“Iron Jawed Angels” is also, not only both historically sufficient and appealing to the audience, but also makes direct connections to what was actually happening during the time period the movie takes place in. Perhaps one of the most prominent connections that can be made is to the division of the women's' party that occurred, forming the NWSA and the NWP. This schism is represented accurately in the movie, where Catt's desire for protectorate laws opposes Paul's determination to take radical measures to achieve suffrage. Although the film does not discuss the Equal Rights Amendment, this was also one of the major aspects of the time period in which Paul would be involved, again showing her desire to make women equal to men, not just protect them against men. The movie also touches upon issues of race, and how with the eventual granting of suffrage towards women, the country was still not yet fully equal. In the beginning of the movie, when the African American women tells Paul she would like to participate in the parade, Paul rejects her proposal, explaining that they cannot afford to lose the support of the South. This connects directly to how women were “told to wait their turn” when African American men were fighting for the vote at the same time, where African American men received it first, because people thought battling for both causes would compromise both the women's' chance and the African Americans' chance to succeed in receiving rights. Thus, just as women were held off at first, so too were African American women, showing how the country was still unlevel in terms of its distribution of political rights. Another clear relation to the time period was Wilson and the war. The film displays how the war affected the women's protests, but also how their assistance in the war effort was one of the main factors in Wilson's decision to grant them the vote. He explains that the country would not have progressed to where it was without women, signaling that they are just as important as men, and he thus grants them the vote. This change in perspective and realization pushed the country towards further opening the vote and including a larger diversity of groups. Thus, the movie is abundant with historical information and presents it in an interesting way, but also allows audience members to make connections between its plot and actual events that occurred in the past.
Iron Jawed Angels takes place from the 1910s to the 1920s during the Presidency of Woodrow Wilson as women led by the NAWSA and the NWP continue the struggle for suffrage and blacks against segregation.
Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO’s new movie ‘Iron Jawed Angels.’ It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.