When Feminists Sent Men Off To Die

women of britainA collection of British war propaganda posters is going up for sale, and in doing research for this piece about them, I uncovered an unsettling story about how during the Great War feminists and suffragettes sent men off to die by shaming them into enlistment. How did they shame them? With a simple white feather.
An archive of nearly every First World War recruitment poster ever has emerged for sale after it was discovered hidden in an attic. The collection includes almost 200 posters that were created between 1914 and 1916 to encourage British men to go and die in the Great War.
The Daily Mail writes: “The posters have an increasingly menacing tone in the months before compulsory conscription was introduced in 1916 after Britain had suffered so many losses on the Western Front.”
The collection is the property of Arthur Maxted, who inherited them from his grandfather who worked for a printing company during the war. The collection is being sold at auction for around $33,000.
The posters not only depict a desperate nation’s malice in preparing to conscript their young men into one of the most useless wars in human history, but the willingness of feminist activists at the time to take part in shaming men in order to get them to submit to slaughter for their own empowerment.
In 1914, British feminists and suffragettes conspired together in the Order of the White Feather to shame men into going off to be killed.
The White Feather traditionally has been a symbol of cowardice in the U.K. since the 18th century. In 1914 Admiral Charles Fitzgerald founded the Order with Mrs. Humphrey Ward in order to shame men by persuading women to give them a white feather if they were seen without a uniform. They also lobbied for the draft, demanding men be conscripted even if they lacked votes due to being too young or not owning property. Continue reading

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