Secondary school, history class.
You cover a small amount of information on the suffragettes, and your teacher shows you a video of Emily Wilding Davison getting struck down by Anmer, the King’s horse.
Your teacher asks the class, “we’ll never know why she did this”
But you know
All the girls in your class know, and are quiet, compared to the boys, who laugh, and jeer, and throw around words like “crazy”, because they simply don’t understand.
But you do.
The teacher asks, “who would have been a suffragette back then?” And you put your hand up.
He asks why.
‘Because,’ you think, ‘because I know how it is to live a life being told by everyone that you are inferior. Being told that you can’t play with us because you’re a girl, and girls are silly.
Being told that being pretty is all that matters, and being told that girls can’t do this, and girls can’t do that, and you still get told that it’s a lot better than it was.
You know that thirty years ago, women were laughed at for wanting to be independent, laughed at for wanting a job, and that was only thirty years ago.
Yet you can still imagine the desperation these women felt when they were doing all they could to be heard, and the whole world was deaf to their cries.
You can understand why Emily Wilding Davison ducked under that barrier to carry out her task, whatever that may have been, and stood in the path of a charging horse with determination and love for her cause.
You can still imagine a time where no woman would have ever dreamed of being independent.
When the idea of a single woman was scandalous and she was shunned.
You can imagine the feeling in the air when Emmeline Pankhurst spoke to thousands of women and declared “no more!”
“No more suffering in silence. No more playing to the whims of entitled men who have been served the earth on a silver platter with the words ‘for men’ carved across the globe,”
“No more being the plaything of man, it is our time. We are strong, and we will show the whole world what womankind can do”
You know how it feels to be female.’
But you can’t say that
You can’t say any of that, because he’s a man, and he could never understand.
So you shrug, and say something that feels wrong on your tongue.
It feels like a lie, because it’s not what you want to say
But you can’t say that
Because he wouldn’t understand