Page Type: trope
Suffrage is the right to vote in political elections. In fiction, it describes the process of freeing a group of people from the control of somebody else.
In Fictionland, we often meet various oppressed groups that try to liberate themselves. The right to vote might be restricted to one group only. Characters who are sick of being treated like children or second-class citizens have had enough. They begin to demand equality, manifested especially in their right to vote. Socialist ideas might be an important part of the cause.
The protests might be peaceful at first, discussing ideas with opposing parties, holding public lectures, writing essays and publishing books. They might carry placards and hand out pamphlets. If it leads nowhere, it's time for civil disobedience or acts of vandalism. The campaign might become quite militant and violent. Some will want to commit a Heroic Sacrifice and become a martyr for their rightful cause.
Fiction that reflects Real Life will often portray the women's suffrage movement. It especially concerns their campaign in the western world in the late part of the 19th century and in the early part of the 20th century. Another major campaign to get suffrage refers to African Americans in the USA.
This World Building trope however includes also variants and concepts like Fantasy Counterpart Culture, Recycled In Space and Constructed World. It might be men who are the oppressed group. Or perhaps a race of creatures might be treated poorly if Fantastic Racism is at play. Might overlap with Zombie Advocate.
- Suffragette: The film portrays harsh parts of women's struggle, like civil disobedience, vandalism, violent protests, Force Feeding in prison and Heroic Sacrifice (Emily Davison flings herself in front of a horse and dies).
- Winifred Banks of Mary Poppins is involved in suffragette demonstration and is nearly arrested.
- The Inheritance Trilogy is a fantasy Constructed World. In "The Awakened Kingdom" with Eino, a teenage boy advocating for political rights and financial independence for men in the Darre Matriarchy while trying to avoid an Arranged Marriage.
- Natasha Rostov of War and Peace at the end of the book makes an exemplary wife and mother who focuses all her attention to her family. The narrator mentions that there are now conversations and discussions about women's rights, the relations of husband and wife and their freedom and rights, though these themes were not yet termed as questions or issues. These topics are uninteresting to Natasha and she positively does not understand them despite being an intelligent, spirited and educated lady. Tolstoy seems to be of this opinion:
"These questions existed only for those who see nothing in marriage but the pleasure married people get from one another, that is, only the beginnings of marriage and not its whole significance, which lies in the family."
- Horrible Histories: "The Suffragette Song" gives a potted history of the Woman's Suffrage Movement in Britain.
- Murdoch Mysteries: Miss Margaret Haile appears as Historical-Domain Character who on the show runs for the provincial legislature of Ontario. Established characters like Julia and Emily join the movement of women's suffrage and they try to get a woman to run for an office. With a brilliant legal argument from a British lawyer Clara Brett Martin, they succeed. In episode "Election Day", Miss Haile's name doesn't appear on the ballot. The lawyer petitions the court for an injunction and the women protest, blocking the doors of the polling station so that people can't vote unless there is Margaret's name on the ballot. Clara Brett Martin soon has her injunction and the name must be corrected/added on the ballot. Margaret Haile receives 79 votes.
- Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: It is proposed that Colorado Springs should elect Mayor. Michaela and Jake Slicker get nominated. Women aren't allowed to vote unless they own property. Turns out Sully deeded to each of women a tiny part of his homestead which makes them all landowners and they can vote. When Jake and Loren see their certain victory is threatened, they make a deal with Dr. Mike: if she wins, she won't outlaw prostitution or drinking, and if they win, they will allow women to vote. Jake wins and keeps his promise to make it legal for women to vote whether they own property or not. All of this empowers Myra who quits Hank's saloon despite her binding contract.
- In Detroit: Become Human, one of Markus's goals for android liberation can include the right to vote and of political representation.
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