Iron-Jawed Angels: Movie Analysis1
After watching “Iron Jawed Angels” I gained a strong sense of reality when witnessing what women had to do to achieve their independence and gain a place in a male dominated society. Up until the late 19th century, women were perceived as homemakers and were allowed only domestic duties in society but with the emerging industrial and political system women could now use their domestic skill to propel their voice in American government and society. “Dress up prejudice and call it politics” is a profound quote in the move Iron Jawed Angels, which depicts the struggle of women’s suffrage movement and its culmination in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the constitution. The battle for suffrage was indeed a long and difficult process spearheaded by ingenious and talented women in a variety of ways, such as spreading pamphlets, public demonstration, public parade, petition to the president. All in all, women’s suffrage movement could not be encompassed by a single movie. However, the movie Iron Jawed Angles does not show us the marrow part of this movement.
The strongest sense of reality that I gained after watching Iron Jawed Angles is the ability of women to make an impact on other women. It is this contagious feeling among women suffragists that hold them together through various difficulties. For example, Alice Paul’s public demonstration for women’s voting right eventually even gained the support in the passage of Nineteenth Amendment. When one of the suffragist fell down because of extreme fatigue, when public parade and demonstration is physically disturbed by males, when suffragists are being force-fed in the prison, none of the suffragists budged on their stands, instead, they are held together even stronger by this contagious feeling among them.
The film is a documentary and drama which uses live action and music to deliver the sympathetic and distressful mood the film creates. An example of the distressful mood is when the suffragist refuse to eat when they go to prison. This shows how passionate and distressed the suffragists are to get the 19th amendment passed, which would give women the right to vote. The films message, which is the hardships and adversity women had to withstand to get the 19th amendment passed, is effectively portrayed because the struggle the suffragist faced is accurately and beautifully depicted. As a tool of communication, the strengths of the film Iron Jawed Angeles are its accurate portrayal of the 1920s women’s suffrage movement and excellent depiction of the main suffragists, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns. There are no real weaknesses in the communication of the 1920s women’s suffrage movement in the film except for the music used, which is too modern to possibly be from the 1920s era.
Since the film Iron Jawed Angeles shows the grief and struggle of women suffragists endured, I believe the film maker wanted the audience to respond with sympathy and a greater understanding of the
1920s women’s suffragist movement. The film appeals to the emotions of the viewer because throughout the movie, dark lighting and music create an atmosphere which is undeniably emotional. The emotional appeal of the film makes me feel pity towards the suffragists because America hated them and persecuted them. It also tells the viewer that the United States, mostly men, was strongly opposed to women’s suffrage. The disturbing violence geared towards the women suffragists also shows the discontent of American men towards the movement and the people involved in it. The film did a great job portraying the true brutality that women went through in order to obtain the right to vote. Women and young children had their backs turned on them by police while marching in a parade. They police officers simply turned their heads when mobs of men started viciously attacking women. The women marching were stepping far from the norm and rebelling against families, husbands,...
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