there is a woman alive to hold up the flag of rebellion. I would rather be a rebel than a slave.”
Many are calling into question what the phrase means in the context of America’s history, why exactly was that the quote of choice to promote the film and if the Suffragette team was simply tone deaf in their promotion efforts. Others wonder if the statement further pushes the idea that sexism and racism are on equal playing fields.
Time out London released a statement addressing the concerns saying, “The original quote was intended to rouse women to stand up against oppression—it is a rallying cry, and absolutely not intended to criticize those who have no choice but to submit to oppression, or to reference the Confederacy, as some people who saw the quote and photo out of context have surmised.” They added that the piece has been read by “at least half a million people in the UK and we have received no complaints.”
What do you think? Is the backlash warranted or are critics missing the point?