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Tuesday, 8 March 2011

International Women's Day

Shout, shout*, up with your song:
Dame Ethel Smyth (neither of those bios strikes me as altogether satisfactory), The March of the Women - lyrics (which often get overlooked in the attribution to Smyth) by Cicely Hamilton (though Dame E apparently copyrighted them to herself along with the music).

I first heard this when it was the theme song for the 1974 drama series, Shoulder to Shoulder (1974 was a good year for television drama with feminist content - it was also the year of the good version of South Riding).  What would be a nice thing for 100 years of International Women's Day would be for this to be available once more on DVD, which it isn't (rights issues? deterioration of the originals? - surely there would be interest in it). I'm sure I'd find things now to criticise in its depiction of the suffrage movement (i.e. very Pankhurst-focused) but there was so much in it that I still remember fondly that I'd at least like to see how it held up. It might at least open up debates about the iconography of the suffrage movement and the way it's remembered.

*And how much do I like that exhortation to women to shout? particularly when articles in the Observer Magazine on Sunday, in what was presumably intended as an IWD-themed issue, invoked the 'strident' motif as a negative symbol of feminism.

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