Ten Little Suffergets tells the sad tale of ten little girls who lose their pro-suffrage leanings when they spy shiny objects like toys, men, and the Sandman. The 1915 picture book ends with the final baby suffragette cracking her baby doll’s head open. “And then there were none!” ends the book on a gleeful note.
The suffrage movement, both in America and England, involved angry debates about the ideals of womanhood, the power and purpose of government, and how much beer everyone should be drinking. The debate continued until the passing of the 1918 Representation of the People Act in Britain, and in the U.S. with the 19th Amendment in 1920. While often overlooked today, the anti-suffrage movement attacked the power-hungry, unnatural women (as they saw the suffragettes) with word and policy and pen and ink.
Comic poetry was another outlet for suffragette retaliation. In Are Women People?: A Book of Rhymes for Suffrage Times, Alice Duer Miller listed 12 common reasons for anti-suffragette belief. On the next page, she writes, “Reasons Women Should Not Have Pockets.” These reasons include:
1. Because pockets are not a natural right.
2. Because the great majority of women do not want pockets. If they did, they would have them.
3. Because whenever women have had pockets they have not used them.
4. Because women are required to carry a great number of things without pockets as it is.
Responding to the claim that women would be placed in danger while visiting the polls, the author mimics an equal-opportunity anti-suffragist.
“You must not go to the polls, Willie,
Never go to the polls,
They’re dark and dreadful places
Where people lose their souls.”